45 minutes west of Raleigh is a glamping paradise, The Farm at Piper Hill. Set on 100 acres of the piedmont’s finest you’ll find a welcoming farm for your overnight glamping adventures.
Our group stayed in the Waterfront Peninsula Cottage with Dock and Deluxe Pond View Bell Tent, both were great accommodations for families however we recommend the Deluxe Bell Tent for families with younger kiddos as the Peninsula Cottage is surrounded by water.
During your stay at The Farm at Piper Hill you have free reign to interact with the animals, explore the property, and add on additional activities like fishing, kayaking, and gem mining to enhance your experience.
We opted to do it all and were pleasantly surprised how many fish the kids caught off the dock!
Collecting eggs from the coop for breakfast in the morning was a special treat and a gas grill is included at all the glamping sites.
The Farm at Piper Hill also offers summer camps , weekend camps, birthday parties, group farm visits, and special events. Next up is the Wild West Fest on May 28th, admission includes pony rides, face painting, a mechanical bull, a pie eating contest, square dance lessons, and live music!
Drive in movie theaters are always a fun family experience and now you can bring the fun to your backyard! NC Patio Cinema is a full service pop up movie night rental company serving the triangle and beyond. We loved their attention to detail and high quality items, the blow up couches really took the experience to the next level. We highly recommend this company for your next birthday, community event, sporting event, etc!
Although there are many more gardens and parks with beautiful spring blooms throughout the Triangle here are 5 we love visiting that are currently showing off the start of spring!
Sarah P. Duke Gardens – Durham
Parking is $2 per hour and the Gardens are open everyday 8am to dusk
Coker Arboretum – Chapel Hill
Open dawn to dusk
NC Botanical Garden -Chapel Hill
Open 9am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday / 1-5pm Sunday (closed Monday)
JC Raulston Arboretum – Raleigh
Open Monday through Friday 9am-4:30pm / Sat and Sunday 10am-6pm
Wilson Botanical Gardens – Wilson
Open dawn to dusk / restrooms are only available week days 8am-5pm
Friday – April 1st
Partee Shack is offering BOGO mini golf to celebrate their 1 year anniversary
Lazy Hound Farms in Wendell is kicking off their Friday Farm Club for kiddos ages 2-5 (10:30am-12pm)
One Friday a month, the Bond Park Boathouse hosts musicians, food trucks, and after-hours boat rentals. Spend your Friday evening floating on Bond Lake in the setting sun while you listen to great music and enjoy delicious food. Prefer to stay on land? Bring a lawn chair, friends and family and join us.
Visit White Deer Park for an evening of engineering fun with hands-on learning through experiments, crafts, and other activities in the Nature Center classroom. Also, bring a blanket to enjoy outdoor activities and stargazing with Raleigh Astronomy Club on the lawn. This is a self-paced drop-in program.
Saturday – April 2nd
Storytime & Craft at Quail Ridge Books (10:30-11:30am)
Old Mill Farm Durham – Spring Fling (12-6pm)
Kinly Pregnancy Baby & Child Expo at Marbles (10am – 4pm)
Spring Fling at Ting Stadium (10am – 12pm)
Wetland Sensory Walk for Autism Day (10am – 11am)
Midtown Square Spring Festival – (dedicated Kid Zone 12-4pm)
Sunday – April 3rd
Carrboro Open Streets (12-4pm)
The community is invited to dance, do yoga, ride their bikes, climb a rock wall, make smoothies on a bike blender, and participate in many other activities in a public space that not many ever thought of as a place to partake in recreation.
Wake Forest Veg Fest (10am-3pm)
When asked what’s the best part about living in the Triangle 9 times out of 10 one of the first responses you’ll get is, “being 2 hours from the beach and 3 to the mountains”. We all know the Triangle is located close to amazing adventures but we don’t always know where to actually visit when the time comes. Enter, our list of 10 family friendly day trips from the Triangle….
*All of these destinations are 1-2 hours away from Raleigh/Durham*
All visits require advance ticket purchase and registration
Raven Rock Loop Trail – 2.6 miles
American Beech Trail (Kids TRACK Trail) – .5 miles
Hanging Rock Trail – 2.6 miles
Indian Creek Trails – Hike to Hidden Falls & Window Falls – .6 miles
Lake Trail – 1 mile
Lower Cascades Trail – .8 miles
We have a full blog post on exploring Washington, NC with kids! You can find it HERE.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite boutiques and small shops in the North Carolina Triangle that currently have amazing selections of spring and Easter themed gift!
Birthday’s are big in our house! We love celebrating each family member in a unique way that feels special to them and we love getting family and friends together to do so. We were so excited to create a special day for our daughters 2nd birthday and are thrilled to share these amazing local vendors with you for some inspiration when planning your next birthday party!
Our daughter loves animals so when I stumbled upon the Safari Animal supplies from Meri Meri (the most magical party supplies company) we knew “Party Animal” was the perfect theme to celebrate Sawyer’s 2nd birthday.
Apparently this theme was popular this year because the Safari Animal décor was sold out everywhere, lucky for us Alara and Zane in North Hills sells Meri Meri party supplies and was able to get ahold of the décor for our event.
Alara and Zane also happens to be the venue we chose for our event! Their beautiful and thoughtfully designed indoor play space is great for ages 2-6 and they offer full service party planning (down to the balloon garland) to make your birthday party experience a breeze.
We typically host our children’s parties at home but after my experience with Alara and Zane there is NO going back. The team at Alara and Zane thinks of everything, helps you before/during/after the event, and will help organize as little or as much as you need/want. Having someone carry at cut the cake, engage kiddos in games, and clean up allowed my husband and I to be fully present for the party which was such a gift.
Having a venue for the birthday was also amazing because it meant our other vendors could easily drop off at Alara and Zane so I wasn’t running around town the day of the event picking everything up.
Invitations set the tone for the party and give guests a sneak peak into what to expect! Katelyn from Humble Hippie Studio knocked it out of the park with our custom Party Like an Animal invitation! She’s a local Raleigh mom and offers custom invitations and graphics.
Our beautiful and delicious cake and cake pops were made by Amelia from AE Cakes. The cake was SO tasty and the cake pops were probably the hit of the party. The little popsicle shapes were so unique and we loved how Amelia nailed the party animal theme with these fun cake toppers. She can even accommodate gluten and dairy free requests!
We loved having A Glass Above make a signature fruity birthday mocktail for the event and our guests LOVED the fun drinks and accessibility of the resealable lids. A Glass Above also offers full service mobile bartending services which we will definitely be utilizing for other events.
Birthday’s are always a fun opportunity to capture family memories to cherish, especially when family and friends visit from out of town. We were so grateful to have Glynnis from Glynnis Christensen Photography snapping photos during the event. We love her light and airy style and appreciate her creative eye for getting the best shot. She is offering fall mini and Santa mini sessions and we highly recommend her work. You can check out those offerings here!
Leaving a party is the hardest part (especially for kiddos) which is why we always prioritize a great party favor for our guests! Crayon Fanatics is a local Raleigh company that makes custom crayons and chalk. The owner is super responsive and so kind, we loved working with her to make custom crayons for our guests. Each guest left with 2 crayons, the first letter of their name and an animal!
We are so lucky to live in an area with amazing birthday party vendors! We highly recommend everyone linked in this post and know your birthday will truly magical if you work with any of these vendors.
That first crisp morning in September, coffee shops announcing their fall menus, the pumpkin decorations in the Target aisles…fall is right around the corner and we rounded up some of our favorite family friendly fall activities in the triangle (and beyond) to celebrate the arrival of fall!
Family Friendly Farms:
Fall season opens at Phillips Farm of Cary on September 18th! You can participate in a corn maze, pumpkin picking, and they have a Haunted Farm experience that starts September 24th.
Lazy Hound Farms is a small family farm offering year round family friendly fun with hay rides, corn mazes, farm animal interactions, a tractor train, pumpkins, sunflowers, painting with goats and so much more. They are hosting a Harvest Festival September 25th, more info can be found here.
Hillridge Farms’ annual Fall Pumpkin Festival starts on October 1st, Wednesday – Sunday 9:30am-6:30pm everyone gets a free pumpkin with an admission ticket.
The Vollmer Farm is most well known for their “back 40” which includes tons of farm favorite rides and activities! They also offer U-Pick pumpkins and have homemade ice-cream for sale in their farm shop.
Spring Haven Farm hosts activities year round on their farm in Chapel Hill and is one of the best places for barn yard animal interactions. They offer a “Carving Pumpkins with Goats” experience throughout the fall months. More information can be found here.
Firefly Farm is bringing back their popular Haunted Barn experience which is perfectly not so scary and great for younger kids! Tickets must be purchased in advance here.
There are two orchards for apple picking near the triangle, Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramsuer and Carrigan Farms in Mooresville. Unfortunately both of these orchards lost the majority of their apple crop this year when a late frost killed the early apple blooms. Millstone Creek Orchards U-Pick Apple Experience is sold out (although you can still visit for fall fun) and Carrigan Farms is running on a limited reservation basis.
Even without the U-Pick apple experience Millstone Creek orchards is still a wonderful place to visit. They have weekly events, a fun kids play area, apple cider donuts and slushies, a farm shop, and so much more!
Carrigan Farms is further away from the triangle but is the closest U-Pick apple experience. Just make sure to reserve your tickets before you visit!
There are SO many pumpkin picking opportunities all around the triangle! A few fan favorites are…
DJ’s Berry Patch in Apex
The Family Farm in Holly Springs
Naylor Family Farm and Corn Maze in Fuquay Varina
Page Farms in Raleigh
Medlin Farm in Wake Forest
Tractor’s Corn Maze in Wake Forest
Family Friendly Fall Hikes:
We have a great blog post for family friendly fall hikes, click here!
Family Friendly Fall Festivals:
Nothing says fall like a festival! Here are just a few of our favorite family friendly fall festivals.
Renaissance Festival: Saturday/Sunday in October and November
(2 hours from the Triangle but well worth the drive)
Artsplosure: October 9th and 10th
NC State Fair: October 14th-24th
Falling for Local at Dix Park: October 16th
Pumpkin Patch Express at Museum of Life and Sciences in Durham: Weekends in October
Feel free to add your families favorite local fall tradition in the comments below!
Last year we camped on Lake Murray and didn’t realize how close it was to Columbia. We decided to come back and dedicate a whole weekend to exploring this historic riverside city. Columbia is only 3.5 hours from Raleigh so a perfect distance to feel like you’re exploring somewhere new without having challenging trip logistics.
Check into the Graduate Hotel in the heat of downtown Columbia for a convenient, comfortable, and family friendly stay. The Graduate Hotel offers a family suite complete with two twin size train beds, a living room and pull out couch, plus the separate king size room with additional full bathroom. We loved staying here because it was close to everything, had easy parking, tons of outdoor seating options, and a café for breakfast/coffee and dinner/drinks.
Roll out of bed and head downstairs to grab complimentary coffee at the bar OR hop in the car and head to Small Sugar for delicious, locally sourced goods. Everything we tried at Small Sugar was incredible and they have plenty of outdoor seating for wiggly kids.
After breakfast head across the river to spend the day at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. This 170 acre zoo, aquarium, and botanical garden has attractions that will delight the entire family! If you’re still in the naptime stage of life I would recommend splitting the zoo up into two sections and doing the zoo, aquarium, and attractions half the day and the botanical gardens with Waterfall Junction, dino dig, and treehouse the second half.
We recommend purchasing the Experience Columbia CoolPASS which includes the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Edventure Children’s Museum, and SC State Museum for one discounted price.
After a full day of fun Steel Hand Brewing is the perfect place to kick back with a cold beer and let the kids play in the grassy outdoor area. You might even get lucky and enjoy live music during your dinner.
No trip to Columbia is complete without picking up breakfast (or brunch) from The Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli! They are still doing curbside pickup so order your decadent cinnamon rolls and savory grits ahead of time.
Don’t forget to stop by Soda City Market on Saturday morning! It’s a lively gathering of local vendors and food trucks compete with live music and fun activities.
Edventure Children’s Museum is the largest children’s museum in the southeast and is the perfect place to let your kids’ imaginations run wild. We especially loved the outdoor water area, airplane simulations, and climbing through the giant insides of Eddie (the largest child in the world!).
In the same parking lot as Edventure is the South Carolina State Museum which has 4 floors of exhibits, a planetarium, and a 4D interactive theater.
Palmetto Outdoor is right across the river from Edventure and offers kayak and tubing trips and is the perfect way to cool off from the South Carolina humidity. Or visit the West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater for a relaxed stroll along the river.
For the last day of your trip we recommend a day at Lake Murray or Congaree National Park.
If you choose Lake Murrary check out one of the many adventure companies offering boat, jet ski, kayak, and paddle board rentals. If you want a more laid back lake day make the drive to Dreher Island State Park and enjoy the lakeside trails and beach.
If Congaree National Park is on your must see list we recommend one of the boardwalk trails or Bates Ferry Trail. If your kids are up for a water adventure choose from one of the five river outfitters for a kayak or canoe adventure along the Congaree River.
Wherever your Columbia adventure takes you you’ll be greeted by friendly faces, art filled streets, and story filled historic buildings. There are endless opportunities for family friendly fun and we can’t wait to see all of your pictures exploring this beautiful city! Visit Experience Columbia SC for more trip inspiration and itineraries.