Raleigh Kids Birthday Inspiration

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.

Family Friendly Fall Fun in the Triangle

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: 

Phillips Farm of Cary

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 in Wendell/Zebulon

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 in Youngsville

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 in Bunn, NC

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 in Chapel Hill 

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 in Hillsborough

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.

Apple Picking: 

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. 

Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramseur

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 in Mooresville 

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! 

Pumpkin Picking: 

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!

Exploring Columbia, SC with Kids

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. 

Thursday Night: 

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.

Friday: 

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. 

Saturday: 

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.

Sunday: 

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.

Exploring Washington, NC with Kids

Washington, NC is a quick 2 hours from Raleigh and makes up part of the Inner Banks, an unofficial title that describes the inner coastal region of North Carolina. Washington is a beautiful, waterfront town full of history and your visit will have you relaxing into a more laid back lifestyle the second you cross over the bridge where the Pamlico and Tar River meet.

Start your visit downtown walking along the Washington Waterfront Docks and meandering through the surrounding neighborhoods before making your way down Main Street. Make sure to stop to let your kiddos stretch their legs at Festival Park, a fenced in playground overlooking the river with bathrooms and a big pavilion for plenty of shade.

There are so many great places to eat in Washington, we decided to opt for the most family friendly and grab hot dogs at Bill’s Hot Dog Stand and enjoy a picnic at the tables by the waterfront.

After full bellies we headed to Goose Creek State Park to continue our Inner Banks adventure! Goose Creek State Park has 8 miles of trails that lead you along Pamlico Sound and over a cypress swamp viewed from an extensive boardwalk. We recommend the Goose Creek Trail (2 miles) and the Live Oak Trail. There are plenty of opportunities to splash in the sound or launch a personal watercraft! This state park also offers two overnight campgrounds and the cutest, brand new cabins (only available on the weekend).

After a full day of adventure we headed to our Airbnb in Bath (North Carolina’s first town). This Airbnb would not work for a big family but for one adult with one or two kids it was the perfect landing pad at the Quarterdeck Marina in Bath.

Pennydeck Guest Suite

No trip to Washington is complete without a visit to the North Carolina Estuarium. This interactive museum was a great opportunity to talk about the diversity of our state and learn about the unique habitats and ecosystems working in the estuaries.

Our first trip to Washington was only 1 night so we didn’t explore anywhere close to all that this beautiful town has to offer. Here are a few places on my list to check out next time we visit and please tag @trianglefamiliesexplore in your Washington adventures!

River Vibes: Bike and SUP board rentals

Little Washington Sailing School

Inner Banks Outfitters

Moss Landing Marina: pontoon boat rental

A Weekend in Lake Lure with Kids

My husband grew up in the Blue Ridge foothills so visiting this part of North Carolina is always a special adventure for us. We have explored Chimney Rock and Lake Lure many times and are so excited to share our weekend itinerary for visiting Lake Lure with kids with all of you.

There are a ton of great short term rentals available in the area but we highly recommend booking your accommodations with Emberglow Outdoor Resort. Emberglow is a beautiful campground located 15 minutes from the lake offering rv/tent sites, camper rentals, tiny houses, tree houses, and yurts! They have incredibly family friendly amenities, fun themed weekends, and a playground, pool, and on site trails.

FRIDAY

Arrive and check in to your accommodations for the weekend! If you’re staying at Emberglow let the kiddos run wild, exploring the property and playing at the playground and jump pad. Enjoy a low key campfire and cookout OR head down to Lake Lure for dinner at La Strada. La Strada’s patio dining offers a beautiful view of Lake Lure and will be the perfect kick off to your weekend adventures.

Option to add a boat tour (before of after dinner) of the lake from Lake Lure Tours which operates at the nearby marina.

SATURDAY

Wake up and fuel up because Saturday is adventure day! Head to Chimney Rock State Park for the best views and hiking in the area. Visit their website for hours and ticket pricing but no matter what time of year you visit, the earlier you arrive, the better.

We recommend starting your day with a hike to the top of Chimney Rock via the Outcroppings Trail. Slow and steady wins the race on this one (494 steps later) but if stairs are not your thing you can also take the elevator to the top.

After you conquer Chimney Rock enjoy a quick snack break at one of the parks many scenic picnic tables then start your journey to Hickory Nut Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.

The Hickory Nut Falls trail is 1.4 miles round trip and takes an average hiker about 45 minutes. It’s an out and back and very family friendly!

If your crew is still up for a challenge hit the Great Woodland Adventure trail on your way out of the park. This trail has 12 discovery stations along a .6 mile winding trail and is perfect for young explorers.

Now that you’re good and hungry head down into Chimney Rock Village for lunch along the Rocky Broad River! We recommend Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery for pulled pork nachos, soft pretzels, and a cold beer OR Riverwatch Bar and Grill.

After lunch is the perfect time to walk along the quaint streets of Chimney Rock Village and the Chimney Rock River Walk and stop in for gem mining at Chimney Rock Gem Mine. This is always a fan favorite for our kiddos!

Next stop, zip lining! Depending on the time of year and the ages of the kids in your group if you can squeeze in zip lining at Canopy Ridge Farms we highly recommend the experience. And don’t forget to stop by the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge on your way out of Chimney Rock!

After all that adventure head back to your accommodations to hang our for a few hours before dinner. We recommend another lakeside dinning option, Lakehouse Restaurant.

SUNDAY

Depending on the time of year you have a couple different options for a laid back Sunday. For a relaxed morning by the lake you can head down to the Lake Lure Beach and Water park and for the ones still looking for adventure we recommend renting a boat from Lake Lure Adventure Company.

If the weather does not allow a lake day the alternative option would be a trail or pony ride (depending on age) at Cedar Creek Stables.

If you’re staying at Emberglow Sunday would be a great day to kick back and enjoy all of their amenities, like the pool and playground!

This itinerary just scratches the surface off all the amazing things Lake Lure and Chimney Rock has to offer! If you have any questions about planning a trip please reach out. Happy exploring!

All of these pictures were taken in the beginning of March! If you visit during the later spring, summer, or fall months the views will be totally different.

A Guide to Downtown Wake Forest with Kids

by Triangle Families Explore Ambassador @zoeyannacameron

We spent the day exploring all Downtown Wake Forest has to offer for families with children. This town is friendly, safe, full of history, and moves at a seemingly slower pace of life we could all learn from. I would describe downtown as follows : community, inclusiveness, artistic, nostalgic, full of history, and family friendly FUN!

Plant Cakes Bakeshop for Donuts (410 S White Street)

This all-Vegan bake shop hit it out of the park for us. Every donut was delicious (side note: I ordered my husband’s gluten free birthday cake here last month and it was also amazing) and the owners are committed to using only the highest quality organic and non-GMO ingredients. Such a good option for those with dietary restrictions. I would recommend making a pre-order, they sell out QUICK. There is limited socially distanced seating indoors at the bar, but we took our order down to the coffee shop and ate outside. Also be aware that because the shop is small, they will restrict the number of guests at one time. Curbside delivery is also offered.

@plantcakesbakeshop

Wake Forest Coffee Company : (156 S White Street)

Coffee for adults – smoothie & hot cocoa for kids. After we grabbed our donuts we headed here for outdoor seating and coffee. The artist loft is a really neat space and everything felt distanced and safe.

Personal Favorite: NC General Stores (150 S White Street) 

“Friendly, local, NC loving, NC selling, gourmet, country, corner store.”

@ncgeneralstores

We love the general store for their commitment to the nostalgia of days gone by. They have a little cart at the front for your small shoppers, old Pepsi cooler, and a good old fashioned display of candy jars to make the kids go wild. We also love the local NC puzzles. A great way to shop small and bring an activity home. This Father/Son duo has owned different businesses downtown for a little over 25 years. Tim Forest shared with me that his favorite part of growing up in Wake Forest was, 

“Being able to roam. A good town to walk and ride bikes. A fun town to be a kid in.”

He also shared with me that Shorty’s Hotdogs houses some of his favorite childhood memories.

His father, Nathan Forest, paints and sells his art in stores. My daughter loved grabbing a piece of candy and looking at his paintings. This store felt like a great step back in time. Tim was willing to share a lot of information about Downtown making this the perfect place to start your adventures.

Shorty’s Famous Hot Dogs (214 S White Street)

Unfortunately the famous hot dog shop was closed when we stopped by, but it looked like the perfect kid friendly stop for a bite to eat!

Play 4 Life Comics (149 S White Street)

Brandon, the owner, shared with us that his favorite childhood comic book series is Batman. His advice to young kids getting into comic books, “Jump in anywhere and try to have fun with it!” 

His shop offers many child friendly renditions of comic books.

B & W Hardware (232 S White Street)

What a fun change of pace from taking the kids to target to look at toys! The young man working at the front desk shared with me that the hardware shop has been open for 70 years. They had a great selection of toys as well as a variety of things like bird feeders, bikes, and tools for the outdoorsy kids! Normally they have popcorn to enjoy while browsing, but that has been suspended during the pandemic. Leslie loved picking out a Melisa and Doug car set and looking at all the hardware stores had to offer. I was also pleased to see they had a lot of cleaning products in stock that I haven’t been able to find other places.

@bwhardware

The Cotton Company ( 306 S White Street)

This was a neat shop with a lot of different local vendors. It had everything from books, art, clothes, and some food items. Several vendors had handmade children’s items and the booth was entirely a kid’s toy vendor.

@thecottoncompany

Sweeties Candy Shop (353 S White Street)

Gift baskets, small family parties, and all the candy you could ever dream of! Lots of house made fudge, some sugar free options, as well as non food related kid gifts. The shop had a fun “Sweeties” punch bug out front, bubble machine, and a beautiful hand painted mural on the side of the store. This was probably Leslie’s favorite stop.

@sweetiesnc

Walk through the Seminary Campus and a visit to “Mr. Bonejangles” before lunch

The Seminary College is a beautiful campus and the history surrounding the small rock wall that encompasses the school is amazing.

Mr. Bone Jangles lives on a tire swing and changes with the season, you can follow him on Instagram

@TheRealBoneJangles

Various Art around Downtown

We loved looking at all the different nods to art around downtown WF. How many can you find when you visit?

Page 158 Books (415 Brooks St)

@page158books

Our family loves this book store, but they were closed on the day we stopped by. Pre covid they offered free story time for kids, a train table, and an amazing selection of children’s books. Please be sure to check them out – they’re awesome!

Lunch time: Over The Falls (419 S Brooks St)

@otfalls

Over The Falls has some amazing options for dining, local brews from White Street Brewing, and they cover their tables with paper (doubles as a giant coloring sheet for kids) after sanitizing. I love Over The Falls for their fresh food, touch less bathroom doors, cleanliness, and friendly staff. The Lemon Tree Cafe is an amazing option for anyone with dietary restrictions, but at this time they only offer outdoor seating.

A Walk Around H.L. Miller Park and then to “The Giving Fence”

After lunch we took a walk through H.L. Miller park before stopping by The Giving Fence. The park doesn’t have any playground equipment and is pretty small, but it has more than enough for the imagination of a child to run wild. There are three bridges, one bench swing, and paved walking trails throughout.

Giving back is important in this little town. The fence reads, “Take what you need free– leave what you can.”

It was the perfect time to teach my little one about giving to others and re-purposing. We picked out coats, hats, and gloves we have outgrown, washed them, and brought them to the fence on hangers. REMEMBER to place plastic bags over the tops of your jackets in case of rain. There is also a donation house for food. All sponsored by Wake Electric.

Last Stop : Bowling at Strike and Barrel (413 S Brooks ST)

I was HIGHLY impressed by Strike and Barrel. I’d advise making a reservation because they only have 4 lanes of bowling open to keep things socially distant. 

@strikeandbarrel

Safety Measures include:

Protective screens between bowling lanes, masks worn at all times when not eating or drinking, hand sanitation centers set up throughout, double sanitation on tables and shoes.

They also have a full bar, arcade, and a food menu. We had such a fun time here and I can’t wait to go back! The staff was very friendly and helpful. $2 dollar games on Tuesdays!

Well, that’s all! We had a full day, learned some history, ate lots of great food, experienced new things, and felt very safe and welcomed in every business we entered. Downtown Wake Forest gets a 10 out of 10 from our little family 🙂

Experience Based Gift Guide for Kids in the Triangle

It’s pretty clear we are passionate about high quality experiences for families and kiddos. We know you are trying to think of a polite way to tell your loved ones *not to send boat loads of toys for the holidays this year and are hopeful this gift guide can be a great way to let people know how they can show your family love this holiday season.

It’s easy to shop local when we have SO many amazing experiences for families and kiddos in the Triangle. Here is a great list that hopefully checks everyone off your list!

FOR THE FAMILY…

Membership to Marbles Kids Museum

Membership to the NC Zoo

Membership to the Museum of Life and Sciences

FOR THE ONE CLIMBING YOUR FURNITURE…

Tree Runner Raleigh Adventure Park

Triangle Rock Club: Monthly Membership or 10 visit punch card (locations in Morrisville, Durham, and Raleigh)

Defy Raleigh (trampoline park)

Tree Runner Raleigh Adventure Park: Season Pass or 10 pack visit

Bounce U Apex: Private Play Date

FOR THE LITTLE TOT…

Bumble Brews Cary

Alara and Zane: Gift Card, Private Play Experience, or Open Play Pass

Little Doodles Play Cafe: Annual Family Membership or Open Play Pass

Bumble Brews: Open Play Pass or Monthly Membership

The Playhouse Children’s Museum: Open Play Pass

FOR THE MERMAIDS…

Goldfish Swim School: Swim Lessons

FOR THE ONE SINGING THE FROZEN SOUNDTRACK ON REPEAT…

Notasium: Private Play, Open Play, or Music Class Membership

FOR THE BUDDING FRIDA KAHLO…

Color Freak Ninja Private Art Class

Klaystation: Gift Card

Color Freak Ninja: Private Art Class

Color Me Mine Cary: To Go Painting Kit or Gift Card

Wine and Design: Art Buzz Kids Class

Keep your eyes peeled because we are currently working on a #shoplocal gift guide for all things kids and family!

Fall Hikes for Families in the Triangle

This pandemic has ruined a lot of plans for families but one thing it can not ruin is time spend outside in nature! We live in such a beautiful, diverse part of the state with SO many nature preserves, parks, and green ways to explore.

We’ve rounded up a quick list of *just some* of our favorite hikes in the Triangle to see all the colorful leaves and signs of the changing seasons.

It’s important to note that some of these hikes will be very crowded on the weekends. Your best bet is to visit during the week or arrive early on the weekends to avoid the crowds.

Durant Nature Preserve – Lakeside Trail (1.08 miles)

@reneemj.miller

Click here for a very easy to read map of the trail system.

The 1 mile Lakeside Trail (the name of the trail, but also a great description) loops you around the beautiful lake while crossing through hardwood and pine forests, past wildflowers and ferns, and through wetlands. Durant Nature Preserve also has a playground, fishing dock, butterfly and bird garden, and a nature play garden (near the welcome kiosk).

This preserve also hosts some amazing seasonal programs. Click here to see if there are any programs happening during your visit.

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area – Occoneechee Mountain Loop Trail (2.2 miles)

@peterdoesparks

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area is located in Hillsborough, a quick drive from anywhere in the Triangle and offers a wonderful escape into nature. The Occoneechee Mountain Loop Trail offers you views from the highest point in Orange County while also getting an opportunity to explore a diverse ecology landscape. This hike is the most challenging of the trails on this list so we recommend this hike to those of you with older kiddos or younger ones with the help of hiking backpack.

Click here to access the trail map.

William B. Umstead State Park – Pott’s Branch Trail (1.3 miles)

@kristylaughs

Umstead is a well known go-to when you’re needing an escape to nature. The Potts’s Branch Trail is the a great distance to test little hikers and meanders over three streams that flow into Crabtree Creek. This trail starts and ends at the state park Welcome Center at the Glenwood Ave entrance.

Click here to access the trail map.

Lake Johnson Park – East Loop (2.8 miles)

@dutchieinthesouth

This trail is the longest but also most accessible because it is a paved trail around Lake Johnson. This trail is stroller, bike, and scooter friendly! Join the education team Saturday November 14th from 1-3pm for a fun, interactive activity to learn why leaves change colors. Sign up here.

Click here to access the trail map and see where to park.

Duke Forest – Shepherd Nature Trail (0.8 miles)

@jojoannez

The Shepherd Nature Trail is a quick hike that offers a great introduction to Duke Forest. Throughout the loop visitors will encounter signs that engage and educate young learners about the transformations that have occurred in the forest.

Click here to access the trail map.

Click here for GPS directions.

Seeing pictures from your adventures is one of our favorite things so please tag @trianglefamiliesexplore on IG and share your family fun!