Big Time Family Fun in Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh serves up big city fun with a side of Southern charm. Check out this guide to some of the best parks, museums, and activities that this city has to offer.

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Raleigh, North Carolina may be a big city, but it’s packed full of small-town southern charm. It’s a great spot to take your family on a fun-filled family vacation. If you want to make sure your kids stay too happy to complain, don’t miss these spots.

The Perfect Park

Enjoying the great weather in the City of Oaks? Take the kids outside to burn off some energy at Sassafras All Children’s Playground. Located in Laurel Hill’s Park, this huge play structure welcomes kids of all abilities and has plenty of accessible ramps, decks, slides, and sensory activities. Looking for a park with a dedicated preschool area or a section for sand and water play? Head to Pullen Park instead.

Museum Minded

If the kiddos need a reminder that learning can be fun, be sure to add Raleigh’s Marbles Kids Museum to your vacation bucket list. It’s technically a museum, but the motto is “Play matters.” A visit just might earn you Parent-of-the-Year status.

Marbles includes indoor and outdoor exhibits for hands-on play, like a greenhouse, water play station, art loft, and a dedicated toddler area — Toddlers Hollow — for kids three and under. Good luck getting anyone back to the hotel before closing time!

Can’t get enough of great museums? Try the Museum of Natural Sciences, easy to spot with its giant, 70-foot-diameter globe that’s home to a three-story theater. The whole family is sure to enjoy exhibits like Natural Treasures, Mountains to the Sea, and Coastal NC Overlook, where you can see a massive blue whale skeleton. It’s huge!

The Museum of Natural Sciences’ modern glass building with a large globe structure is hit by the early morning sun in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Indoor Adventure

Looking for an indoor hangout on a hot summer day? Head to Raleigh’s Adventure Landing, a family entertainment center exploding with fun. Spend an afternoon at the 75-game arcade, and take turns blasting each other during a game of laser tag. When it cools off later in the day, head outdoors for go-karts, mini-golf, and batting cages. If the kids aren’t into the arcade, let them bounce around during open play hours at Coconut Charlie’s Bump N Bounce.

Grub Out

Brick front with signage of Laotian restaurant, Bida Manda, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Eat your heart out at some of the best kid-friendly restaurants Raleigh has to offer. Take the family to breakfast at The Morning Times for pancakes, Belgian waffles, and trendy favorites like avocado toast. For lunch, head to Big Ed’s City Market Restaurant for an authentic taste of Raleigh or to Metro Diner for kid-approved plates like pigs in a blanket.

For dinner, mix it up with an elegant Laotian meal at Bida Manda, or dive into custom burgers and a locally sourced menu at Village Grill. Skip dessert at the restaurant at least once, so you can treat the kids to specialty popsicles at Locopops for a lasting memorable vacation moment.

Have family faves of your own from a recent Raleigh trip? Share your can’t-miss spots with us on our Facebook page.

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