Date: July 1, 2011
Carolina Parent readers voted for the best places for families to get moving in the Triangle, resulting in these 2011 Family Favorites.
Place to Walk
Umstead State Park has 20 miles of hiking trails. Horses and bikes are only allowed on other trails, so you won't have any unexpected encounters. The park is accessible from Harrison Avenue off Interstate 40 and from U.S. Hwy. 70. 8801 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh; www.ncparks.gov.
The American Tobacco Trail provides 22 miles to hike, bike or horseback ride through a rails-to-trails project. The route crosses through the City of Durham; Durham, Chatham and Wake counties; and the planning jurisdictions of the towns of Cary and Apex. It also passes through the Lake Jordan project land. Take a cell phone, if possible, and drinks, since water isn't available at trailheads. www.triangletrails.org/ATT.HTM.
Shelley Lake is a 53-acre lake with a park area and boathouse. Two miles of paved, scenic greenway trails with workout stations surround the lake. There's also a playground area and three open fields for more physical activity. 1400 W. Millbrook Rd., Raleigh; www.raleighnc.gov.
Lake Lynn is a 75-acre park with paved and boardwalk trails, making it a favorite spot for walking, cycling, jogging and in-line skating. The Recreation Center offers many pro-grams, especially for kids. Entrances are off Ray Road and Lynn Road.Neither entrance is easy to spot, so look carefully. 7921 Ray Rd., Raleigh; www.raleighfree.com/lake_lynn_park.html.
Place to Ride Bikes
American Tobacco Trail takes the top spot on this category. (See Places to Walk for details.)
Pullen Park, located next to North Carolina State University, is divided into five sections: the aquatic, community and arts centers; the athletic field; and the amusement section. The park also offers three softball fields and six tennis courts. The amusement section is closed for renovations and is expected to reopen in late fall 2011. 520 Ashe Ave., Raleigh; www.raleighfree.com/pullen_park.html.
Honorable Mentions - Kids Together Park: 111 Thurston Dr., Cary; http://kidstogethercary.org.
Bond Park: 801 High House Rd., Cary; www.townofcary.org.
Family Fitness Facility
YMCA facilities provide all family members a place to exercise, learn and enjoy time together while having fun. It offers health and wellness programs, fitness classes, after-school programs, youth service projects, swimming lessons, senior adult programs and more. www.ymcatriangle.org.