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Budget-Friendly Spring Break Activities

Looking for cheap, fun activities to do in Raleigh over spring break? The Herald has you covered. Remember to follow the 3 W’s: wash your hands, wear a mask and wait six feet apart.

If you are staying at Meredith:

Picnic at the Meredith Lake

On campus

Grab your friends (going by yourself is also fun) and a blanket and have a little picnic at Meredith's beautiful lake and amphitheater.

North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)

Free general admission, accessible from greenway walking trail, 1.3 miles from campus

“The NCMA offers a permanent collection spanning more than 5,000 years, a variety of celebrated exhibitions and public programs, an amphitheater for outdoor performances and the nation’s largest museum park—164 acres of trails and parkland containing major works of art.” Visiting an art museum is great for the soul, as well as a great way to ensure a better understanding and appreciation of different cultures and ways of life and thinking.

Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden

Free admission, 1.6 miles from campus

Scenic garden adjacent to a popular community theater is used frequently for weddings and other special events.” Who doesn’t love a garden?

JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University

Free general admission, 2.5 miles from campus

“Part of the North Carolina State University, this eight-acre garden contains a wide variety of cold hardy temperate zone plants.”

Pullen Park

Free, 2.7 miles from campus

Pullen Park is the first public park in North Carolina, the 5th oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. and 16th oldest in the world. At Pullen Park you can rent a pedal boat, ride a carousel, take a swim, sign up for an art class, see a play, play your favorite sport and more.” Pullen Park’s carousel is definitely another way to heal your inner child, and the walkway around the lake is calming.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Free general admission, 3.5 miles from campus

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is “the Southeast’s largest natural history museum [featuring] dinosaurs, whale skeletons, live animals, walk-through dioramas, special exhibits, hands-on science education and accessible scientists.” The museum was an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal Finalist in 2014, and the giant dinosaur skeletons are the absolute best.

North Carolina Museum of History

Free general admission, 4.1 miles from campus

“The major exhibition the Story of North Carolina features fascinating artifacts, multimedia presentations and an interactive format for all ages. Other exhibits highlight the state’s military history, sports heroes, decorative arts and more.” I personally enjoyed the Sports Hall of Fame exhibit; it was cool to see surrounding universities within the hall of fame.

State Farmers Market

4.1 miles from campus

“Seven days a week, serious food connoisseurs and regular folks carefully pick through mounds of gorgeously presented fresh local produce at this popular open market, which is owned by the State of North Carolina.”

Historic Oakwood Cemetery

Free, 5.3 miles from campus

Historic Oakwood Cemetery provides a beautiful park-like setting for the final resting place of a fascinating cross section of over 22,000 of the area’s citizenry, including many prominent city, state and national leaders.” If you like spooky things, the cemetery is a wonderful place to have a picnic.

Umstead State Park

Free, 8.5 miles from campus

“Sandwiched between downtown Raleigh and the airport, this oasis of green features a stand of 300+ year-old hardwood trees, more than 32 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, campsites and lots more for nature lovers.” Remember to practice safety precautions while hiking, and always bring a buddy.

If you are going home:


Picnic with friends at the beach, lake, field, park, backyard or even in your living room.

Give yourself a spa day

Give yourself a mani/pedi, take a bath or relaxing shower, massage your scalp, make or use a face mask and relax.

Take up bird watching

This isn’t going to be for everyone; bird watching takes patience. But if you are stuck inside staring out your window, why not learn a little?

Drive to a remote place in nature and go on a walk

If you’re able to safely drive somewhere new, do a little exploring and remember to bring a partner.

Sketch what you see outside your window

Drawing can be very therapeutic. Your drawing doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s a great way to maybe notice something you’ve never seen before.

Teach your pet a new trick

Bond with your pet through this activity. YouTube has a lot of helpful tutorials.

Find and print free coloring pages

I know coloring may feel childish, but once again, art can be very therapeutic. Heal your inner child by downloading pages from Pawsitivity Service Dogs and

Propagate your plants

Propagation is free. Fill your space with new plant babies. This can be done with succulents and many other plants. Gardenista has a helpful guide to different types of propagation.

Spring cleaning

Flip your mattress, change out your toothbrush and power wash your driveway. Spring break is the perfect time to tackle the tasks you always forget about.

Go to the pool/beach or run through your sprinkler

Welcome summer by setting up a backyard slip ‘n’ slide. You could also lay outside and soak up the sun, just make sure to put on sunscreen and social distance.

By Evelyn Summers, Staff Writer


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