Raleigh's parks and recreational facilities have won awards. In all, there are 3,904 acres of parkland and 1,332 acres of water. A greenway system covers 1,297 acres, offering hiking and jogging trails that link many of Raleigh's 141 parks.
One of the major recreational centers is Lake Wheeler, 6404 Lake Wheeler Rd. (tel. 919/662-5704; www.raleighnc.gov), comprising 60 acres of parkland and 600 acres of lake, 5 miles southwest of Raleigh. Activities include sailing, rowing, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. In summer, open-air concerts are $5. Hours are sunrise to sunset daily.
Dead Broke Farm, 6921 Wildlife Trail (tel. 919/596-8975), offers horseback riding and summer camping trips on 60 wooded acres of hills, creeks, lush vegetation, and wildlife that includes deer, cranes, and turkeys. Open daily year-round, the farm charges $50 per person for each hour of trail riding, or $75 for 2 hours. The cost is $175 per person daily for a camping trip.
William B. Umstead State Park, 8801 Glenwood Ave. (tel. 919/571-4170; www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/wium/main.php), is actually two parks, including Crabtree and Reedy Creek, comprising a total acreage of 5,439. We prefer Crabtree; it has better facilities and a big lake where you can rent boats for $5 and go fishing ($20 deposit). It also has a visitor center and picnic tables. Biking trails riddle the park, as do hiking trails.
The best golf is at the Tobacco Road Course, 442 Tobacco Rd. in Sanford (tel. 877/284-3762 or 919/775-1940; www.tobaccoroadgolf.com), an 18-hole, 6,500-yard, most challenging course. Greens fees range from $49 to $134 (depending on the season), and the course is open Monday to Friday 8am to dusk, on Saturday 7am to dusk, and on Sunday 8am to dusk. Greens fees include cart rentals.
Raleigh also has about 24 miles of greenway for bikers. For trail maps, contact the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Center, 2401 Wade Ave. (tel. 919/831-6640; www.raleigh-nc.org).
The best camping is at Raven Rock State Park, 3009 Raven Rock Rd. at Lillington (tel. 910/893-4888; www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/raro/main.php); and at Falls Lake State Recreational Area, 3304 Creedmoor Rd., 12 miles via N.C. 50 (tel. 919/676-1027; www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fala/main.php). Call for information, which varies seasonally.
Raleigh has at least 112 tennis courts in its city parks.