Carowinds ranked among top 10 best amusement parks in America

- Nothing screams summertime quite as much as amusement parks. Whether it's seeking a thrill, catching a show, celebrating the holidays, or munching on sugary funnel cakes, there's always something fun to do and explore!

To find out which parks offer the biggest thrills, MONEY partnered with Yelp to identify America's best amusement parks, as well as the best rides at each attraction.

Carowinds, a 400-acre amusement park located on the state line of the Carolinas, ranks No. 7 in their top 10 list of best amusement parks.

The Peanuts-themed amusement park boasts many thrilling coasters, including the vertical looping ride Vortex, the Afterburn (with a 113-foot drop), and the whirlwind Carolina Cyclone.

The most popular ride, however, is Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest “giga coaster,”a category defined as being between 300 and 399 feet tall and completing a full circuit. You’ll reach a peak height of 325 feet and speeds up to 95 mph. Fury 325 is also North America’s longest steel roller-coaster, at 1.25 miles, and the average ride time is 3.25 minutes.

Younger children can head over to Camp Snoopy for kiddie rides and a chance to see the Peanuts characters in person, or head over to Harmony Hall Market Place for a lunchtime dance party with Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang.

Daily ticket rates at Carowinds vary, but start at $67 at the gate.


1. Disneyland Park

  • The happiest place on Earth doesn't disappoint visitors, earning the top spot among all other amusement parks.  Walt Disney came up with the idea for the park himself, helping with the original design and layout. The park is now home to classic rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean boat cruise and the dizzying Matterhorn Bobsleds. The most popular ride is the indoor, space-themed roller coaster Hyperspace Mountain, which features Star Wars-themed clips and simulators. 

2. Magic Kingdom Park at Disney World 

  • Disneyland's sister park in Lake Buena Vista, Florida takes the No. 2 spot, ensuring  Mickey Mouse's dominance. Magic Kingdom Park is one of four themed parks inside Disney World, and is recognizable by its majestic Cinderella castle. be sure to check out Space Mountain, the park's most popular ride. 

3. Cedar Point 

  • Sometimes dubbed "America's Roller Coast," Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. The Midwestern park features 71 rides over 364 acres of space. This year, the park opened the Steel Vengeance, the tallest and fastest hybrid (wood-plus-steel) roller-coaster in the world. 

4. Busch Gardens 

  • The Busch Gardens theme parks have sites in both Tampa and Williamsburg, but the Virginia location comes out on top. The 383-acre park's thrilling coasters include the 360-degree virtual reality adventure ride Battle for Eire, the bumpy wooden Invadr, and the interlocking, double looping Loch Ness Monster. 

5. Hersheypark 

  • Founded by Milton S. Hershey, Hersheypark was originally developed as a space for his chocolate factory employees to relax. Over the decades since, the park has introduced a variety of roller coasters and a water park. Recently, the park opened the country's first "choose your own thrill" coaster that lets riders choose between three different plummets. The park's most popular ride, however, is the Storm Runner: Its 2,600-foot-long course is relatively short, at just 30 seconds, but takes riders from 0 to 72 mph in just two seconds. 

For the complete list of America's top 10 amusement parks, click here


Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in -- includes Advertiser Stories