If you come to the “Triangle” of North Carolina, Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a must-see. I stumbled across Duke Gardens when researching things to do in the triangle before we moved and it quickly became top of the list. Tulip gardens in the Spring… need I say more.
It is 55 acres of specialized gardens in the center of Duke University (which is gorgeous by the way) and completely free to the public. You do have to pay for parking but it is extremely cheap at around $2 per hour.
Tips For Visting
I recommend going early in the day. I’ve only visited during the summer but it gets hot. There are tons and tons of shade but it gets quite humid in some of the forests during the peak of the day.
This place is huge. I have been three times for an hour at a time, and have still only seen 2 sections. I do have a toddler with me which slows me down a little but I would recommend at least 2 hours if you really want to see everything.
Maybe I am old at 31 but definitely wear some good walking shoes. Anything you would go on a long walk for is fine. There are some hills but nothing is difficult, it’s just a lot of walking, and depending on the time of year or if it just rained some areas can be muddy.
Bring Snacks and Water
Especially if you have kids and plan to see the whole place bring lots of snacks or lunch and water. Like I said before during summer it can be hot a pretty humid so bring water to stay hydrated. If your children are going to be walking everywhere they are going to be hungry. My son is always starving after going here. There are multiple open fields of grass for picnics and benches all across the gardens.