Having lived in the Triangle area for almost 11 years now (Raleigh and Garner), I’ve visited a fair share of parks in Wake County, and in the last 3 years I’ve really ramped up our visits.
My son was born in 2019. The Pandemic hit in 2020. I’m also a teacher. So we’ve used those times when everything was shut down and the summer to explore all the Greenways and parks in Wake County. As an outdoor mom myself, I really want my son to be an outdoor kid.
I’ve gathered my list of the 11 best parks for Triangle area families to explore. I’ll list the parks and what they have to offer. The list is in no particular order.
1. Marla Dorrel Park - Cary, NC
I know I said that I didn’t put these parks in any order, but this might take the number one playground in the Triangle area.
That’s because it has one key word: shade. Almost the entire park is covered in shade which makes it perfect on a hot summer’s day.
Also, the park is conveniently located next to one of Cary’s many Greenways, so if you wanted to take a walk too, you could. It connects to another playground, MacDonalds Woods Park, too.
On the weekdays, this park doesn’t get crowded at all. In fact, we’ve almost had the park to ourselves a couple of times. My son played in the park’s gigantic sandbox, and I read a book. It was perfect.
The playground is divided into three big sections and every section is great in my opinion. One section seems to be for smaller children. The middle section is more for older kids even though my son (3) enjoys this section when it isn’t crowded. The last section seems to be for kids of all ages. This section has the sandbox, swings, and a very accessible musical playset.
There is also a section with a little hill with a dragon feature in it and a green space for kids to run around.
The park also features:
Lauren Barrett is a multi-passionate mom working to help all parents become their best selves and build positive relationships with their kids through mindful parenting. She has a degree in deaf education and a Master’s in Reading Education. She is a high school teacher of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing by day, a cross country coach by the afternoon, a writer/author by her son's nap times, and a full time mom to an amazing toddler. Lauren is a 2x author of the Add One-A-Day 30 Day Challenge and children's book, Henry's Hiccups, a blogger at Lauren Barrett Writes, and has been published on sites like A Fine Parent, Pregnant Chicken, Pop Sugar, Her View From Home, and Scary Mommy. She loves her faith, running, visiting MLB stadiums with her husband, chocolate, scrapbooking, pretending she would actually do well on the Amazing Race, re-watching The Office, listening to Bobby Bones, and helping out all moms. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, James, and son, Henry. Follow her on Instagram and get her free parenting checklists.
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