Outdoor Destinations for Socially Distanced Fun

As social distancing continues, getting outside is a great way to experience a change of scenery. We’re lucky enough to live an in area with an abundance of great outdoor areas and easy access to nature. Not everything is open but I’ve included lists and regulations for Triangle area cities as well as some nice destinations. Make sure to be responsible and stay safe!

Parks and Greenways

Most parks and greenways are open throughout the area but some have special covid guidelines. I’ve included some information below and more details can be found at the links to different government sites.


Currently, in Raleigh the following are open:

  • General Park Open Space
  • Greenway Trails
  • Lakes (Lake Wheeler and Lake Johnson) – Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
  • Dog Parks
  • Skate Park and BMX Bike Track
  • Tennis Courts – Singles Play Strongly Encouraged
  • Disc Golf Courses
  • And more, view info here

The greenway system is a great way to run, bike or walk around the city and surrounding nature. You can find a map of the Capital Area Greenway System here.

Nature Preserve Parks are open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This includes the following: Durant Nature PreserveAnnie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature PreserveForest Ridge Park, and Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve.

Dorothea Dix Park (Raleigh)

Dorothea Dix is a great place to relax, play and take in nice views of downtown. It is also in phase 1 of being transformed into Raleigh’s premier park, more info here.

Dorothea Dix DTR


NC Museum of Art Park (Raleigh)

While the museum remains closed, the outdoors areas surrounding it are open. Take in nature as well as some amazing and wacky outdoor art displays on a beautiful day. The trails also connect to Umstead Park and Wade Avenue.

NCMA Art Park


Pullen Park (Raleigh)

Pullen Park is an easy place to get some fresh air if you live in or near downtown. Many of its facilities like the aquatic center are closed but the park and its tennis courts are open.

Pullen Park


Umstead State Park (Raleigh)

Umstead State Park is a gem. A 5,599 acre State Park in a city the size of Raleigh is almost unheard of. Luckily for us, government officials were wise enough to protect the land back in 1937. The park is a haven for hikers, runners, bikers and more. There are extensive trails, creeks and ponds open to the public.



Neuse River Greenway (Raleigh)

The Neuse River Greenway Trail is 27.5 miles of paved trail to the east of Raleigh. The trail offers scenic views of the Neuse River, winding boardwalk areas through wetlands, historical sights, interpretive signs, and agricultural fields. View a trail map here





Open in Durham:

  • Parks
  • Trails
  • Greenways
  • Tennis Courts
  • Disc Golf Courses
  • Basketball Courts
  • Skate Park at Durham Central Parks 
  • Dog Parks
  • And more, full list here

You can find a map of Durham greenways here.

Eno River State Park (Durham)

Eno River State Park is an expansive area that is perfect for all sorts of activities. The river is known to have great fishing, hiking and swimming. There are entrances throughout the winding park, some very well marked and some hidden away in neighborhoods. Make sure to check the site for details as there are some closures in the park.

Eno River


Chapel Hill

Open in Chapel Hill:

  • Outdoor Parks Facilities (open dawn to dusk) more info
  • Parks, trails, greenways and dog parks with posted safe play guidelines
  • Restrooms at parks
    • Hours limited to 12 noon – 8 p.m.
  • Individual picnic table and bench use with appropriate physical distancing
  • Tennis and pickleball courts
  • Skate park
  • Disc golf course
  • Outdoor inline hockey rink
  • More info here

Greenway Map

Carolina North Forest (Chapel Hill)

Carolina North Forest’s website describes it as “a tranquil natural oasis in which to recreate, relax, and enjoy a respite from the area’s ever-changing urban landscape.” It is 750 acres of forest not far from both downtown Chapel Hill and Carrboro.


Haw River State Park (Near Chapel Hill)

There is plenty of space to fish and hike along the river. Trails and restrooms are open at The Summit and Iron Ore Belt access points.

Haw River



Greenways, parks and restrooms within parks are open but playgrounds are closed. More information is available here.

Map of Cary greenways and parks 

Bond Park (Cary)

Cary’s largest park, Bond Park has a lake, walking trails, several sports facilities, a senior center, a community center and more. Its giant size makes it easy to find a nice quiet spot all to yourself.

Hemlock Bluffs (Cary)

Hemlock Bluffs is a protected natural area featuring The Stevens Nature Center, hiking trails, Swift Creek and lots of local wildlife.

Hemlock Bluffs


Have fun and make sure to bring water!