Lauren Barrett

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…