In the great outdoors
Choose a path that includes peaceful lake views. The outdoors is truly great, and it’s waiting for you.
Gardens for quiet beauty
We’ve got flower power to share. For a spring fling, head to the WRAL Azalea Gardens for tranquility in the heart of the city. Enjoy a summer showcase at the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden. The Juniper Level Botanic Garden gives a global view with more than 23,000 unique plants from around the world. The JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationallyacclaimed teaching garden with a mission to introduce, display and promote plants that diversify the American landscape. That translates into a fascinating stroll that teaches each of us to slow down and appreciate our natural world.
Other floral spots include Joel Lane Museum House Gardens and Ellen Mordecai Garden.
Lake days are lazy days. Enjoy a leisurely kayak paddle or a picnic by the shore. Bring your binoculars to spot the birds and wildlife that call our area home. Get lost in a good book as you relax beside the lake.
Head to Lake Johnson Park (West Raleigh), Lake Wheeler Park (between downtown Raleigh and Fuquay-Varina), Bass Lake Park and Harris Lake County Park (Holly Springs), Shelley Lake Park (North Raleigh), Lake Benson Park (Garner), Lake Crabtree County Park (Morrisville) and Robertson Millpond Preserve (Wendell).
To meet and meander
City parks offer quiet spots for reflection, places to meet with friends for an afternoon break and welcome greenways for reconnecting with nature. In downtown Raleigh, pause for consideration at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens. Veterans Park in Holly Springs is dedicated to the men and women who have served our country in the military. Cary’s Downtown Park features lighted fountains. South Park in Fuquay-Varina is a kid favorite with a 6,000-square-foot splash pad. Pullen Park in West Raleigh delivers nostalgic fun with a 1911 Gustave A. Dentzel Menagerie Carousel and C.P. Huntington train ride. The carousel at John Chavis Memorial Park is historic and beautiful.
For dog-friendly options, check out Carolina Pines Dog Park, Millbrook Exchange Off Leash Dog Park, North Hills Dog Park and Oakwood Dog Park, all in Raleigh, and the Ashley Wilder Dog Park in Knightdale.
Get your steps in
Ready to take a walk or a hike? Lace up and head for the Capital Area Greenway System. Here you can choose from 28 individual trails that together total more than 100 miles of paved paths. The system connects to the William B. Umstead State Park, where you can explore more than 5,000 acres of forest, trails and lakes. The Art to Heart Trail begins at the North Carolina Museum of Art and ends 5.9 miles later in downtown Raleigh. Keep up the pace at Shelley Lake Park with a paved, two-mile trail that loops the lake offering great views, especially for sunset watching. For an invigorating hike, discover the nine miles of trails (also open to bikers) at Lake Crabtree County Park. The two-mile trail along the lake is for foot traffic only. Other parts of the county are replete with trail options. Try Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary or Apex Nature Park.