In life you are lucky enough to meet a few kindred spirits along the way. I met Karen through my love of travel and blogging. She is intelligent, positive and extremely generous with her time and advice. When we were traveling to Europe with the twins she had incredible advice for traveling on a budget. She is an amazing mommy to three children, with her first in college. I can’t wait to meet her in the flesh – the next step in our wonderful friendship. I asked her to share some of her travel tips with us and here is what she chose to share. Please stop by her travel blog for some great ideas on traveling with your family.
Leigh, my dear friend, thank you for letting me share a post on your blog. While it’s titled “Top Five Reasons to Visit Raleigh” I might have titled it “Five Reasons Leigh and her family should visit me this summer.”
We moved to the Raleigh area twelve years ago because we liked the weather and the region’s proximity to the beach (two hours) and the mountains (two hours). We didn’t realize it at the time, but Raleigh has a whole lot more to offer. Dubbed the “Smithsonian of the South,” Raleigh offers young families tons of fun, free things to do . The North Carolina museums of art, history and natural science, all free, are located here!
Visit the stroller friendly Museum of Art, and then explore the museum’s park area. Covering more than 160 acres, the Museum of Art’s outdoor park space is incredible. Scenic paths offer great biking, hiking and dog walking. Statues and sculptures allow kids to experience art in a beautiful setting. Just imagine stepping inside a cloud chamber or picnicking by spinning works of art. Explore this outdoor treasure and feel the stress melt away…. Remember, it’s FREE!
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the Southeast’s largest natural history museum. Hands-on exhibits allow guests to explore North Carolina from the coastal areas to the mountains. Special programming designed just for preschoolers allows them to discover North Carolina at their level, using puppets, dress-up, puzzles and more. It’s not just for preschoolers, though. My kids, in high school, still enjoy a trip to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences!
Raleigh is blessed with fabulous weather year round. The city offers 4,300 acres of parkland and almost 1,400 acres of water to explore. Pullen Park is particularly fabulous for young families. The park provides lots of green space to run and play. The Pullen Park Playground is designed specifically for kids ages 2-12, offering universally accessible, distinct areas for each age group. My favorite place in the park is the Carousel, made of handcarved animals and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It offers more than 50 beautiful animals for kids to ride (cost $1). The park also offers a miniature train ride and a kiddie boat ride (cost for each $1). Pedal boat rides are available on the park’s lake. We enjoyed chasing the geese when we went! Phew! Pack a picnic lunch and spend a whole day here!
So far that’s three reasons (not including the fact that she gets to see me) Leigh should bring her family to Raleigh. But I have two more. Raleigh is a great value vacation! The downtown area is served by a free bus system, called the R Line. Come to Raleigh, park the car and ride free seven days a week! How easy is that? To make a visit even more affordable, the city and local businesses have partnered together to offer great vacation package discounts. As a budget family travel blogger, I am always looking for great deals — and Raleigh offers some of the best!
Leigh, have I convinced you and your precious boys (and hubby too) to come visit me this summer?
Karen, You didn’t even throw in your cooking skills to try to convince me 😉 If you are a good cook, and Raleigh has all these great kid friendly attractions, how could I say no? So let me know about those cooking skills!
Today’s post was written by Karen Dawkins at Family Travels on a Budget. Besides planning great value vacations for her family, she enjoys cooking, playing games and walking her dog, Daisy. Karen’s vacation ideas have been featured in Woman’s Day Magazine and the Homeschool Handbook as well as on several different websites. Read more of her great ideas on her website and add to the vacation conversation on Facebook.