Raleigh, NC Summer Bucket List

With the days getting longer and warmer, Summer is almost here, and I had the idea to create a Summer Bucket List just for Raleigh before we get there. That way I can prepare and really decide what I want to get done this summer, and I’ve determined which activities I want to prioritize. I have also added some out of town activities in case anyone is looking for day trips out of Raleigh this Summer.

Outdoor Fun

Here are a few of my go to Summer activities. I have also added a few popular activities that I plan to try out this Summer.

  1. Visit the Raleigh Road Outdoor Theatre
    • They have surprisingly great food, and they have a different food truck park on the lot each weekend. I wrote a whole blog post on the outdoor theater here.
  2. Lake day and Jordan Lake
    • You can rent Paddle Boards, Kayaks, and even boats or jet-skis that you can take out right from the rental place onto the water. They also have beach access points where you can go layout, grill, and swim for a few hours.
    • Raleigh also has so many smaller lakes scattered throughout the city that aren’t for swimming but you can go rent a paddle boat, kayak, or SUP for a few hours of fun.
  3. Go strawberry picking
    • This year we are heading up to Eno River Farm in Hillsborough for the strawberries, waffle cones, and amazing homemade ice cream.
  4. Pack a picnic to take to Pullen Park
    • I’ve been wanting to make a date out of this where we bring some art supplies to our picnic for the afternoon. That way we can eat, paint, and draw together while spending time outside.
  5. Go to the Farmer’s Market NC State Farmers Market
    • Get a lemonade
    • Eat at the N.C. Seafood Restaurant
    • Buy a house plant
    • Buy some produce and support local farmers
  6. Knights Play
    • They have a nice driving range there. It is $5 for a small bucket of balls (45 balls) and $9 for a large bucket of balls (90 balls). Hitting some balls is always a fun way to hangout while being outside and getting active.
  7. Watch movies on the lawn at Dix Park
    • This summer every other Saturday at Dix Park they will be showing different movies in the park. It’s free to come and watch, but you do need to reserve tickets online before going. They host different food trucks for the movie nights, so you can fill up before the movie. You can also bring you own food, and alcohol is allowed. Check out my full post on free stuff to do in Raleigh.
  8. Dine-out Downtown
    • Every Saturday night 5-9 PM April-June. Raleigh blocks off a street for dining outside with live music
  9. Moore Square Market
    • Every Sunday until October 3 from 11:00am-3:00pm. The Moore Square Market in Downtown Raleigh features vendors selling local produce, dairy, meat, and eggs. They also have booths selling art, crafts, and local products. Every other Sunday this Summer they are having outdoor brunch at the market as well.

Summer Festivals

Here’s a list of the festivals in Raleigh you will definitely find me at this Summer.

  1. Tacos ‘N Taps – June 26
  2. Raleigh’s International Food festival – August 28
  3. Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ (Cary, NC) – September 10-11

I have a full post of the NC Festivals going on this Summer coming soon!

Rain or Shine

A few activities that are great whether it’s rain or shine outside.

  1. Take an art class at the Sertoma Arts Center
    • I have been looking for a pottery class, which has been hard to find recently, and of course they sell out as soon as they open up. So for now, I am going to take an acrylics painting class at the Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh. I know that Cary’s community center also has similar classes that they host.
  2. Drive Shack with Friends
    • They have 3 levels to hit balls from with multiple games to keep things interesting amongst friends. They have a rooftop bar with a great selection of food and drinks. Also all of the bays that you hit balls from are covered, and in the cold Winter months they are heated.
  3. Raleigh Museums
    • Raleigh has a few large museums where admission is FREE, and they full of amazing history, knowledge, and culture!
Wrightsville Beach NC Sunrise

Day Trips

Here is my list of a few days trips that are on the books for this Summer season, and they are all within a couple hours of Raleigh. Some are great for quick day trips and other locations would be better for a long weekend depending on where you’re located and what all you have on your itinerary while you’re there.

  1. Visit Fort Fisher Beach
    • It is farther away than Wrightsville, but you don’t have to pay for parking, which is now $5 an hour at Wrightsville or $25 a day. They charge for parking from 9:00am-7:00pm every day. Dogs are also allowed at Fort Fisher year round.
    • Also make a quick trip down the road to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. They have a huge selection of sea life local to NC to checkout. They have Lorikeet enclosure where you can feed the birds, and they also got otters recently that I haven’t had the chance to see.
  2. Visit Topsail Beach for the day
    • Topsail is one of my favorite beaches in NC. It will typically be less crowded than other beaches in the area. Topsail also allows dogs all year.
  3. Head to Shackleford Banks to see the wild “Banker Ponies”.
    • You can catch a ferry to Shackleford banks from either Beaufort or Harker’s Island. Beaufort takes you to the West end of Shackleford Banks and the Harker’s Island ferry takes you to the East end. The East end is where you find awesome views of the Cape Lookout lighthouse in the distance. You can also bring leashed pets and camp on Shackleford Banks. The island is home to 100 “Banker Ponies” that you may get a closer look at during your visit. The shores of Shackleford Banks are also great for swimming and shelling while you’re there.
    • After you’re done visiting Shackleford Banks you’ll be very close to the beautiful beach at Emerald Isle, which I definitely recommend visiting before you leave for the day.
  4. Make Trip out to visit Boone and Blowing Rock
    • I have been to Asheville a few times already, but I have been told that Boone and it’s surroundings are worth the trip.
  5. Bar hopping in Downtown Wilmington
    • Downtown is right on the Cape Fear River where there are lots of bars and restaurants all in close proximity to each other and great for a night out.
    • My favorites are The Husk for beers and hanging out, then Bluepost for a friendly game of pool or arcade games, and then Goodfellas for dancing the night away.
  6. Visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro for the day
    • Tickets are $15 for the day, and depending on your location, the zoo is about and hour and a half away from Raleigh. This place is huge, so wear your walking shoes and
Downtown Wilmington on the Cape Fear River

I have quite a few most posts about Raleigh and Wilmington that I’ll be putting up this month and for the rest of the Summer, so stay tuned for more Raleigh, Wilmington, and North Carolina content!

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