Raleigh-Durham (aka “the Triangle”) has a lot of family friendly things to do. This is one of the main reasons we love living here. You can drive 2 hours to the east and your at the beach. Drive 2.5 hours to the west and you’re in the mountains. Growing up in North Carolina, I took for granted all that this area offered. Moving away for a few years after college finally gave me an appreciation for the area. Take a look at some of the family friendly things to do if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the Triangle of North Carolina!
You may or may not consider 80 degrees in February nice (for the record, I do!). That was the situation I was in when I was writing this on the last Saturday in February. Now, this is far from the norm, but you can easily enjoy some outdoor fun year round the Triangle. Into food and drinks? You won’t be disappointed in the number of outdoor restaurants and breweries that are available. Personally, our favorite brewery is Bond Brothers Beer Company in downtown Cary. It’s super family friendly and has a great outdoor space. You’ll find plenty of outdoor dining options if you’re looking for something to eat. If you can’t find an outdoor restaurant on one street, walk to the next and you’re almost guaranteed to find one.
If hiking or being on the water are more of your thing, you’re in luck. Home to several state and local parks like Jordan Lake, the American Tobacco Trail, Umstead Park, and soon-to-be renovated Dorothea Dix park, you have plenty of options. Recently opened Sassafras Park is the largest playground in Raleigh. We are very proud of this park because it is specifically designed for children with special needs.
In addition to outdoor activities, Raleigh-Durham has a ton to do if you’re more into history and museums. Marbles Kids Museum in downtown Raleigh is a great place to start. Marbles has a little bit of everything: science, math, technology, sports. If you are in downtown Raleigh, you should plan on the state of North Carolina’s free museums. The North Carolina State Capitol, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and NC Museum of History are all highly recommended.
Not technically a museum, but worth mentioning is the North Carolina Zoo. Located in Asheboro, the zoo is about a 45 minute to 1 hour drive depending on where you’re based in the Triangle. It’s well worth the day trip and a great way to tire out the kids!
Raleigh-Durham Sports and Entertainment
Home to three ACC schools (Duke, North Carolina State, and UNC-Chapel Hill), you have no shortage of sporting events to choose from. On the professional level, Raleigh is home to the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. Durham is home to the Durham Bulls, a Triple A baseball team. Because of their family friendly atmosphere, you will often find great deals for these games. Many of the packages include tickets, hot dogs, and sodas. Tough to beat!
Into the arts more than sports? Check out the Durham Performing Arts Center. They host many Broadway plays and musicals, as well as concerts. The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh is a similar venue, but tends to get more off-Broadway types of shows. Because the weather is nice 8-9 months a year, outdoor concerts are easy to find. Red Hat Amphitheater, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek and The Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts are the top venues. An absolute must if you are in town in October, is the North Carolina State Fair. You will not be disappointed!
Surrounding Cities and Towns
In my opinion, what makes the Triangle such a cool place is that it’s truly a region made up of different communities. The largest cities in the region are Raleigh and Durham, but they are not the only places you should spend your time. Smaller towns like Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Holly Springs, and Wake Forest all have small downtown areas that often have fun events for families. If you’re looking for something to do on any weekend in any of these places, you’re sure to find it. There is a reason why Apex was named Money Magazine’s number 1 Place to Live in the United States!
It is a great time to be in the Raleigh-Durham area. There is a lot of excitement and buzz around what the region is becoming. If you are new to the area of if you are just passing through, I hope you find these suggestions helpful. If you are familiar with the area and have any other recommendations, please let us know in the comments!