Interested in Raleigh?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Raleigh each week.
Other recent lists by LiveSmall,TravelBig:
Lists you may be interested in:
Don't go to Raleigh on business. Take the family.
Double Tree Guest Suites is a business hotel, but a great home base for a family. It has a pool that is both indoor and outdoor, a lake with paddleboats for rent, and basketball and volleyball courts (balls at the front destk), not to mention the free chocolate chip cookies. There was a Sonic, too, or some sort of burger place close by, so we could easily get something to take back to the room for dinner. We stayed here the nights my sister's family was out of town.
Since you don't get breakfast at the Double Tree, head to Elmo's Diner. It's not a must-do, but it's a fun down-home kind of place. We saw it featured on Rachel Ray's $40-a-day show. Couldn't force myself to try the grits, though...
This place has go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag, and batting cages. Our son loved it, especially since Uncle Ken took the day off from work and played with us.
Pullen Park has a big playground, train ride, and carousel for the young ones. We went to swim at the aquatic center, which has a reasonable day rate, a pool for kids and lap lanes. There are also tennis courts and a man-made lake with paddle boats.
Another great place for kids, with three minature golf courses, laser tag, batting cages, a huge arcade and three go-kart courses, rides, and play areas.
The town my sister lives in. Cute little (one street) downtown with antiquey, boutiquey type shops. In a suburban Apex shopping mall, there's a chain kind of restaurant called Sparks American Sports Grill that on Friday nights has a roving magician. He comes to your table and does his tricks there (give him a few dollars for a tip). A little cheesy and the food is average, but our son was entertained. I was more interested in a Greek restaurant in the same mall, but couldn't convince anyone.
This establishment is about a half hour away in Sanford. Nothing much of a town, but this is a cute little lunch/tea place in an old house. You can get real Carolina barbeque, East or West I forget (the kind with vinegar, not barbeque sauce) and sweet tea here. Great broccoli salad, the kind with red onions, bacon, walnuts and raisins.
You can spend a few hours here, especially if your kids would like an insect house and butterfly conservatory. Our son preferred SciWorks (see below), but we spent a few hours here.
The SciWorks children's science museum is worth a day trip to Winston-Salem, about 1 1/2 hours away. We spent 5 hours here and could have stayed longer. The exhibits are really hands-on and physical. In fact, that night when we got back to my sister's, our son was crying because his legs hurt from all the activity. (Hmmmm... is this a good recommendation?) Kids love the two otters, Mollie and Ollie, in the outdoor nature exhibit -- they're very personable and ready to put on a show. If you're a member of another children's science museum, you can get in free on a reciprocal agreement.
Old Salem is a restored village with costumed guides, kind of like a mini-Williamsburg. It's a nice walk-around kind of town; even the cemetery is pretty.
The Old Salem Tavern makes a nice atmospheric place for dinner, a little pricey except for their old-time specialty, which is chicken pot pie. It's a lot like the Revolutionary War-era restaurants in the Northeast where we live. Service isn't fast, so bring something for the kids to do.
You can get a ticket to Old Salem that includes the children's museum. It's especially good for young children, with a climbing structure, marble run, secret tunnel, etc.
If you can get away with your sister, without the kids, this is a nice adult stroll in a Princeton-like town, half hour away. You might find something going on at UNC. My sister and I went to a birdhouse exhibit at the Carolina Inn (nice old hotel), which sounds odd, but they were beautiful (and a little quirky). Had lunch in an old burnished wood and booths kind of place; can't remember the name of it, though.
Hillsborough looks to be about 40 mi. from Raleigh. We didn't get here, but it sounded interesting, with a reconstructed Indian settlement, Civil War history, old buildings, and a state park for hiking and recreation. You might give it a try.