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Shelley Lake Park - Raleigh, NC

We love parks that combine any kind of nature walk and a playground. Add some incredible, seasonal wildflowers to that mix, and you have Shelley Lake Park right now!


Shelley Lake was a staple for us during COVID when playgrounds were closed down, so I don’t think we’ve ever profiled the playground area. It was time.


This park is home to a paved loop trail around - you guessed it - a lake, and almost immediately as you enter that trail from the parking lot, you will see the playground to the right. This playground is encircled with trees, which makes it a great shade option during the mornings, later afternoons, and evenings.


A few other logistics:


• Mulch and sand playground.


• A few benches available for seating.


• For a bit of extra adventure, you can exit the playground at the back and walk through the woods down to the loop around the lake rather than taking the paved trail. (We found the structure in photo 8 while doing that.)


• The flowers you see in the photos are currently in the parking lot. A few raised beds with more flowers and some herbs have been added by the playground.


• Bathrooms are available in the parking lot by the trail entrance, in the Sertoma Arts Center, and down by the dock by the lake.


Confession: we’ve actually never made it the entire way around the lake on the paved trail. I know. 🙈 But! The reason for this is because we generally get caught up at the dock areas looking at wildlife, or in the crow’s nest-type structure toward the left when you make it down to the lake. (See second to last photo.) Only portions of the whole loop (which is about 2 miles) are shaded, but we’ve found that some of the best shade happens if you go to the left when you get to the fork where the lake loop begins.


Have you been to Shelley Lake Park? Let us know in the comments!

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