Plan the perfect family weekend in the Triangle :: WRAL.com

Are you looking for an incredible weekend to spend with your family or friends? If you live in The Triangle, look no further than your backyard!

With so many wonderful things to do in The Triangle, you can plan a day trip or multi-day stay without going very far.

Keep reading for our guide to planning the perfect friend or family trip in The Triangle!

Step one: who’s coming?

First, take a tally of the people involved. This includes knowing how many children and their ages. Knowing who’s going will help decide which activities to partake in.

While there are many things to do as a family in NC, some activities are better for younger kids, while others are better for older kids. Plus, there are some adult-only activities. Once you know who is tagging along, you can start planning.

Step two: day trip or staycation?

Next, you need to decide if you want to plan a day trip or a staycation. Day trips are great to reconnect with family and take a short break from the regular hustle and bustle of life.

But staycations are also excellent for a long weekend so you can participate in more activities. Staycations help you feel like you’re farther away from home than you really are.

If you want to plan a staycation, you need to pick a hotel to stay at. The Triangle has plenty of hotels to offer. Refer to your list of attendees to choose the best hotel.

Hotels for couples

If only you and your spouse plan a staycation, consider staying at a higher-end hotel in the Triangle.

One suggestion is the 21c Museum Hotel Durham. This hotel is in the heart of Durham and occupies the history Hill Building. While it boasts a fantastic boutique hotel, it also has a contemporary art museum, cultural civic center, and the Counting House restaurant.

21c Museum Hotel Durham hosts regular culinary and artistic events, which you won’t find at any other hotels in the area. You can get a room for just $150/night by booking online.

Another suggestion is the Umstead Hotel and Spa. This Cary hotel is the top-rated hotel in all of North Carolina! The Umstead has a state-of-the-art spa that’s over 14,000 square feet. It’s the place to go for a quiet, romantic weekend.

Manicured grounds surround the hotel and the restaurant, Herons, uses locally sourced ingredients to provide the freshest food.

Hotels for families

In the Triangle, you’ll find all the well-known hotel chains from across the country. This includes:

Fairfield Inn

Hampton Inn

Hilton hotels

Holiday Inn Express

Hyatt hotels

Marriott hotels

Radisson hotels

Sheraton hotels

Wyndham hotels

If you and your family have a favorite hotel you always stay in together, you’re bound to find it in the Triangle. These hotels offer spacious rooms and a swimming pool to entertain kids.

Plus, you can choose a hotel close to the activities you want to do.

Step three: choose your activities

If you’re planning a day trip, know that you’ll only be able to engage in one or two activities. You don’t want to overbook yourselves and feel stressed out. After all, it’s supposed to be fun!

You can fit in many more activities for those who have a few days off. Let’s look at some of the best activities The Triangle has to offer.

Museums

The Triangle has many museums for families to visit. Some include:

Carolina Basketball Museum

Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh)

Imagination Station Science Museum

Marbles Kids Museum

Mordecai Historic Park

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Museum of Life and Science

Nasher Museum of Art

North Carolina Central University Art Museum

North Carolina Museum of Art

North Carolina Museum of History

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

With so many options, it’s not easy to choose. These are some of our favorites.

The Marbles Kids Museum offers several interactive and hands-on exhibits that encourage experimenting and play. Located in Raleigh, it’s a favorite for younger kids.

The Museum of Life and Science is near Durham. It has an interactive science park with one of the largest bitterly conservatories on the East Cost. Guests can also see rescued black bears, lemurs, and red wolves. It’s one of the most popular museums for families.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the most-visited museum in NC. Visitors of all ages can enjoy permanent and special exhibits. Get up close with nature by seeing 67-million-year-old dinosaurs and more than 1.7 million other specimens. The best part, admission is free!

If you love art, check out one of the many art museums. These may not be the best for young kids, but older kids and adults will appreciate the various collections.

Connect with nature

If you thought the Triangle has a lot of museums, wait until you see the nature it has to offer! First, of course, you can visit the North Carolina Zoo, which is just outside the Triangle near Asheboro. The Zoo has more than 1,800 animals roaming on 2,600 acres.

If you want something more low-key, there are many parks and gardens to choose from, such as:

Eno River State Park

Gardens at Duke University

Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Historic Yates Mill County Park

JC Raulston Arboretum

Jordan Lake

Lake Crabtree County Park

Lake Johnson Park

Neuse River Greenway Trail

North Carolina Botanical Garden

Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Pullen Park

Eno River State Park has 24 miles of trails for hikers. Additionally, all the trails are well-marked for inexperienced hikers, but park maps are also available. Visitors love the Bobbitt Hole Trail best as it leads to a spot where water rushes over rocks.

Lake Johnson Park is a 150-acre lake with more than 300 acres of land. There are trails, picnic areas, concessions, and water sports available. In addition, the Park allows personal non-motorized boats into the lake for fishing.

Pullen Park is next to the main campus of North Carolina State University. It’s the oldest public park in NC and has several activities for families, including the 1911 Carousel and a mini-train. Strolling around the Park and NC State campus is relaxing and serene.

Yet, you can also enjoy the Pullen Arts Center, Pulled Aquatic Center, and the Theater in the Park when visiting.

You can find something for everyone when you choose to connect with nature in the Triangle.

Amusement parks and thrills

There are several amusement parks in the area for thrill-seekers to go to.

Frankie’s Fun Park and Adventure Landing have activities like:

An arcade

Batting cages

Bumper boats

Go-karts

Laser tag

Mini-golf

Galaxy Fun Park is similar, only indoor.

Urban Air Adventure Park in Raleigh has exciting activities like trampolines, virtual reality adventures, a Warrior course, and flipping bumper cars!

Go Ape Zipline and Treetop Adventure is a 236-acre park with hiking, fishing, ropes courses, and ziplining.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park is an all-walled trampoline court where you can play games like ultimate dodgeball or engage in freestyle jump.

These places are great for families as there are activities for everyone. But keep in mind, not all activities are suitable for young kids.

Other notable activities

If you have a high school student in your family, consider strolling through the many college campuses in The Triangle. It’s a great way to spend time with family and get valuable information about the universities.

You can also visit the North Carolina State Capitol building in Raleigh. The building still has its original 1840 furniture! The State Legislative Building and the Executive Mansion are close by.

For a truly local experience, visit the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh. It serves small and large NC farmers and has 30,000 square feet of space.

The market also has the Market Shoppes building. It’s more than 15,000 square feet of stalls and stores. You’ll find all the different types of products for sale here.

Activities for adults

For those traveling without kids, there are some great adult-only activities too. The Triangle now has more than 25 craft beer breweries.

In Cary, NC, you’ll find the Bond Brothers Beer Company. With more than 14 unique beers on tap, it is well-known to locals. Raleigh Brewing Company is also famous as the owner, Kristie Nystedt, was the first woman in NC to own a brewery.

No matter which breweries you choose, you really can’t go wrong with the massive selection of craft beers to try.

On April 22 and 23, the Brewgaloo event is back. It features craft breweries from across NC and local food trucks, vendors, and bands. The event is 21+ to attend Friday night and requires a previously purchased ticket. The event is free and open to the public on Saturday.

If you’re going to miss it, the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival in Cary is on August 5 and 6. It features more than 60 beers and 40 bourbons to attendees. Tickets are on sale now.

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