Rev. Robert Hamilton and the bride and groom, James and Cortni Music, after their wedding ride on the Fury 325 at Carowinds on July 14, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. (Davie Hinshaw/ Charlotte Observer/ TNS)

By: Sharlyn Tabaco

If you’re looking for a low-cost trip, then Carowinds is a good destination for you. There are always going to be weekends where there may not be anything to do, when that happens grabbing a few friends and heading out for a small day trip

is always an exciting idea. If you are looking for an easy low-cost trip you may consider visiting Carowinds in Charlotte, NC.

This is a 407-acre amusement park which is known to be “Where the Carolinas come together” since the park is located in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

The park is home to the Fury 325 roller coaster which is the tallest, fastest and longest coaster in North America. The wait times for rides can vary depending on the volume of visitors however, the times generally range from 30-55 minutes.

Though the wait times may seem long, they are worth it. Some rides you may consider trying are Nighthawk, Afterburn, Copperhead Strike and the Intimidator. Carowinds also has a water park which is open in the summer and has many water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. During the Halloween season they have Carowinds open which has different mazes and haunted trails. There is even a Winter Fest theme open with Christmas lights in the winter season. You can purchase entry to the park online for around $50 or at the gate upon arrival. Carowinds also offers a yearly season pass, which grants you access to the park year-round.

Food is the Fun Time

Before arriving at the park, you can grab brunch at Bricktop’s & The River House and try some of their delicious Brioche French Toast which comes topped with powdered sugar and maple syrup and is served with Bricktop potatoes and bacon. The restaurant has a relaxing contemporary setting which includes a dine-in area and a patio. They offer a large selection of breakfast, brunch, and lunch which ranges from waffles, sandwiches, steak and salmon, and much more. The restaurant is located only 15 minutes away from Carowinds and is a great place to fill up before some fun.

After a couple of rides when you and your friends are ready to head back home to campus, you can stop by Amelie’s French Bakery and Café which is located 10 minutes away from the park. They are known for having amazing pastries and drinks which you can choose from. Their Éclairs are a fan favorite and have just the right amount of sweetness to them. Amelie’s has many different hot teas, espressos, brewed coffees, and French sodas! If you are a coffee lover, you’ll want to try their Café Macrotter which is a vanilla bean espresso with milk which comes topped with caramel and sea salt. The inside of this bakery is stunning, and it has many art pieces decorating the walls, they have many seating options which also have large tables and space to eat and relax or even do some work.

This trip is very fun and a great way to spend a free day! However, you’ll want to check the weather ahead of time since most rides will be closed if there is inclement weather. The drive to Charlotte is very relaxing and has almost no traffic, so it is very enjoyable! The food and rides make the trip an experience to remember.

If You’re Going

Drive Time:

2 Hours Each Way.

Places and Contact Info:

Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28273. +1(704)588- 2600.

Bricktop’s, 6401 Morrison Blvd #1B, Charlotte, NC 28211. +1(704)364- 6255.

Amelie’s French Bakery and Café,

7715 Pineville-Matthews Rd #34b, Charlotte, NC. +1(704)376-1782.