Mon. Sep 25th, 2023
rosa-ashdown-photography Duke Gardens in Raleigh, NC

If you’re contemplating a move to Raleigh, NC, you’re about to discover a city teeming with inviting outdoor spaces. Raleigh’s Southern charm extends to its range of parks and recreational areas that cater to a spectrum of interests. Be it the thrill of hiking trails, the excitement of amusement rides, the serenity of nature walks, or the joy of a well-spent afternoon with your canine friend, Raleigh’s parks cover it all. From Pullen Park with its historic carousel to Umstead State Park with its extensive trail network and tranquil lakes, to Oakwood Dog Park specially designed for our four-legged friends, Raleigh leaves no stone unturned when it comes to outdoor enjoyment.

Let’s embark on a journey to explore some of the best parks and outdoor spaces in Raleigh, NC. Whether you’re considering buying a new home or renting an apartment in this dynamic and friendly city, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the multitude of recreational options that await you.

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1. Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Sarah P. Duke Gardens, nestled within Duke University’s campus in Durham, is a 55-acre horticultural masterpiece, home to over 8,000 varieties of plants. Its diverse landscapes are organized into four distinct areas: the Historic Core with its terraced gardens and koi-filled fish pool, the H.L. Blomquist Garden showcasing native flora, the serene Culberson Asiatic Arboretum displaying East Asian plant life, and the Doris Duke Center Gardens offering interactive experiences such as the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden.

Photographer Rosa Ashdown cherishes her visits to Duke Gardens as a time “to unwind from our busy schedules. It’s all about strolling through the gardens, checking out what’s blooming, and bursting with colors. Sometimes, we bring along lunch and a cozy blanket, finding the perfect spot under a shady tree to take in the stunning views while enjoying our meal. 

We also make sure to bring a ball or frisbee to play a couple of games on the expansive lawn. Of course, we never forget the iconic red bridge. We always make a quick stop there, capturing family pictures and soaking in the beauty of the surroundings. Duke Gardens is the ultimate place for our family to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and create unforgettable memories.”

rosa-ashdown-photography Duke Gardens in Raleigh, NC

Courtesy of Rosa Ashdown

2. Pullen Park

Pullen Park is a crown jewel in the heart of Raleigh. In existence since 1887, it’s one of the oldest parks in the country. Its vintage charm comes alive through the antique carousel, and a life-size steam engine train that offers scenic rides around the park. You can enjoy a boat ride and play on the playground. There’s also an arts center and an indoor aquatic center that offers year-round swimming. The park is dotted with lunch spots, making it perfect for a leisurely outing.

3.  Umstead State Park 

Nestled on the outskirts of Raleigh, Umstead State Park offers an escape into nature. This expansive, forested park, divided by Raleigh’s beltline, is a nature lover’s paradise with its two man-made lakes – Big Lake and Sycamore Lake. Here, you can indulge in canoe and rowboat rentals or try your luck at fishing. The park has an extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails suitable for biking and horseback riding. There are also camping facilities for those seeking a longer stay amongst nature.

4. Dorothea Dix Park 

Dorothea Dix Park is a majestic public space that tells the story of Raleigh’s past and future. Occupying the grounds of the former Dorothea Dix Hospital, the park is famed for its panoramic views of downtown Raleigh. Each summer, its sunflower field blooms, providing a spectacular sight and a perfect backdrop for photos. The park also hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, contributing significantly to Raleigh’s vibrant community life.

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5. Lake Johnson Park

Lake Johnson Park is a hidden gem that shines with a 150-acre lake at its heart. The park offers an array of water-based activities such as fishing, paddleboarding, and boating with watercraft rentals available on-site. Hikers can explore the park’s paved and unpaved trails that wind through a lush, wooded landscape. The park also boasts a waterfront center with a deck, perfect for relaxing and bird watching.

6. Millbrook Exchange Park

Millbrook Exchange Park is a versatile recreational area in North Raleigh. Its dog park is a lively gathering place for canine friends, separated into areas for large and small dogs. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy tennis courts, a basketball court, a swimming pool, and a playground. For those interested in less strenuous activities, there are picnic shelters and a community center offering a variety of programs.

7. Oakwood Dog Park

Oakwood Dog Park is a haven for dogs and their owners in the Historic Oakwood neighborhood. With separate enclosures for large and small breeds, this park ensures safe, off-leash fun for dogs of all sizes. Mature trees provide plenty of shade, while seating areas offer comfort for the human companions. Its location, embedded in a neighborhood known for Victorian-style homes, adds a unique, historical charm.

Happy dog runs in the park

8. Raleigh Rose Garden

Raleigh Rose Garden is a floral spectacle nestled near downtown Raleigh. Home to sixty varieties of roses, the garden is in full bloom from late May until the first frost. The site also hosts an open-air amphitheater which stages performances against this aromatic backdrop. With a lily pond adding to its serene atmosphere, the garden offers a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

9. Adventure Landing Raleigh

For a day filled with fun and excitement, Adventure Landing Raleigh is the go-to destination. Mini-golf courses challenge your putting skills, while go-karts let you experience the thrill of speed. Batting cages offer a chance to perfect your swing, and the arcade hosts an array of classic and modern games. To cool off on hot summer days, there’s a water play area, making it an ideal spot for fun and thrills.

10.Neuse River Greenway Trail 

Neuse River Greenway Trail runs parallel to the Neuse River, offering breathtaking views and a variety of recreational opportunities. While technically not a park, this 27.5-mile trail winds through forests, agricultural fields, and across wetlands, forming a diverse and vibrant natural corridor. Ideal for biking, walking, or running, the trail is also a gateway to bird watching and wildlife photography. 

Pullen Park in Raleigh, North Carolina

The post Raleigh’s Green Gems: Exploring the City’s Most Beloved Parks appeared first on Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More.

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