5 Great Place to Have a Picnic in Raleigh/Durham, NC

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in Raleigh or Durham.

Raleigh Rose Garden

A beautiful, traditionally landscaped garden with a wide variety of roses. Stone pathways traipse through the garden, fountains provide elegant focal points in the center of the garden, and vine-wrapped pergolas make for some shade as you walk around. This garden is tranquil and not so overcrowded with flowers or landscaping that you feel overwhelmed by it. Pause for a picnic on the steps of the Louise “Scottie” Stephenson Amphitheatre which overlooks the garden.

JC Raulston Arboretum

Arboretums are usually phenomenal places to picnic because they are well-designed and full of greenery. This living museum has plant life from nearly every climate in the world, but the best parts are the benches and picnic tables scattered along the paths of the Arboretum. There are even plenty of fields for an open picnic where you can play catch with the frisbee or football.

Dorothea Dix Park

There is no other park so classically setup for picnics as Dorothea Dix Park. The majority of the park is a vast, open lawn with the occasional tree for shade. The space is perfect for picnics in the sun, with lawn games and more than enough room to spread out and enjoy oneself. In the summer, Dorothea Dix Park becomes extra special when the field of sunflowers blooms. 

William B. Umstead State Park

This park boasts over 5,000 acres of woodlands with three manmade fishing lakes. There is so much to explore that visiting the park can feel overwhelming but is hard to go wrong. Picnic Pavilions are located nearly everywhere, and benches can be found along the trails. The lakes have walking trails and open grass areas to stop, sit and eat. Or you can follow Sycamore Trail and choose to picnic on the large rocks along Sycamore Creek, watching the water rush by you.

Eno River State Park

Much like William Umstead Park, Eno River State Park is vast. It is filled with woodland trails, bridges, and many rocks over the river to climb on. Many people opt to canoe along Eno River, stopping for lunch when they find a landing site along the way. You can also picnic on the lawn near the historic Piper-Cox House. Be sure not to miss the suspension bridge (also known as the Eno River Pedestrian Bridge) for a fun start to your hike. 

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Fun Summer Things To Do In Raleigh, NC

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

William B Umstead State Park

8801 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC 27617

William B. Umstead State Park is a North Carolina covering 5,599 acres nestled between the expanding cities of Raleigh, Cary, and Durham, North Carolina. It offers hiking, bridle, bike trails, boat rentals, camping, picnic areas, and educational programs. Part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile-long system of trails connecting Maine to Florida, runs through the park.  Hikers, trail runners, bicyclists, and equestrians cherish the extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails at William B. Umstead State Park. Trailheads on both sides of the park—accessible from Interstate 40 and US 70—surround three man-made lakes.

Marbles Kids Museum

201 East Hargett St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Marbles Kids Museum is a nonprofit children’s museum in the Moore Square Historic District. Marbles was founded in 2007 as a result of the merger between Exploris, an interactive global learning center, and Playspace, a children’s museum aimed at preschool through early elementary age children. Marbles’ mission is to “..spark imagination, discovery and learning through play.”  Play is how children learn best!  At Marbles, play is fun and educational, with innovative hands-on exhibits, award-winning programs, and larger-than-life movies. 

Neuse River Trail

Raleigh, NC

The Neuse River Trail is a 33-mile long paved greenway located in the Raleigh area of North Carolina, running along the banks of the Neuse River from Falls Lake Dam to the town of Clayton. The route passes through the jurisdictions of Raleigh, Wake Forest, Knightdale, and Clayton in Wake and Johnston counties. The Neuse River Greenway trail is part of the Capital Area Greenway system as well as the Mountains-to-Sea Trail that crosses North Carolina from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. Open to both cyclists and pedestrians, the Neuse River Trail is the longest greenway trail in North Carolina and the longest paved trail between northern Virginia and western Georgia. The Neuse River Trail is a part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile long system of trails connecting Maine to Florida.

Historic Yates Mill County Park

4620 Lake Wheeler Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

Yates Mill is a fully restored, circa 1756 gristmill that is the centerpiece of Historic Yates Mill County Park in central Wake County. The park features the restored mill, a visitor center with a museum focused on milling and on the natural history of the area, classrooms, an auditorium, and space for research conducted by North Carolina State University faculty and students; a 20-acre lake; and extensive hiking trails. The park is managed as a native wildlife refuge with a mission to study and interpret the park’s cultural, natural, and agricultural heritage.

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Things to Do for the Fourth of July in Raleigh

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and fireworks! But with the country beginning to emerge from the worst of it, some celebrations are returning in the area. Read on to see what’s happening around Raleigh this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Go to a Baseball Game

As the ultimate American pastime, baseball pairs perfectly with Independence Day! And Raleigh’s team, the Bulls, just happen to be playing the Gwinnett Stripers all Fourth of July weekend. Games typically start around 6 pm each day and you can get tickets here. Thursday the 1st is “Beats, Brews & Baseball” and Friday the 2nd will feature a post-game firework show. Stay tuned for if they plan anything special during the games on Saturday and Sunday.


The 42nd Annual EnoFest is returning this year! If you haven’t heard of the Eno River Association, they’re a non-profit organization that works to protect the environment, wildlife habitats, and natural resources of the Eno River Basin. And they know how to throw a good party! The event will kick off on Friday with a free virtual concert, before moving to an in-person, ticketed festival over the weekend. The festival will be located in the Eno City Park and will include live entertainment (over 40 bands), food and drinks (including food trucks), craft vendors (over 60 local makers), art, dance, and fun! Tickets are under $50 with discounted two-day passes and discounts for children. Proceeds go to helping support the organization’s environmental work.

Lake Johnson Park

A laid-back day barbequing with family and friends is one of the best ways to spend the Fourth of July, and if you’re looking for a public park to host a BBQ, check out Lake Johnson Park. It has picnic facilities you can rent, BBQ grills, and plenty of shady spots to lay out some picnic blankets. There’s also enough to do here to spend a whole festive Fourth of July, such as:

·   Hammock posts for a post-meal nap

·   A lake with boat rentals and fishing

·   Over 5 miles of walking trails, plus a “fitness trail”, where you can burn off the calories from those hot dogs

·   Wildlife viewing (it’s a nature preserve)

·   A swimming pool

Laser Light Show

On both evenings of Fourth of July weekend, there will be a free, socially distanced laser light show at the Durham County Memorial Stadium. You can watch the show either from within your car or bring a lawn chair and sit in the marked space directly in front of your vehicle. Make sure you register ahead to secure a parking space!

Knightdale Community Pool

Cooling off in the water is the perfect way to spend a sweltering Fourth of July, and luckily, Raleigh has public pools where you can do just that! Knightdale Community Pool is a great one to check out, and will be open on Sunday the 4th from 12 to 6 pm. Admission for folks 13 and up is $5 for residents and $6 for non-residents, or you can also buy a summer pass.

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Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in Raleigh

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educates with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening as well as the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcome all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

JC Raulston Arboretum

4415 Beryl Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606

In 1976, J. C. made the first plantings at the North Carolina State University Research Farm Unit 4 (now the Horticultural Field Laboratory) on Beryl Road on portions of an eight-acre parcel designated as the NCSU Arboretum. Over the years, the Arboretum would grow to ten and a half contiguous acres, be renamed in his memory as the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University.

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

9241 Sauls Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

The goal and passion at JLBG is to be one of the most unique botanic gardens in the world. In the quest for new plants, JLBG has initiated over 80 botanical expeditions and sponsored many more, both domestic and global, since 1994. JLBG also works closely with the top plant explorers and breeders around the world to grow and evaluate the best in new ornamental plants.

WRAL Azalea Gardens

2619 Western Blvd, Raleigh, NC 27606

The gardens may be expanding into another section. It appeared the ground had been prepared for new plantings, and there were some containers of new plants.  I will return in June to see the hydrangeas and other flowers and plants as it is a nice place to visit and see the changes throughout the year.

Sarah P Duke Gardens

420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708

Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a 55-acre public botanic garden on the campus of Duke University. Among its many attractions are Italianate terraces, an Asiatic arboretum, a garden of native plants, an organic food garden, a white garden, a rose circle, a Japanese tea house and pavilion, water gardens, a memorial garden, water lily pools, a duck pond, and a century-old fountain. Duke Gardens also has a café, gift shop, and visitor center with an elegant rental hall.

North Carolina Botanical Garden

100 Old Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Our guiding mission is to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature. We are a conservation garden focused on the plant of the southeastern United States.

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#OhThePlacesYou’llGo Around Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is a gorgeous place to visit, especially in the late Spring. But since it isn’t a large city or a top vacation destination, it’s not the first place people think to go on their travels. This means that if you have upcoming travel to Raleigh planned, you might need a little help finding the best places to go around Raleigh. Read on for some inspiration.

North Carolina Museum of Art

If you’re looking for a solid dose of culture, the North Carolina Museum of Art is the perfect place to go. In fact, there’s so much to see and do there that you could go for multiple visits and not get bored. As you expect from art museums, there are indoor galleries with modern and contemporary art (admission is free!). But, there’s a large park element to the museum, too. The property has multiple trails through the woods and meadow and around a sunflower field and a pond. The trails are dotted with sculptures so you can enjoy art outside! Admission to the park is also free. Should you choose to pay admission, you’ll get access to special exhibits (currently, Egyptian mummies!), classes, and family activities.

Wilmington, North Carolina

For a day trip to a super cute town, drive 2 hours south to the coast. There you’ll find Wilmington, a charming harbor town located where the Cape Fear River spills out into the Atlantic. A day here is well-spent walking around the historic downtown and the scenic river walk taking in the shops, cafes, and galleries there.  Some other fun activities in town including visiting:

·         Battleship North Carolina – a WWII battleship and museum

·         Airlie Gardens – a 67-acre public botanical garden

·         Bellamy Mansion Museum – tours of a historic mansion and garden

William B. Umstead State Park

Getting immersed in nature once in a while is healing and calming for everyone. If you want to go somewhere where you can get a good dose of nature, head to William B. Umstead State Park. This giant state park covers over 5,000 acres! Inside, you’ll find lots of trails for walking, hiking, horseback riding, and biking. It’s also easy to get out on the water here, as the park contains several lakes. At Big Lake, you can rent canoes and rowboats, and all the lakes allow fishing. If you want to deeply immerse yourself in nature, the park has a campground on-site, too.

Frankie’s of Raleigh

If you’ll be in Raleigh with young kids, Frankie’s Fun Park of Raleigh is the perfect destination for family fun. This amusement center has tons to do! For example, mini-golf is always a good choice for the family, and they have three courses for a total of 54 unique holes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can jump in a go-kart, a bumper boat, a flight simulator, or even a theme park ride! For the athletically minded, there are batting cages and basketball hoops. And inside, there are also arcade games, photo booths, a restaurant, and so much more.

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Things to Do for Mother’s Day in Raleigh

Mother’s Day is coming up next month! The moms in our lives work so hard and give so much, so it’s important to take a day to make them feel special. Whether you’re celebrating your own mother, a step-mother, the mother of your children, or a friend who is a mom, here are some ideas of wonderful things to do with her.

Flying Biscuit Café

Since Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday, it’s traditional for many people to take their mom out for brunch. This is always a winning idea, and in Raleigh, there’s no better place for brunch than the Flying Biscuit Café.  They specialize in serving down-home, Southern comfort food; and if you prefer to get a late start, not to worry because they do breakfast all day long. You can enjoy delicious and creative dishes like a fried green tomato BLT, pimento cheese fritters, and acai bowls.

Lake Johnson Park

May is the beginning of picnic season! The weather is warming up, trees and flowers are blooming, and outdoor celebrations are a safe option during COVID-19. A great place to take your mom for a picnic locally is Lake Johnson Park. The park is a lovely spot to relax beside the lake and comes equipped with picnic tables and shelters. After you eat, you can take a stroll along the 5.4 miles of trails that go through the park.

Cooking Class

If you want something unique to do with your mom, sign up for a group cooking class through Catering Works! They’re offering virtual classes of 1.5-3 hours taught by their CEO & Culinary Director, Jill Santa Lucia and Executive Chef, Rich Carter. You can choose either a single meal or a three-course affair, and add-ons include dessert and wine. They’ll provide an ingredient kit and instructions. What you make will yield 4-6 servings, so invite your siblings or your mom’s friends and then enjoy your creation in the form of a nice dinner after the class!

North Carolina Botanical Garden

A lot of people get their mom flowers for Mother’s Day – but how about taking her to see thousands of blooming flowers? The North Carolina Botanical Garden is a lovely place to spend Mother’s Day with your special someone, and it’s just about a 40-minute drive from downtown Raleigh. The garden’s mission is to conserve and study flora native to North Carolina, so you’ll see lots of locally important plants. And depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, you can venture beyond the display garden to hike on the Piedmont Nature Trails.


If your mom is more of the traditional type, you might want to treat her to a classy night out at a renowned restaurant. Consider Garland, whose chef just earned her 4th consecutive James Beard Award nomination. Eating at this high-end Pan Asian (with a Southern twist) restaurant is a great way to spice up your Mother’s Day (literally!).

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Best Car Washes in Raleigh, North Carolina

If you’re looking for a place to wash your car and get the best service for your money, we have a few great suggestions for you in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina It doesn’t matter if it’s your own car or a rental car, clean or dirty, old or new, whether you’re on vacation or close to home, these car washes and detailers are guaranteed to make your vehicle look like a million bucks. These guys have seen it all. Don’t be afraid to show up with your cookie crumbs, your beach sand, or your toddler’s fast-food mess into the shop. You’ll be amazed at your car’s transformation! Let’s take a closer look at what car washes Raleigh has to offer.

First, we recommend Johnson’s Mobile Detailing. This shop offers gift cards if you like to purchase that special gift for that special someone. They have been doing business in Raleigh since 2001 and pride themselves on being a trusted shop in the detailing industry. They will condition your leather or upholstery, addressing any stains you might have on these surfaces. They hand wash their cars, and the exterior detail includes clay bar, waxing, paint sealant, and ceramic coating. Interior detail includes vacuuming and crevasse cleaning, as well as carpet cleaning and air system cleaning.

Second, we suggest Supreme Finish Mobile Detailing. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this shop is offering a 10% off discount to all details to help offset these hard times. They offer several packages to choose from as well as add-ons such as headlight restoration, supreme wash and wax, basic sanitize package, and more. They are proud to offer ceramic coating as well. They service vehicles of all sizes, from sports cars to classic cars, from vans, trucks, and sedans. Whatever you drive, they can handle at Supreme Finish Mobile Detailing. Call today and book your appointment for them to come out to wherever you are!

Finally, McNeill’s Touch Mobile Detailing might just be what you’re looking for. This shop not only offers car interior cleaning, but fleet services as well as mobile detailing. Need them to come to you? No problem! All washing is by hand, and they even offer a sanitizing package to make sure your car is free of allergens. Have stains? Not anymore! They specialize in stain removal, so be sure to ask them about it. They’ll be sure to restore your car to the same fantastic gleam it had the day you drove it off the showroom floor. Don’t hesitate to call or go online today to get your quote and book your appointment.

If you’re on a time crunch and looking for a quick drive through car wash in Atlanta, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the American Pride Car Wash on E. Millbrook Rd., Zips Car Wash on Wake Forest Rd., or Supreme Car Wash on Falls of Neuse Rd. In a pinch, these drive through car washes will help keep you looking good until you can get that detailing done.

Wherever you decide to go, your car will be well taken care of. In the great city of Raleigh, North Carolina, you’ll find detailers who truly care about their work and, most importantly, your car. With our recommendations, you’ll be in excellent hands.

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Pet-Friendly Hotels Around Raleigh

Those of us with pets know it can be hard to travel. You have to arrange for a pet sitter, spend extra money paying them, stock up on food and supplies before you leave, and deal with guilt for leaving your furry friend behind.

One solution that works well for easy-going or adventurous is bringing them along with you! So, if you’re planning a trip to Raleigh and want to (or have to) bring your fur baby along for the ride, you’ll need accommodations that are pet-friendly. To give you a jumpstart, we’ve analyzed a few of the very best hotels and B&Bs in Raleigh that accept pets. All are highly rated and we’ve included a variety of options from budget-friendly to luxurious. Read on and choose the one that best serves your needs!

Hyatt Place Raleigh / Cary

For a well-rated, simple hotel experience that checks all the boxes, get a room at Hyatt Place. Your room will come with all the essentials: a comfortable bed, a flat-screen TV, a coffeemaker & minifridge, free Wi-Fi, and a workspace. Plus, the hotel has amenities like free breakfast, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool. It may not be anything fancy, but it’s everything you need and they deliver on quality, hospitality, and cleanliness. Plus, if you like trendy spaces, the hotel is located in one of Raleigh’s hottest neighborhoods – “Inside Wade” – and has a lobby that features music, scents, and décor. The pet fee at Hyatt Place is $75 and you may bring up to two pets as long as their combined weight doesn’t exceed 75 pounds.

Airbnb – Downton Raleigh Home

Bringing more than just a pet with you? If you need space for kids or a group of friends, this two-bedroom home is perfect for your needs. The space includes Wi-Fi, a TV, driveway parking, a well-equipped kitchen, and laundry. There’s even a fenced-in yard so that the kids and dog can burn off some steam! The interior is sparkling clean and stylishly decorated in a homey, modern style. Host Drew is an experienced Airbnb Superhost who has earned an impressive 4.89 rating for his hospitality and communication.

Aloft Raleigh-Durham Airport Brier Creek

If you’re taking a quick trip through the city and want to be close to the airport, book a stay at boutique hotel Aloft Raleigh-Durham Airport, which is just 4 miles from the airport and includes a free shuttle service to take you to the terminal. The prime location is in that sweet spot where you can be at the airport quickly but won’t have planes landing right outside your window.  Aloft also makes for a trendy stay: the décor is sophisticated and modern, incorporating bold pops of color. While there, you can enjoy the indoor pool, cocktail lounge, 24-hour gym, breakfast, and free parking. You may bring one pet for a $100 pet fee per stay. Contact the hotel for details about their “pet-friendly arf (SM) program” which allows for a conditional free stay for pets.

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What to do in Raleigh, North Carolina

If you’re in Raleigh, North Carolina with nothing to do, we have a few great recommendations for you, whether you’re by yourself or with the whole family. A fun day can be had by all if you poke around and see what’s available in this town. There’s something for everyone, nature lovers, history buffs, and armchair scientists alike. Let’s take a look and see what all Raleigh has to offer.

First, we recommend a stroll through the beauty of Pullen Park. Pullen Park first opened in 1887 and was the first public park in the state of North Carolina. There are many things to do here, such as ride the carousel, take a pedal boat out on the water, go for a swim, or attend an art class. Playgrounds abound, which will delight the kids. Bring a picnic lunch and sit on the grass while the kids play and have fun. If you’d rather eat out, the Pullen Place Café is open to the public. Whatever you decide, you’re sure to have an amazing day.

Second, the North Carolina Museum of History is a must see before leaving town. North Carolina has a rich and deep history that this Smithsonian affiliate museum aims to bring to light. Not only was North Carolina the site of the first manned flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903, it has been the home of several famous personalities, such as Michael Jordan and Billy Graham. Exhibits include The Story of North Carolina, “You Have to Start a Thing”, the story of women’s suffrage, and Toy Boom, showcasing vintage toys from the 50’s and 60’s.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is sure to tantalize your inner scientist and get your kids’ imagination flowing. Their featured exhibit is called Beyond Curie, and celebrates women in science. You’ll learn all about women who changed the world through their research, vision, and tenacity. They all should be as well-known as Marie Curie! Another exhibit that will delight the family is An Unlikely Refugee, the story of George the Python. This snake was born in Vietnam, however, found its forever home at this very museum. Come on down and learn all about this famous reptile.

Finally, the North Carolina Museum of Art is a fantastic choice for the art lover, or the art critic, of the family. Pieces currently on display include the ancient and masterful artwork of the Golden Mummies of Egypt. Buy your tickets online and do not delay, they are selling out left and right. This display of the glory of Egypt is a favorite of tourists, vacationers, and locals alike. It’s here until July 11th, so make sure you take in these relics before they’re gone.

There’s plenty to do in Raleigh, North Carolina, whether you take our recommendations to heart or find your own adventure. Come on out today and have yourself a great time no matter who you’re with.


On Air Parking (RDU) – https://www.onairparking.com/parking/Raleigh-Durham-Airport-RDU

Pullen Park – https://raleighnc.gov/places/pullen-park

North Carolina Museum of History – https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – https://naturalsciences.org/

North Carolina Museum of Art – https://ncartmuseum.org/

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Best Legitimate Places to get Vaccinated near RDU

There are currently three vaccines that have been approved for emergency use by the US government—Pfizer/BioTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.  Depending on what region of the country you live in will determine which brand will be available to you.

If you are considering receiving the vaccine, it is advised that you look around for a distribution center and make an appointment.  Many of the centers that are administering the vaccine do require patients to have an appointment ahead of time.

Places To Receive The Vaccine

When looking to receive the COVID vaccine, you can contact the local public health department to set up an appointment. 

Wake County Public Health Center

10 Sunnybrook Rd

Raleigh, NC 27610


Hours:  Monday – Friday 8 am to 5 pm

Several Raleigh retailers are authorized to distribute the vaccine as well.  It is suggested that you call ahead of time, as an appointment may be necessary.

·         Walgreens

·         Garner 5th Avenue Pharmacy

·         White Oak Pharmacy

Several hospitals and clinics are offering the vaccination as well.  As always, call ahead of time as most require an appointment.

·         WakeMed Raleigh Campus

·         WakeMed & WKCC Community Primary Care Collaborative

·         Wake County Human Services

·         Duke Raleigh Hospital

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