Spring is in the air and that means Carowinds season. The Carolina’s amusement park opens this weekend for its 2022 season and excitement is building! Over the years Carowinds has become known for its record-breaking roller coasters. But that doesn’t mean they are the only things to enjoy. There are plenty of kid-friendly rides as well. And in order to get you excited for the park opening I created a list of all the Carowinds rides ranked from could skip to must ride.

For this list, I left out any straight kids rides and focused more on the ones with mass appeal. The kid’s coasters are still featured on the list as well as plenty of rides that are family-friendly. Rides I left off include things in the Camp Snoopy area such as Wilderness Run, Camp Bus, and Peanuts Trailblazers. I also left out anything in the waterpark and the Plants vs Zombies as to me that’s more of a show. Finally, the Slingshot and Ripcord since these rides require an extra fee to ride.

That left 28 attractions to rank. Keep in mind these are my personal opinions and yours may very well differ. All these rides are enjoyable and worth riding if you have the time. But if you’re limited on what you can experience this will hopefully help you figure out what to prioritize.

Carowinds Rides Ranked:

  • 28. Carousel

    Someone had to be last on this list, and while a carousel is a classic attraction, you can ride one just about anywhere. Therefore in my opinion it’s not a “must-do”.

  • 27. Do-Si-Do

    Part of the fair rides the park added a few years ago Do-Si-Do will send riders flying through the air and gliding up, down, and around as three giant arms rotate riders in different directions – all while increasing speed and elevation.

  • 26. SkyTower

    I have to admit as a kid this was one of my favorite rides, I loved seeing the park from up-high and even discovering new rides I wanted to check out from that birds-eye view. Though as I got older it has become less thrilling and if I remember correctly doesn’t seem like it’s even open every day. That being said if you have the time I still recommend riding it!

  • 25. Woodstock Express

    If you grew up going to Carowinds in the 90s and early 2000’s you know this as either Scooby Doo or Fairy Odd Coaster. And again it was a FAVORITE. This wooden coaster is a great intro coaster for kids or those not keen on the larger rides. It’s a fun, short coaster with lots of tame hills.

  • 24. Dodge Em's

    Who doesn’t love bumper cars? Another ride I dare you not to laugh on!

  • 23. Scramber

    Another classic amusement park ride but one I dare to you to experience without laughing. It’s the perfect amount of spinning without making you feel sick, but you will slide into whomever you ride with. Kids love it but adults can have fun as well!

  • 22. Kitty Hawk

    Kitty Hawk is another kids coaster- this time a flying coaster which ups the thrill a little bit. It’s short enough that if your kids hate it it’s over almost as soon as it starts.

  • 21. Rock N' Roller

    This country fair ride is fast-paced and has a fun soundtrack. Your vehicle will travel on a circular track up and down quickly gaining speed.

  • 20. Mountain Glyders

    This ride is what you make it. You’ll start spinning at a high speed and rise to 28 feet above the ground. This is when, you take matters into your own hands by operating the carriage’s controls to command the glider’s flight.

  • 19. Boo Blasters

    The only “dark ride” at Carowinds this shooting game is always a “blast”.

  • 18. Ye Yo

    Very similar to the next attraction on this list the Ye Yo is a spinning swing ride, however both pale in comparison to the one you’ll see later on this list.

  • 17. Zephyr

    Zephyr is your classic fair swing ride but the swings are always fun and more thrilling than they appear!

  • 16. Carolina Goldrusher

    The Carolina Goldrusher is classic Carowinds. While it’s a family coaster this ride is always so much fun, especially the ending of going through the tunnel. Definitely, a must-do if I have the time!

  • 15. Richochet

    This classic wild mouse style coaster brings the thrills but is still fun for the whole family!

  • 14. Screamweaver

    In all honesty, this is one of the only rides in the park outside of a few kiddie rides that I haven’t been on and don’t plan on riding. Too much spinning for me personally, but I know many people who love it and therefore thought it deserved the ranking right in the middle of the list.

  • 13. Electro Spin

    The highest thrill of your classic fair rides. This ride will send you spinning in multiple directions at the same time as well as upside down. Just make sure you don’t eat beforehand!

  • 12. Hurler

    I love this ride and it’s one of my personal favorites but even I’ll admit it’s rough. This classic wooden coaster brings that rickety thrill with tons of hills. It usually doesn’t have too long of a line so worth a ride.

  • 11. Drop Tower

    Easily the shortest ride on this list so it’s one I don’t recommend waiting a long time for. You can ride similar drop-type rides at many theme parks but they always bring the thrill. Sitting at the top of the drop tower just waiting to fall will give even the bravest rider butterflies.

  • 10. Southern Star

    Often one I admittedly overlook but the Southern Star brings the thrills. This pirate ship attraction rocks you back and forth until you eventually end up upside down where you pause for what seems like an eternity.

  • 9. Flying Cobras

    This boomerang style coaster takes you forward and backward through the same track through multiple inversions.

  • 8. Nighthawk

    Many people will probably disagree with my ranking of this one as it still remains pretty popular with long wait times but try as I might I personally just don’t care for this one. It stems from when I first rode it as a kid and the restraints just didn’t fit as snug as I wanted. I hated the feeling of falling when you’d flip over. That being said this is a flying coaster that takes you on your stomach for much of the ride. It’s very thrilling and a unique ride compared to others in the park

  • 7. Carolina Cyclone

    One of the oldest coasters in the park this one is still fun. It’s a very classic course but always a good time. This also gets bonus points at the first upside-down roller coaster I ever rode.

  • 6. Windseaker

    The swing ride takes you 301 feet in the air which makes it the second tallest ride in the park. You’ll get a fantastic view while you spin at speeds of us to 30 mph. This ride is so smooth and fun!

  • 5. Vortex

    This stand-up coaster has been around for years but still brings the thrills! It’s full of loops, twists, and turns. Plus you’re standing throughout the ride which offers a unique ride experience!

  • 4. Copperhead Strike

    The newest coaster at Carowinds features two launches and 5 inversions. Full disclosure the only reason I didn’t rank it higher is that this is the first time a roller coaster has actually made me sick. The number of loops translates to a lot of “spinning” feeling and after riding it twice in a row I felt it. If that is something that doesn’t bother you you’ll most likely love this one!

     

  • 3. Afterburn

    My OG Charlotteans will probably share my sentiment that this ride will always be Top Gun. This was THE RIDE back in the day and honestly, while it doesn’t look near as tall or big as it once did it still delivers the fun. Fun fact it still is the third tallest coaster in the park. You’ll go through 6 inversions and even underground for a second all while your legs dangle from the vehicle. While this ride has been open for over 20 years now it’s still a must-do for me and many others.

  • 2. Intimidator

    To me, this is a perfect roller coaster. You’ll drop 232-feet at a 74-degree angle before 6 more drops all while reaching top speeds of 80-mph. And it along with the number one ride on this list is ranked as one of the top 10 steel coasters in the country. 

     

  • 1. Fury 325

    It should come as no surprise that Fury 325 takes the top spot. At 325 feet tall it’s one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters anywhere. Ride in the front row and your eyes are sure to be watering from the sheer speed. If you’re visiting Carowinds for thrills there is nothing more thrilling than Fury. It’s a must-ride every time.