Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (2022)

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I love to explore places that are not overrun by tourists and stay under the radar while providing lots of great attractions and activities. If my husband hadn’t had a conference in Raleigh, NC, I would have not discovered it as a great family travel destination. The things that pop in your head one someone says “North Carolina” are the big tourist draws: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Outer Banks, Charlotte. But there are so many fantastic things to do in Raleigh with kids plus it is very laid back and affordable. I guarantee that you will love it and now that we thoroughly explored Raleigh I can share our detailed itinerary with you.

Things to do in Raleigh with kids – Day 1

It would be great if you could start your family vacation in Raleigh on a Saturday because currently Saturday is the only day when you can take Historic Raleigh Trolley Tour. Why is Historic Raleigh Trolley Tour is such a great ride with kids? First of all, it is a rare vintage mode of transport. Second of all, it is an educational tour which both kids and adults will enjoy. Finally, the guide points out things that you need to visit in town: attractions, restaurants, etc. So it is a great introduction to Raleigh. It departs at 10 am from Mordecai Historic Park and lasts for a about 50 minutes.

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After the trolley ride it is very convenient to take a guided tour of the Mordecai Historic Park which features an old plantation and a birthplace of the U.S. President Andrew Jackson. The tour is not too long, just under an hour. You will get into historic buildings that are normally closed to public and learn about life on a plantation 170 years ago or so. This is an excellent educational experience for kids in Raleigh – our guide was really great in answering my kids’ questions and generally bringing up topics that would be of interest to kids, like where and how kids lived on a plantation and you can also see kids toys in the main house that are from that time period.

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After lunch in the neighborhood it makes sense to explore the historic houses on Blount Street. The oldest and most beautiful are located on the stretch of Blount St. between Mordecai Historic Park and the business center of Raleigh. It is a very nice roughly 1 mile walk.

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Here you can see the North Carolina Governor’s mansion. You can even book the tour of the mansion but you need to do so at least 2 weeks in advance.

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Things to do in Raleigh with kids – Day 2

One of the best things to do in Raleigh with kids is spending half a day at the Pullen Park. Founded in 1887, Pullen Park is the 14th oldest amusement park in the world! It is very sweet and nostalgic and reminded us of the good old days. Here you can enjoy the rides from your childhood, such as a train ride, pedal boats, kiddy boats and a carousel. There is also a very big playground with a variety of structures in Pullen Park. The entrance to the park is FREE but you buy tickets for each individual ride.

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The whole park has lots of greenery and sufficient shade. My kids absolutely loved it. There is also a cafe in Pullen Park for a quick bite,

After lunch I suggest spending the second half of the day in North Carolina Museum of History. Part of the Smithsonian Institution, it offers fantastic exhibits that lead you through the history of the American South from American Indians to the pirates to the War for Independence to Civil War and up to the present time. In addition to kids-friendly exhibits the museum staff does cool presentations on various historic events. We sat through a 30 minutes of high energy presentation about the historic events that lead to the War for Independence. It was more of a theatrical performance than anything else. The presenter, one of the museum’s docents, was so entertaining he managed to make history sound so exciting, better than Harry Potter or Game of Thrones 🙂 We honestly did not want to leave.

Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (6)

And another great thing about North Carolina Museum of History is that the entrance is absolutely FREE.

Things to do in Raleigh with kids – Day 3

One of our favorite things to do in Raleigh with kids was visiting North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It is a big museum that consists of 2 buildings: Nature Exploration Center and Nature Research Center. You can spend the whole day there.

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In addition to various exhibits from dinosaurs to North Carolina’s natural habitats there are animal encounters, 3D movies, and hands-on experiences. Our most favorite hands-on experience was predicting a path of a hurricane in the weather station at the Nature Research Center.

The entrance to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is FREE but you have to pay for the shows in 3D movie theater.

Things to do in Raleigh with kids – Day 4

There is one attraction in Raleigh, North Carolina that is specifically built with kids in mind and you should not miss it – Marbles Kids Museum. It was so great that we visited it 2 days in a row! It is a paradise for hands-on imaginative play best suited for kids under 10 years old.

Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (8)

Also part of the Museum is Marbles IMAX. It is a state of the art 3D movie theater that shows excellent educational movies that are about 45-50 minutes in length. We saw 2 movies there: Superpower Dogs and Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest and both were fantastic.

Things to do in Raleigh with kids – Day 5

As I mentioned above we had to return to Marbles Kids Museum, the kids insisted on that and I agreed with them because it is indeed an excellent family attraction.

In the afternoon of Day 5 we stopped by Videri Chocolate Factory. Our family loves chocolate and so we couldn’t miss this family attraction in Raleigh. I talk about it in more details in my post – Raleigh Food Tour.

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You may have noticed that I did not cover every minute of our stay in Raleigh in this post. This is because we spent a portion of each day just strolling around town and tasting the great Southern cuisine. Southern food is an attraction in itself and deserves your full attention. Learn more in my Raleigh Food Tour article.

Additional Tips for Visiting Raleigh

Overall, we had a great time in Raleigh. It is very friendly, welcoming, down-to-Earth and easily walkable with kids. We did not even rent a car and you won’t need one if you stay in downtown Raleigh. So technically, you can take a plane, train or a bus to Raleigh and still feel free to explore. You can also save some money that way. For instance, bus from New York to Raleigh only costs $60.

The best hotels to stay in downtown are Sheraton and Marriott. Marriott is definitely a better option between the two but it is more expensive. To save money on your stay book through Booking.com:


If you do rent a car and can get further out, here are a few more great affordable things to do in Raleigh with kids:

  1. Municipal Rose Garden, 2703 Everett Ave, Raleigh, NC 27607 – FREE of charge
  2. North Carolina Museum of Art, which is a huge park with hiking trails and outdoor art installations – FREE of charge
  3. Historic Yates Mill County Park with a real working 18th century gristmill – FREE of charge

Here are some very useful and fun resources for you to help prepare for Raleigh family trip:

Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (10)Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (11) Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (12)Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (13) Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (14)Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (15)

Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (16)Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (17)

If you found this information about things to do in Raleigh with kids useful, please do me a little favor and share this information with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their travel plans. 🙂 Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I post many more cool photos and videos about our trips than I could include in a blog post, and organize some nice giveaways!

Want to explore North Carolina even further? Check out these fun things to do in Wilmington, NCor this cool tour of North Carolina lighthouses.

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Things to do in Raleigh with kids- complete 5 days itinerary | Family Road Trip Guru: Kid-friendly Travel Ideas (18)

Want to explore North Carolina even further? Check out these fun things to do in Wilmington, NCor this cool tour of North Carolina lighthouses.

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