Vacation Accommodations: House or Hotel?

Hotels and short-term rentals each offer pros and cons for family getaways. A mom and grandmother who travel with kids share their insights.


Published:

Photo courtesy of Camp Kahdalea

After a long day of making vacation memories, the last thing you need is a tension-filled evening. You want to relax, let the kids unwind and sink into a comfy bed for a well-deserved good sleep to prep for the next day of sightseeing with the family.

Traveling with family means everyone pitches in, from booking to packing, which begs the question: Can one accommodation satisfy everyone — from grandma to grandbaby? Choosing the right accommodations for your brood makes up a large part of vacation planning. The wide range of lodgings available generally fall into professionally owned and managed hotels or resorts; or houses and condos owned and operated by families that can be booked through vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. 

Longtime travel writer and author Joanne Cleaver is a big fan of traditional hotels, even when traveling with small kids. Her daughter, Samantha Cleaver, who is an educator and mom of three preschoolers, favors short-term house rentals. Here are each of their thoughts on choosing a hotel or a house rental.


Joanne Cleaver: Let Hospitality Professionals Do the Work

Two years ago, I checked into the Westin New York Grand Central. I was in New York City for a week of business and family activities. My daughter Samantha and her then 5-month-old baby were to join me two days into my trip. I didn’t want to take any chances on not having a crib, so I asked that one be sent to my room as soon as possible. Then, as an afterthought, I asked for an extra stack of towels. I explained to the front desk attendant that Samantha and I would line the bathroom sink with towels so that we could bathe the baby.

“Hold on a minute,” the staffer said. She called housekeeping. Did they have a baby tub we could use? No, they didn’t. No worries. I was sure we could figure out a workaround. 

I dumped my stuff in the room and left. When I returned that evening, the crib was set up and stacked with towels and baby blankets. There, like a rowboat in harbor, sat a brand-new baby tub, still in its store wrappings, topped with a new set of baby shampoos. 

Therein lies my argument for hotels: Hotel staff want to take care of you. Let them. Most hotels want to make families welcome. Most are eager to greet kids with their own menus, activities and small accommodations. Tired parents can order room service or trade off with one taking the kids to the pool while the other lingers over breakfast coffee. Staff are eager to help you with loading and unloading the car. You can request as many towels and pillows as you want. Your only real challenge is keeping kids out of the minibar. Of course, you have to manage the kids’ activity and noise levels in a hotel — easily done given the generous public space. 

The main hotel complication we’ve encountered is that hotels can’t or won’t guarantee items, such as a crib or related gear, that customers request in advance. There are only so many cribs per hotel. If they are claimed when you arrive, you are out of luck as we found in a tense standoff at a Holiday Inn Express when checking in for a conference Samantha was attending with nursing baby in tow. That is not a problem at a house rental, where everything on the premises is provided specifically for the guests’ use. A freestanding house also insulates neighbors from noise and activity at all hours. Overall, I’ll take my chances on a hotel. After all, parents and grandparents deserve a little pampering, too. 


Samantha Cleaver: Rent a Home Away From Home for Real Relaxation 

Let’s face it, when you’re traveling with kids, it’s a trip, not a vacation. No amount of free shampoo and room service allows you to stay out late for margaritas, enables your kids to sleep in or gives you the flexibility to visit the spa instead of the zoo. Choosing accommodations is not about finding the best hotel, but rather about determining the best space for minimizing the hassles that often accompany traveling with children. 

On a recent trip to Atlanta, we booked a center-city, three-bedroom, two-bath house through Airbnb. (Full disclosure: We own and rent several Airbnb units, but that does not give us any inside advantage to renting other units through the platform.) The centrally located bungalow promised basic amenities, a clean space and, most importantly, separate bedrooms for our 4- and 2-year-old children. (If you have ever tried to put two kids to bed past their bedtime in the same room, you are rooting for me on this one.) 

Booking a hotel, especially through a national hotel chain, comes with the assurance that you get a clean room, efficient check-in and basic amenities. Book a short-term rental and you live with some ambiguity until you get there. Will the space actually look like it does in the pictures? Will I have any trouble communicating with the host? Will the code work? 

When renting an Airbnb, I look for “superhosts” — hosts who have an established track record for delivering what they promise — and take time to read reviews from other families who have stayed in a potential rental. Thanks to this advance scouting, we arrived at the bungalow in Atlanta, easily checked in and walked into an open-floor plan living-dining-kitchen area that was the perfect size for our band of seven adults and children. 

While many Airbnbs advertise that they are family-friendly, you’re on your own to make the space comfortable. The Airbnb we rented in Atlanta wasn’t completely toddler-ready. We spent the first half-hour moving everything that was not kid-friendly out of reach (mostly small potted plants) and taking note of where the chemicals were stored so we could keep the kids away from any hazards. Once we arranged the space, however, the benefits kicked in.

Having a full kitchen enabled us to stock the fridge with breakfast fixings and healthy snacks, which saved us money. Our preschoolers each had their own space for bedtime. We used the dryer to quickly dry towels and swimsuits after a visit to the pool. In between excursions to the Georgia Aquarium, various neighborhoods and Zoo Atlanta, we used the Airbnb as a space to relax and put up our grown-up feet while the kids crawled around pretending to be deer, colored in coloring books and did what they usually do when we’re at home. 

An Airbnb is your home away from home, but it’s also someone else’s home or family investment, so tighter rules apply. But even with that caveat, you have privacy in a full house, which is the best way to capture some great vacation memories during your trip. 

 

Joanne Cleaver, who lives in Maine, is a nationally published freelance writer and author of three family travel guides. Samantha Cleaver is a nationally published freelance writer, reading consultant and educator who lives in Charlotte with her partner and three preschoolers. 

 

House Vs. Hotel

Hotel

Advantages

* On-site professional management.

* On-site dining and room service.

* Typically offers a pool and other amenities.

 

Disadvantages

* No guarantee of baby necessities, such as a crib or baby bath.

* Can be difficult to organize the right combination of rooms and privacy.

* Might be more expensive.

* Tips are expected for housekeeping, bellman and doorman.

* Must manage noise and activity to respect other guests.

 

House Rental

Advantages

* Enables flexibility and offers generous space.

* Should deliver promised necessities, such as a crib and toys.

* Enables greater tolerance for a normal level of children’s activities.

* Offers a wider array of interior arrangements than what standard hotel rooms offer.

* Having access to a kitchen can save money on eating out.

 

Disadvantages

* Food service is do-it-yourself, and that includes kitchen chores.

* May not offer recreational amenities.

* Not always within walking distance of major tourist destinations, such as museums.

* May require chores at checkout. 

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Calendar

November 2019

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

A full, half marathon and 5k with convenient parking and fast course right off I-40. The RDC 5k takes place on Nov. 9 and Marathon/half marathon will take place on Nov. 10. ...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Southpoint Mall and American Tobacco Trail
6910 Fayeteville Rd
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Website »

More information

Comic book pop culture goes into overdrive at this festival that features new exhibits, panel discussions, workshops, cosplay and more. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $20 and up

Where:
Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Take part in a walk to deal with grief and honor those lost to suicide while raising money for local suicide prevention groups across the Triangle. Register online. 

Cost: $35

Where:
Halifax Mall, downtown Raleigh
, NC  27601


Website »

More information

Friends of Lower Haw is offering this free family outing in the Lower Haw River State Natural Area in Chatham County.  Join Board of Directors member Megan Lynch as we wander along the Haw...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lower Haw River State Natural Area
Bynum, NC  27228


Sponsor: Friends of Lower Haw River State Natural Area
Website »

More information

Leave your GPS at home and learn how to find your way using only a compass and a map. We will cover the basics of orienteering, including reading bearings, calculating your stride and more. Use...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Discover Historic Yates Mill – a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Girl Scouts in grades 6-8 spend the afternoon with activities to learn all about trees. Discover the parts of a tree and their functions, how trees are used in everyday life, create a craft...

Cost: $15 per girl scout; no charge for troop leaders or other accompanying adults

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Website »

More information

The Triangle Youth Jazz Fall Concert presents an afternoon of big band jazz selections. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Join us Monday Nov 11th for a Full Day Rock Band Camp! This camp is best for ages 7+. NO experience necessary!! Drop off starts at 8:45am Pickup is 5:00pm Students will learn two songs and...

Cost: $70

Where:
Bach to Rock Music School
958 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
View map »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Discover Historic Yates Mill – a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Nature Peekers: Owl Babies Tuesday, November 12, 10:30-11 a.m. Three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, and they can’t help but wonder where she is. What adventures will they...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Turkeys have very colorful feathers! Celebrate this Thanksgiving season with crafts all about this important bird! We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult...

Cost: For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

The science of weather is called meteorology. This program investigates the basics of meteorology: what causes the weather, how meteorologists study it, and why it is important that they do!...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Ages 11-17 create old-fashioned taffy and hard candy using ingredients like caramel, marshmallow and chocolate. Register online. Choose course #127043.

Cost: $18/resident, $23/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Please join Admissions, Division Directors and our Head of School as they talk about Duke School’s unique program, specifically for Preschoolers (3-4 year olds) for the 2020-21 school year. A...

Cost: $0

Where:
Duke School
3716 Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Sponsor: Duke School
Telephone: 919-416-9420
Contact Name: Logan Blaylock

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

November Story Time, Puppet Show and Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic folk story Stone Soup. Activities include a story time, puppet show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hillsborough Main Library
137 West Margaret Lane
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-245-2525
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
Website »

More information

Don’t miss one of the Triangle’s most popular fundraisers, benefiting Urban Ministries of Wake County. Stone Soup Supper, presented by Bank of America, that features 15 local...

Cost: $25-$45/person

Where:
McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman St.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn the basics of Stop Motion Animation then make your own movie.  Call to register, 919-245-2532. Space is limited. Best for kids ages 8 and up. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

When Possum sees the full harvest moon, he decides to throw one last party before the long winter. But everyone is too busy preparing for winter and it looks as if nobody will come to Possum's...

Cost: FREE. Registration is required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Discover all things sweet potato at the State Farmers Market. 

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

At Read and Feed's Novel Night Gala, attendees will enjoy premier cocktails and fanciful food all while supporting Read and Feed’s efforts to give kids an appetite for reading. Tickets...

Cost: $125

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Read and Feed
Website »

More information

See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

We will be conducting a food drive during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get involved...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Our seventh annual food drive will be held during the month of November. All donations benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (www.foodbankcenc.org). We encourage you to get...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Yates Mill Associates invites you to their annual holiday sale. Browse an array of gifts including crafts handmade by talented volunteers; Yates Mill souvenir mugs, T-shirts and hats; and cookbooks...

Cost: Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Search for turkey cutouts that will be hidden throughout the park’s various trails and greenway. Each turkey “caught” can be redeemed for a special award (limit one award per...

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Ages 4-12 enjoy free arts and crafts. Registration not required. Children must have adult accompaniment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

November Story Time, Puppet Show and Art Activity Puppet Show Incorporated https://www.puppetshowinc.org/ presents the classic folk story Stone Soup. Activities include a story time, puppet show...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carrboro Branch Library
900 Old Fayetteville Road
Inside McDougle Middle School
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Library
Telephone: 919-969-3006
Contact Name: Beth Hawkey
Website »

More information

Take a walk in the woods and discover the animals and plants that call our park home. Help collect data for our Natural Resources Inventory Database and other citizen science projects. All...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Whole Brain Escape, the Triangle’s newest escape room, is debuting its 4th room! Located in Apex, Whole Brain Escape is excited to unveil The Curse of Dr. Conundrum on Friday, November 8th....

Cost: $29/person

Where:
Whole Brain Escape
410 Upchurch St
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Whole Brain Escape
Telephone: (919)355-2714
Contact Name: Heather Chandler
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (60+ yrs), $3/Child (7-16yrs), Free/Child (6yrs & younger)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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During harvest time, farmers often helped their neighbors to get hard work done during communal gatherings such as corn shucking. Learn about this fall tradition and make a corn husk doll to take...

Cost: FREE. Registration is not required.

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Usher in the holidays with a tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Carolers, a visit from Santa, a dance scene from the Nutcracker, special performances from local schools, and dozens of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lafayette Village
8450 Honeycutt Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
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All evening and into the night, 3000 pounds of molten iron will be poured into molds, in an exciting fiery display. Additionally, there will be Liberty Arts artists’ work for sale, scratch...

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Discover what's happening as the sun sets and listen to stories around a campfire. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #127674.

Cost: $18/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
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Join the Studio School of Durham team to sip, tinker, and create on Saturday, November 16th at 7:00pm for this FREE event!  We will provide the food, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Studio School of Durham
1201 W Woodcroft Pkwy
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: The Studio School of Durham
Telephone: 984-377-4502
Contact Name: Danielle Sunde
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The EWFL carries a unique experience in youth football to play in a “big game” atmosphere.  Our games begin in the afternoons on Saturday and play into the evening “under the...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Durham County Stadium
750 Stadium Dr
Durham, NC  27704
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See horses compete and enjoy food trucks, children's activities and more. Admission is free; Saturday evening Grand Prix tickets are $10/person. Proceeds benefit Duke Children's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex
4601 Trinity Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2019-20 Education Guide offers 718 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. In our 2019-20 issue, explore 1,028 resources for family fun.