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10 Best Tips for Visiting Carowinds That You Must Know


In this guide, we will cover our best Carowinds tips to ensure that you arrive to the park extremely prepared, and know all of the 'hacks' to maximize your time and money.

1. Visit on a Weekday

Most people are able to visit the theme park on their days off, which is typically on the weekends, which results in a very busy park.

carowinds swing ride

By visiting on a weekday, you'll be able to deal with less crowds, resulting in less waiting time.

Admission prices are also usually cheaper on the weekdays for this reason.

2. Buy Your Tickets in Advance

Skip the Lines & Save $13 per Ticket on the Weekends.

Visiting any theme park will involve waiting in lines at some point. Don't start your day waiting in line.

When you purchase your tickets in advance with us, you'll be able to skip the line, head straight to the gate and purchase the tickets at a lower price.

carowinds ride

You can find out more about our process and how we're able to do this in our Authorized Theme Park Ticket Reseller page.

3. Pre-Pay For Parking

Pre-paying for parking at Carowinds allows you to quickly get into the park.

When you pre-pay for parking you can just show the park attendant your parking receipt, and they'll seamlessly let you through in seconds.

riders at carowinds park

Types of Parking at Carowinds

There are 2 types of parking options at Carowinds including:

  1. Single Day/General Parking at a cost of $25
  2. VIP Parking at a cost of $35

    General Parking will allow you to park in a spot for the day, but the later that you arrive to the park for the day, the further that you will be parked from the entrance.

    VIP Parking is more expensive, but it allows you to park closer to the entrance of the park, regardless of what hour of the day that you arrive.

    3. Know That Carolina Harbor is Included

    Double check your admission to make sure Carolina Harbor is included! 

    Carolina Harbor is a beachy-themed massive water park including water slides, wave pools, a lazy river and even a 3 acre kids play area. 

    carowinds water park

    Life jackets are complimentary for every guest, but you'll want to make sure that you bring your own towel!

    4. Buy a Fast Lane Pass for Busy Times

    If you're not able to visit on a weekday for whatever reason, you'll want to invest in a fast lane pass.

    A fast lane pass allows you to skip the regular line to get to ride your favorite rides quicker.

    carowinds fast lane pass

    This is how it works. After purchase you will receive a wristband, and that wristband gives you access to a 'fast lane pass line' which is a separate (and more direct) line.

    The fast lane line is always prioritized meaning that you will skip the lines, and ride the ride super quickly.

    It's very popular so it's no uncommon that they sell out!

    5. Invest in a Season Pass

    If you're going to visit Carowinds more than 3 times in a calendar year, you may want to consider a season pass.

    carowinds gold pass

    A season pass grants you season long access to the park along with discounts to food and merchandise and gives you exclusive access to season pass holder events.

    Also, depending on which tier you decide to purchase, it can include free parking, access to seasonal events such as Halloween & Christmas, and even admission to all Cedar Fair parks.

    6. Height Wristband For Kids

    There aren't many things more frustrating than waiting in a line only to find out right before the ride that your child isn't tall enough to ride the ride.

    carowinds kids rides

    You can avoid this scenario altogether by getting a height wristband.

    A height wristband will signal all staff that the child is tall enough for certain rides, and it will have their height in inches on the actual wristband as well.

    This makes it easy for you as well, as you can read the front signs of the ride where it states the minimum height to ride in inches.

    7. Visit Camp Snoopy First

    Traveling with kids? Visit Camp Snoopy First!

    camp snoopy carowinds

    It'll give them a chance to burn off their energy quickly and also it's the best way to start their theme park adventure vs waiting in lines.

    Camp Snoopy has awesome little rides (12 in fact) for kids and even includes a beautiful playground as well (designed for ages 5 and under).

    8. Know About the 'Parent Swap' Program

    Parent swap program allows everyone to ride and not have to wait in line twice.

    Here’s how it works: one parent waits in line to a coaster or other height-restricted ride.

    carowinds parent swap

    After riding, they give their Parent Swap pass to the ride operator, and the other parent/guardian, who’s been taking care of the little ones, can walk up the exit to get right on the ride.

    You can get this slip at guest services.

    9. All Season Drink Refills

    Are you a person who doesn't enjoy drinking water the entire day on a hot day? Do you need something else?

    carowinds drink refills

    Well, we're with you on that one!

    For one low price, you can purchase an All Season Drink Refills pass that grants you access to free refills on delicious drinks that are coca-cola products such as lemonade and iced tea.

    10. Download the Carowinds App

    The Carowinds app is very handy as it'll help you navigate the giant 400 acre park.

    It includes a park map, ride waiting times, and even park hours. 

    carowinds app

    If you're a season pass holder, you can also have your season pass on the actual app, and will just need your phone to enter the park.

    With the app, you'll also be able to save the location of your car once you park.

    This will save you a ton of time, as the parking lot will look vastly different when you are leaving the park later in the day vs when you first arrived and parked.

    carowinds app car finder

    Don't make the mistake of thinking you don't need this!

    Lastly, Carowinds will often do special offers exclusively for those who have the app downloaded.

    Offers in the past have included perks such as savings off the front gate price on admission, food and merchandise discounts, and even exclusive events invites.

    carowinds app special offers

    The app may be worth it just for the special offers that you can receive without doing anything!

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