Outdoor Summer Bucket List with 20+ Activities for Raleigh-Area Families

Outdoor Summer Bucket List with 20+ Activities for Raleigh-Area FamiliesSummer break is upon us and it is officially time to spend your days enjoying the beautiful outdoors here in the Triangle area. 

Living in North Carolina provides us with so much opportunity for variety when it comes to outdoor activities. I love making bucket lists for my son and me, filled with activities for us to check-off throughout the season. I allow him to get involved by helping me decorate the list then hanging it on the wall. I then let him assist me in picking which activity he would like to do, within reason, as some activities take more planning (i.e. day trips).

Check out my Outdoor Summer Bucket List with over 20+ activities that you and your little ones can enjoy.  

1. Dance in your favorite Sprinkler Park or Sprayground!

Pack a lunch, flip flops, and a towel and head out to one of these spraygrounds – Jack Smith Park, Fuquay Varina Splash Pad, or Taylor Street Park Sprayground.

2. Play Mini Golf

3. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is perfect for kids starting at walkers all the way through, well, adults! You can make the hunt more difficult the older your children are and maybe expand it to new areas outside of your yard/neighborhood. Grab some brown bags from the dollar store and use a marker to make a list of hunt items on the outside. Once your child finds that item and puts it into the bag, assuming it will fit/can be put inside, mark it off the list. You can even grab a toy from the Target Dollar Section to reward them with if they find all the items. Need some ideas on scavenger hunt items? Rocks, a certain type/color flower, leaves, acorns, pine cones, clover, feather, etc.

4. Take your Arts & Crafts Outside – paint rocks!

5. Day Trip to the Beach

North Carolina offers some of the best beaches and luckily for us in central NC, they are driveable for a quick day trip (i.e. Wilmington). Pack your towels, beach toys and chairs, a cooler with drinks and a picnic lunch to ensure you maximize your time in the sand. You can even build an outdoor scavenger hunt into your beach trip by trying to find various types of shells, sharks teeth, and other beachy items!

6. Make S’Mores

7. Check out the local or State Farmer’s Market

8. Visit a Theme Park (or water park)

Carowinds is 3-hour drive south that will offer a big day of fun for both adults and kids. Arrive shortly before they open to beat the crowds and enjoy the day experiencing the thrills.

9. Go Berry Picking

10. Outdoor Concerts

A lot of the cities/towns around us offer a spring/summer outdoor concert series. Park West Village (Morrisville), Town of Fuquay-Varina, and the Midtown Beach Music (North Hills) to name a few. A simple google search will lead you to all the options. Most typically have food trucks or restaurants within walking distance, along with some children activities or space for them to run that you can make a family night of it.

11. Picnic at a Local or State Park

12. Take an early morning/evening walk

13. Outdoor Summer Movies

Enjoy a family-friendly movie under the stars at the NC Museum of Art during their Summer Film series. There are even special themed activities that families can enjoy during these movie nights!

Want to beat the heat? There are $1 and $4 summer movie showings curated just for little ones.

Regal offers $1 kids movies every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at 10am beginning June 18th. Regal just released their 2019 schedule and there are some great movies being shown this season that I am looking forward to taking my son to. Various theaters across the area are participating so many sure to check the Regal website to find out which theater closest to you is participating, and which movies they are showing each week.

AMC has joined the summer movie party with their Summer Movie Camp. AMC will be offering kid-friendly movies on Wednesday mornings for $4 +tax at select theaters. Even though the price is a bit higher than Regal, the $4 price includes a ticket and KidPack (a kid-sized popcorn, kid-sized fountain drink, and a pack of AMC Frooti Tootis)!

14. Attend a Festival/Fair

15. Pullen Park (or visit three new parks you’ve never been to before)

A great way to spend the day that offers everything from playgrounds, train, food/snack options, paddle boats, walking trails and so much more. Tickets for attractions such as the carousel and train are $1.50. If you have been to Pullen Park, you can go outside your comfort zone and find three parks you have never visited before. You never know, you could find a hidden gem that becomes your favorite new park!

16. Plant A Garden

17. Attend a Baseball Game

Whether it is the Carolina Mudcats, Durham Bulls or the Holly Springs Salamanders, baseball is part of America’s past time and shouldn’t be skipped when it comes to being included on your summer bucket list. The Salamanders or Mudcats might be the more affordable option for younger children who might not make it through a whole game. Grab your baseball glove, a couple of hot dogs and take your seat to enjoy the game and try to grab a fly ball!

18. Fly a Kite

19. Visit the Zoo

The NC Zoo in Asheboro is an all-day affair, but not one to be missed. Not only will you see a wide variety of animals there is also a kids zone – make sure to pack extra clothes – boat rentals, a carousel, hiking trails, and a ropes course. Another zoo that I recently discovered and wholeheartedly believe should not be missed is the Aloha Safari Zoo in Cameron, NC. Their mission is to create a loving home for unwanted, mistreated, and injured animals. This zoo is definitely more interactive as the peacocks roam freely and you can buy feed bags that can be given to a variety of animals. You can also pay $1 to feed the extremely friendly giraffes some carrots. They offer a safari (included in the price of admission) to show you the animals further back in the sanctuary and even have a beautiful white tiger. 

20. Buy from the Ice Cream Truck

21. Run in the Sprinkler/Have a Water Balloon Fight

22. Family Game Night

23. Make Fresh Lemonade and Setup a Lemonade Stand

24. Bake Summer Treats and Gift them to Neighbors.

25. Visit a New-to-you Ice Cream Shop.


What outdoor summer activities are your favorites in and around Raleigh? Share with us in the comments below. 

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