Things to Do

The Absolute Best Ways to Enjoy Nature in Raleigh


We’re lucky that Raleigh is located in such a magnificently gorgeous area! It’s easy to make the most of the city’s natural beauty, whether you prefer jogging the greenways or flying kites. Here are our favorite ways you can enjoy nature in Raleigh.


Bird Watch at Shelley Lake Park

Grab your binoculars and maybe some stale bread and head to Shelley Lake Park. The 53-acre lake has three miles of smooth paved trails that are perfect for walking, biking and jogging. Ducks and geese tend to congregate alongside the boardwalk, so it’s an ideal park for bird watching. The ducks love to be fed near the big bridge!


Stop and Smell the Roses at Raleigh Little Theatre

Hidden away beside Raleigh Little Theatre is the charming Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden. Have a quiet lunch surrounded by the stunning flowers or stroll through the garden for a relaxing break from the city. The garden offers a year-round display of roses, trees and perennials.


Hike at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

Get some exercise while enjoying nature in Raleigh at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. The hiking trails are fairly easy so you can take them at your own pace. Keep an eye out for birds and other wildlife along the trails. You might even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle around the lake!


Stroll Through JC Raulston Arboretum

JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally-acclaimed garden where you’ll find one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants in the Southeast. The arboretum is home to a wide variety of cold hardy temperate zone plants that thrive in our area. Every flower, shrub and tree is labeled so you can find them later at your local nursery.


Go On a Treetop Adventure at Blue Jay Point County Park

Gain a new perspective on nature in Raleigh at Go Ape! in Blue Jay Point County Park. The ziplining treetop adventure course runs through the 236-acre park and will test your strength, stamina and courage while taking you on a ride you won’t soon forget. The zip lines get progressively higher and longer and provide breathtaking views of the park.


Travel the American Tobacco Trail by Horseback

The Best Places to Enjoy Nature in Raleigh


You can experience the 22-plus miles of the American Tobacco Trail by foot and bike, but one of the best ways to enjoy nature in Raleigh is to explore it by horseback. The trails are scenic pathways that once supported train trestles. They currently run through the City of Durham, the towns of Cary and Apex, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers land at Jordan Lake and other areas of Durham, Wake and Chatham counties.


Have a Picnic at Pullen Park

Plenty of shade and soft grass make Pullen Park the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic. Located next to North Carolina State University, the city park has a snack bar serving local foods, in case you want a little something extra to go with your meal. There are a number of amusement rides as well to keep everyone entertained, young and old.


Practice Your Photography Skills at the WRAL Azalea Garden

Find a little peace and quiet in the heart of the city, at the WRAL Azalea Garden. Situated behind the WRAL television studios and between the Main and Centennial campuses of North Carolina State University, the gardens are at their most brilliant in the spring when the azaleas are in full bloom, but any time is a great time to visit! You’ll spot Instagram-worthy shots everywhere you look thanks to the beautifully-landscaped plants, fountains and walkways.


Fly a Kite at Lake Crabtree County Park

The open field at Lake Crabtree County Park is a kite flyer’s dream! Bring your favorite flying contraption and let it loose above the 215-acre park. It’s also a popular spot for picnicking and geocaching, and the six miles of shaded trails around the lake offer scenic views and gentle climbs and descents.


We hope that these places and activities help you connect with nature in Raleigh! Where do you like to go to enjoy the great outdoors in our area?  If you find yourself in Midtown, be sure to stop by and say let us know! We’re always interested in hearing other recommendations, and we’d be more than happy to show you around. You can also schedule a tour online at or give us a call at (919) 800-0619.



Hope to see you soon!



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