The Best Playgrounds Around Raleigh

Fall is here, hopefully soon with some cooler weather! As the temps begin to drop from the heat of the summer, there’s more opportunities to take the kids to the playgrounds without scalding themselves on the hot surfaces. If your babe isn’t old enough to enjoy a playground yet, I wrote a post on stroller-friendly trails earlier this year. When you are ready to hit the swings and slides, below are some of my top choices from each township. Criteria that really make a playground great are: a solid surface (wood chips and mulch can be a choking hazard), equipment for a variety of ages, and shade.

Sassafras All Children's Playground in Raleigh, NC


Pullen Park: This place is a miniature theme park! There are food stalls as you enter, a beautiful carousel, and a train encircling the park. When I went there this past summer, tickets to ride the carousel and train were $1.50 each for adults and children with under 12 months free. Certainly affordable for an afternoon of fun! They also had various play spaces around the park for the different ages (checking off my three playground requirements) and a whole swing section with a variety of swing types including handicap accessible, a tire swing, and baby swings.

Sassafras All Children’s Playground: Located in Laurel Hills Park, this playground is spectacular. It’s the playground featured in the image above. This playground has all sorts of fun equipment like zip lines, slides and swings, and all of it is wheelchair accessible. The downside of this special playground is how crowded it can get. I went about a month ago, and there were several groups there with schools, and just as we were leaving, two more full school buses showed. So as long as you can hit a time when it’s not too crowded, it can be a great place to go!


Kids Together Playground: In Marla Dorrel Park, this is known among my friends as the Dragon Park. Yes, there is a dragon play structure here! They have other fun play structures, plenty of swings, and they even have misters that get turned on for the hot days. This one is a can’t-miss! There is also a Greenway connection to nearby MacDonald Woods Park that is definitely one of my favorites because it’s a little smaller and my daughter really enjoys the play equipment there.

I had fun playing at Walnut Street Park! There are a few different areas of the playground with some unique structures, swings, and my favorite were the balance beams! Ha! It’s surprisingly big, with a sweet little paved trail looped around it.

Holly Springs

Parrish Womble is probably the largest park in Holly Springs, and for the best access to the playground, use the parking lot near the rec center off Stinson Avenue. What I like about this and Jones mentioned below, is the playgrounds are covered in fake turf, so it’s a unique ground cover! Parrish Womble has the baby swings and various other equipment, as well as some shade and picnic tables, but you can tell the equipment is a bit older with some rust and squeaky hinges.

Jones Park is hidden behind the elementary school, and it’s a decent-sized playground with a few structures and a nice shaded picnic area in the middle. Not a whole lot of shade otherwise to offer. My favorite part of the playground is that you can tell it’s pretty new. The structures and ground covering is all in great condition. There’s also a disc golf course around the playground.


To me, South Park is best visited in the summer when the awesome splash pad is in session! And I hesitate calling it a splash pad because it’s more like a mini-water-amusement park! And it’s free! The playground is OK. The ground covering is recycled tire ground into chunks so not the greatest when it comes to choking hazards and no shade on the playground itself. There is a small loop of a trail, and another trail that leads behind the baseball fields.


I tried to find other playgrounds to talk about for Garner since I already mentioned these in my stroller-friendly trails post, but really the White Deer and Lake Benson duo are the best spot for the Garner area for both trails and playgrounds! There are always kids enjoying themselves at the large playground on the Lake Benson side. There are baby swings in both parks, various structures for the different age ranges, and my daughter and I enjoyed going down the slide together at the Natural Playground on the White Deer side.

That’s my list! Have you found any other gems I should include? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

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