The Carolina Sternwheeler opened in 1973 with the park, it "floated" around the centerpiece of the park, Carolina Sternwheeler is giant paddlewheel boat smilar to the Mark Twain at Disneyland in California,and the Magic Kindom in Flordia. The island and Sternwheeler rides were removed for Nighthawk; They will be remembered as one of the park's greatest icons.
The Carolina Sternwheeler operated until August 2003 when the river was drained for the construction of Nighthawk, Carowinds had the riverboat lifted by crane, removed from the track and turned around. This was done in preparation to be converted into a Restaurant but sadly,the Carolina riverboat was dropped by the crane operator and damaged beyond repair. Paramount Parks refused to pay for the repairs and the Carolina was demolished and cleaned up in 5 days.