Top 12 Raleigh Outdoor Activities

Friends enjoy Raleigh Outdoors ActivitiesIt’s typically sunny and warm in the City of Oaks, making it the perfect destination to soak up the sun and enjoy the great outdoors. From hiking to outdoor breweries, we’ve put together an incredible list of Raleigh outdoor activities that will keep you busy from sun up to sundown.


1. Walk the Gardens

There is nothing more magical than taking a walk through a garden with local blooms on a beautiful day. Raleigh has a few gardens that are worth the visit and will brighten up your day.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens

The memorial gardens offer 2.4-acres of lush greenery, local blooms, and a life-size sculpture of Dr. King. The gardens have paved pathways for you to explore, a picnic shelter available to rent, and a water monument symbolizing the civil rights movement. 

JC Raulston Arboretum at NCSU

The JC Raulston Arboretum is a part of the North Carolina State University campus and open to the public. The arboretum is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, November through March, and from 8 am to 8 pm, April through October. Throughout the Arboretum, you can expect to see many different gardens including the horticultural garden. Guided tours are available every Sunday at 2 pm, March through October–donations are suggested.

Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden

Certainly, a sight to be seen from spring until fall, the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden is overflowing with gorgeous seasonal blooms and over 60 different varieties of roses. Admission into the garden is free and can be visited from sunrise to sunset.

2. Art in the Park

An outdoor activity in Raleigh that art enthusiasts will love is the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park. This art park is part of the North Carolina Museum of Art and is filled with both permanent and temporary exhibits from artists all over the world. The most striking art installment in the larger-than-life rings, titled Gyre. The park is free for all to enjoy and is open from dusk until dawn.

3. Hike

Who doesn’t love immersing themselves in nature? Raleigh has some of the best hiking around including trails that are paved and unpaved.

Neuse River Greenway Trail

The Neuse River Greenway is a 27.5-mile paved trail that is part of the Mountains-to-Sea trail that runs throughout North Carolina. On this trail, you can expect to see historical sites, wetlands, and fauna. 

William B. Umstead State Park

Another great place to hike is the William B. Umstead State Park. This state park offers 8 different trails specifically for hiking from easy to moderate in difficulty. Other outdoor activities that can be enjoyed within the William B Umstead State Park are boating, fishing, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking. 

4. Picnic in the Park

Pack up the charcuterie, grab a blanket, and head to one of Raleigh’s parks for a perfect afternoon. Whether you want to spend some quality time with a loved one or just enjoy some “me” time, there’s really nothing better than a picnic outside.

Pullen Park

Pullen Park has some great areas to picnic including covered shelters available to rent. Find a patch of grass in the sun or shade and picnic away! Other activities you can partake in at Pullen park include carousel rides, pedal boat rentals, playgrounds, local theatre, and tennis.

Nash Square

One of our favorite things to do in downtown Raleigh is to picnic in Nash Square. Nash Square is a 4-acre park with a great view of downtown Raleigh and close to favorite downtown shops and eateries.

5. Rent a Kayak or Paddleboard

Get a little tan and glide across the beautiful waters of Raleigh in a kayak or paddleboard!

Lake Raleigh

StateView Hotel’s backyard is the beautiful Lake Raleigh and we may be biased but, there is no better place to enjoy a day on the water than here. Grab a kayak or SUP rental from REI Outdoor Activities, or better yet take one of their guided tours!

6. Golf

Have you ever had the pleasure of golfing the greenways in Raleigh, NC? There are a few great courses to book a tee time at while you’re visiting the City of Oaks.

Lonnie Poole Golf Course

Lonnie Poole is within walking distance to StateView Hotel and is an excellent collegiate course. This course offers something for all skill levels and is a training course for future PGA golfers. Book a tee time at Lonnie Poole Golf Course today!

7. Downtown Walking Tour

Take a guided or self-guided walking tour of downtown Raleigh and get to know the history of our charming city. Raleigh Walking Tours offers “pay-what-you-want” public guided tours. You simply show up at the location and starting time and walk with your guide for 90 minutes as he or she tells you more about the city. If you’re looking for a self-guided tour GPS My City has a list of a variety of sightseeing walks you can embark on by yourself or with a few friends.

8. Outdoor Breweries

Raleigh is known for its local breweries and what’s better than a cold beer on a sunny day? A few of our favorite Raleigh breweries with outdoor-sipping areas include Cotton House Craft Brewers and Oak City Brewing Company.

Cotton House Craft Brewers

Enjoy a craft beer or two while rocking in a rocking chair on an open porch at Cotton House Crafter Brewers. It’s truly something epitome of slow southern living.

Oak City Brewing Company

Oak City Brewing not only offers a variety of local and regional brews, but it also has a dog-friendly beer garden too!

9. Zipline

Adventure is waiting for you in the treelines! Raleigh has several ziplining attractions that are ready to give you all the thrills you’re seeking.

Xtreme Park Adventures

Xtreme Park Adventures offers 10 ziplines for you to ride with packages starting at $29. Add extras to your experience like a GoPro helmet cam to catch your exhilarating ride.

Treerunner Raleigh Adventure Park

Treerunner not only offers ziplining, but it also offers treetop obstacle courses for hardcore outdoor enthusiasts. Their obstacle tickets start at $42 for adults and $35 for kids 7-13 years old.

10. Outdoor Concert

What’s better than gazing up at the stars while swooning to your favorite band? Grab tickets to your favorite band at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park. This outdoor amphitheater located at Walnut Creek hosts LIVE music from amazing bands like The Black Keys, Jimmy Buffett, Thomas Rhett, and Chris Stapleton.

11. Hang by the Pool

Beat the heat and take a dip in an outdoor pool at StateView! Our outdoor pool and pool deck make for the perfect lazy afternoon in the spring or summer. Bask in the sun poolside or nosh on something delicious from Flask & Beaker, our onsite restaurant, at one of the poolside tables with umbrellas.

12. Head to the Fair

The North Carolina State Fair has all you need to enjoy a day outdoors. There’s rides, shows, contests, vendors, and of course our favorite, fair food! The state fair is typically held in October and tickets are $13 for adults and $7 for kids 6-12 at the gate.