Top Five Reasons to Visit Raleigh – Guest Post


  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.”

Photo credit: Raleigh CVB

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!

NC Museum of Art, Courtesy of GRCVB/

Photo Credit: Raleigh CVB

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!

NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Courtesy of GRCVB/

Photo credit: Raleigh CVB

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.

About Twin Mom

34 year old, born in a small steel town in South Africa, now living in a large Steel City in the US. Mother of twins and loving every moment.
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17 Responses to Top Five Reasons to Visit Raleigh – Guest Post

  1. Karen @ Family travels on a budget says:

    Shall I tempt you with my European chocolate cake (and Zumba for two), my beer braised beef pot roast that makes my kids literally lick the plate clean, or some of our southern BBQ?

    Compared to PGH, I would think the weather, fun stuff to do and TIME WITH ME is all you really need.

    Enjoy Tampa! Then start planning your next VACAY! XO

    • Twin Mom says:

      Karen the museum outdoor park sounds incredible. I love art and nature so that is perfect for me and sounds great for the kids. Also that carousel sounds magical – I seem to have developed a soft spot for them since our trip to Paris. The train rides would keep my boys occupied for hours.
      And that pot roast sounds incredible! I’m so hungry right now :) I can’t wait to experience this all first hand! Thanks for a wonderfully, enticing post xo

  2. Sara says:

    I want in on some of that southern BBQ too! 😉 Raleigh sounds like a wonderful place for a family getaway! We currently live in the Northeast but plan to move down to the Nashville area within the next year or so. Once we get settled I’m thinking a weekend getaway to Raleigh will be on our agenda!

  3. Sista says:

    Sista – I am sure after reading this post that you certainly WILL be going to Raleigh for an adventure, as it certainly does sound FABULOUS. I love the idea of art work in the parks and of course LOVE warmer hot weather, compared to London! I also love that you are only 2 hours from the beach….magical. I must admit that I didn’t even know there was a place called Raleigh….you learn something new every day :0)! The North Carolina Museum and Pullen park sound like so much fun. Karen I love a bargain, my fiancé calls me Bargain Betty. I will defiantly start following your blog, and thank you for a great blog while my sister was on vacation, it was a fun read.

    • I feel like I know you already from our comments on Leigh’s posts. It’s amazing how the internet shrinks the world and we can meet kindred spirits!!! :) If Budget Betty ever wants to share some London tips, I’d welcome a guest post. If you come to Raleigh, we’ll definitely make sure you have fun… and I’ll talk to the sun to make sure those Carolina blue skies make an appearance.

    • Twin Mom says:

      Maybe we should go together? What do you say Bargain Betty?? 😉

  4. Becky says:

    Yay for Raleigh!! This is an excellent take on the NC city!

  5. Makes me want to visit Raleigh! How far is that from the Smoky Mountains? Hmmm…bet it wouldn’t take that long to get there 😉 May be a good location to stop on the way to the beach!

  6. OUPA says:

    Yes. I’ll go for the pot roast as well. While in Pittsburgh I had the most fabulous pot roast
    sandwich. The next trip to the USA saw me rushing to the same area looking for the same tasty pot roast treat ,but could not find the shop. Bummer.

  7. This just in….

    The NC Museum of Natural Sciences just earned top honors for the first time ever for Most Visited NC Attraction in 2012! The Biltmore in Asheville held the honor the past NINE years! WOO HOO! The new addition seems to be catching attention across the nation! (SISTA, when are you crossing the pond? :D)

  8. I would love to see that part of the country! I also love Nashville. What a fun city.

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