North Carolina Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

Where to Find Roller Coasters, Rides, and Fun

Carowinds is the one major amusement park in North Carolina. (And, interestingly, it straddles the state border with some of the park actually located in South Carolina.) There are, however, a number of smaller parks and places to find fun in the state. They are listed below.

There used to be a few more parks. There were two Lakewood Parks. One, which opened in 1910 and closed in 1933, was located in Charlotte. Its featured ride was the Scenic Railway wooden coaster. From 1902 through 1935, Durham had its own Lakewood Park, which also offered a wooden coaster. Cherokee, where you can still find Santa's Land, used to be home to other parks including Frontier Land, which operated from 1962 to 1982. Jubilee Park was open from 1977 through 2004 in Carolina Beach.

Before we get to North Carolina parks that are open, here are some resources to find nearby fun places and make travel plans:

North Carolina parks are listed in alphabetical order.

  • 01 of 07
    Carowinds Fury 325 coaster
    ••• Cedar Fair Entertainment Company


    The huge theme park has one of the largest collection of roller coasters in the world, including the incredibly tall and fast Fury 325, the hypercoaster, Intimidator, and the inverted coaster, Afterburn. You can read more about them in Carowinds roller coasters mini reviews. It also features the Carolina Harbor water park, which is included with admission.

  • 02 of 07
    Carolina Beach Boardwalk
    ••• Wilmington and Beaches CVB

    Carolina Beach

    There are a few rides and activities, such as a Ferris wheel and mini-golf, along the classic seaside boardwalk.

  • 03 of 07
    Frankie's Fun Park ride in North Carolina
    ••• Frankie's Fun Park


    The family fun center includes go-karts, mini-golf, an arcade, and a few rides such as bumper boats, the Sidewinder pendulum ride, and the spinning WindStarz.

  • 04 of 07
    Galaxy Fun Park North Carolina
    ••• Galaxy Fun Park


    Family fun center with go-karts, bumper cars, trampolines, laser tag, and a ropes course.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Santa's Land N. Carolina coaster
    ••• Santa's Land


    The small Christmas-themed amusement park and zoo includes the Rudicoaster roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, and a few other rides. Animal exhibits include deer, monkeys, bears, exotic birds, and kangaroos. Of course, Santa is on hand to greet kids and take note of their off-season holiday wish lists.

  • 06 of 07
    Tweetsie Railroad
    ••• Tweetsie Railroad

    Blowing Rock

    The train-themed park features a three-mile ride through the North Carolina mountains on an authentic narrow-gauge, coal-fired steam train. Other attractions include covered wagon rides, a carousel, a chair lift ride up to Miner’s Mountain, a small zoo, gold panning and gem mining, a Ferris wheel, and other spinning rides. 

  • 07 of 07
    WagonMaster Adventure Ranch
    ••• WagonMaster Adventure Ranch


    The small family fun park includes mini-golf, wagon rides, gold panning, live animals, skeet shooting, and a bounce castle. There are camping and RV sites available.