As Memorial Day rapidly approaches it’s time to think about getting out and discovering the beauty of North Carolina. The Tarheel State has a multitude of parks and recreation areas waiting to be explored and many are close by in the Triangle.
Here are 10 locations for outdoor activities in Raleigh.
1. Anderson Point Park – 20 Anderson Point Drive Raleigh, NC 27610 ~ This park has four miles of walking trails, playground, swinging benches and beautiful scenic views with a variety of wildlife for viewing.
2. Blue Jay Point County Park – 3200 Pleasant Union Church Road Raleigh, NC 27614 ~ This park situated adjacent to Falls Lake is a wonderful way to enjoy the natural world. The parks’ main objective is environmental education and there are public programs offered throughout the year.
3. Durant Nature Park – 8305 Camp Durant Road Raleigh, NC 27614 ~ Located on Durant Road between Capital Boulevard and Falls of Neuse Road the park features over 200 acres ideal for hiking, fishing, picnicking, and playing on the playground. There are also rental facilities such as the large picnic shelter, Campbell Lodge and the Training Lodge.
4. JC Raulston Arboretum – 4415 Beryl Road Raleigh, NC 27606 ~ The nationally acclaimed arboretum located between Blue Ridge Road and I-440 boasts a large and diverse collection of plants adapted for the Southeast. Guided tours are offered April through October.
5. Marsh Creek Park and Community Center – 3050 N. New Hope Road Raleigh, NC 27604 ~ This accessible playground and community center is located off of New Hope Road between the Buffalo Road and Marsh Creek Road stoplights and features a barrier-free, inclusive playground.
6. Pullen Amusements at Pullen Park – 520 Ashe Avenue Raleigh, NC 27606 ~ Founded in 1887, Pullen Park became the first public park in North Carolina. Today Pullen Park is popular for its amusement attractions which include a carousel, miniature train, kiddie boats and playground. Picnic shelters are available as well.
7. Pullen Aquatic Center at Pullen Park – 410 Ashe Avenue Raleigh, NC 27606 ~ Although not technically an outdoor activity, the Pullen Aquatic Center features an accessible indoor 50-meter by 25-yard pool. Public open swim is Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. And Sunday 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
8. RDU Airport Observation Park – East International Drive RDU Airport, NC 27623 ~ This hidden treasure is located close to the control tower at RDU Airport. The covered observation deck overlooking the runway has a ramp access and audio from air traffic control can be heard. There is also a playground with mini-runway and picnic tables. Airplane buffs of all ages can enjoy watching planes come and go.
9. Shelley Lake Park – 1400 West Millbrook Road Raleigh, NC 27612 ~ This popular park located off Millbrook Road between North Hills Drive and Lead Mine Road has 53-acres of lake and park surrounded by two miles of paved green way trails. An abundance of nature is waiting to be observed and there’s a playground close to the Sertoma Art Center which is on the park grounds. Three open fields are available for public use as well.
10. William B. Umstead State Park – 8801 Glenwood Avenue Raleigh, NC 27617 ~ This large park is nestled between the cities of Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Research Triangle Park creating a pleasant refuge from the hustle and bustle of active city life. The park has two entrances. The Reedy Creek entrance is off I-40 at Exit 287 in Cary and the Crabtree entrance is located off U.S. 70 in Raleigh. The park offers a variety of ways for guests to enjoy nature with hiking and cycling trails, camping, boating, picnic areas and horseback riding.