Get ready to hike, paddle, cycle, relax under the sun, and more as we uncover the best outdoor things to do in Durham. Let’s dive in and experience some thrilling adventures together!

Take a Hike: Eno River State Park

Strap on your hiking boots and venture into the lush forests of Eno River State Park. With miles of scenic trails, waterfalls, and swimming spots, this park offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Paddle Away: Kayaking on Jordan Lake

Grab a kayak and glide across the serene waters of Jordan Lake. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a newbie, the lake’s calm waters offer the perfect opportunity to spot local wildlife and bask in the tranquility of nature. Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy on the lake’s peaceful shores.

Picnic in the Park: Duke Park’s Green Oasis

Pack a basket full of goodies and head to Duke Park for a relaxing and laid-back picnic. With ample green space, charming picnic spots, and shady trees, it’s the perfect place to unwind with your loved ones or have a solo picnic date with your favorite book.

Art in the Open: Durham’s Murals and Street Art

Take a leisurely stroll around downtown Durham and discover the vibrant street art scene. The city is a canvas for talented artists, and you’ll find awe-inspiring murals adorning walls around every corner. Snap some Instagram-worthy pics and celebrate the beauty of art in the open.

Find a mapped tour of 20+ Downtown Durham murals and public art here!

Bike the American Tobacco Trail

Hit the American Tobacco Trail for a picturesque cycling adventure. This scenic trail stretches for miles, taking you through lush forests, across charming bridges, and offering glimpses of the city’s natural wonders. It’s the perfect way to get some exercise while immersing yourself in the beauty of nature.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Explore Sarah P. Duke Gardens

Step into a world of enchantment and tranquility at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. With its stunning flowers, serene water features, and picturesque landscapes, this garden is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful picnic.

Go Paddling on Lake Michie

Rent a kayak or canoe and embark on a paddling adventure on the serene waters of Lake Michie. Enjoy the breathtaking views, try your luck at fishing, or simply bask in the peaceful ambiance of this hidden gem.

Durham Central Park Playground

Family Fun: Durham Central Park Playground

Calling all families! Durham Central Park Playground is a haven for little adventurers. Let the kids run wild, climb, and slide while you enjoy a moment of relaxation. With plenty of shaded areas, it’s a great spot to spend an afternoon outdoors with the whole family.

You’ll also find concerts here in the summer, from local bands to big-name artists, this park hosts an array of events that will get you grooving to the beat. Check out their site for a list of events.

Step Back in Time: Historic Stagville State Historic Site

Discover Durham’s rich history at the Stagville State Historic Site. Wander through the former plantation and glimpse into the lives of the people who lived and worked here. The beautiful grounds and historical buildings make it a fascinating outdoor educational experience.

Experience History at Bennett Place Historic Site

Step back in time at the Bennett Place Historic Site, where the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War took place. Explore the museum, stroll through the grounds, and gain insights into this pivotal moment in history.

Bennett Place State Historic Site

Tee Time: Durham’s Golf Courses

Calling all golf enthusiasts! Durham offers some fantastic golf courses for a relaxing day on the greens. Hit the links at the Hillandale Golf Course, Croasdaile Country Club, or Umstead Pines Golf & Swim Club for a fun-filled day of golfing and friendly competition.

Movie Night under the Stars: Rock Quarry Park

Pack some lawn chairs and a cozy blanket for a movie night under the stars at Rock Quarry Park. Durham Parks and Recreation host outdoor movie screenings during the summer, providing the perfect setting for a romantic or family-friendly movie date.

Play Disc Golf at Cornwallis Road Park

Challenge your friends to a game of disc golf at Cornwallis Road Park. This popular park features a disc golf course where you can test your throwing skills and enjoy some friendly competition. It’s a fun and active way to spend time outdoors with your buddies.

Farm Fresh Delights: Durham Farmers’ Market

Support local farmers and artisans at the Durham Farmers’ Market. Explore the stalls filled with fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious treats. It’s a feast for the senses and a great way to connect with the local community while enjoying the fresh air.

West Point on the Eno

Birdwatching Paradise: West Point on the Eno

Grab your binoculars and venture to West Point on the Eno for some birdwatching. This idyllic park along the Eno River is a haven for various bird species, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts. Spot colorful feathers, listen to melodic chirping, and connect with nature on a deeper level.

Pack a Picnic: American Tobacco Campus

Treat yourself to a delightful picnic at the American Tobacco Campus. With its green spaces, charming brick buildings, and inviting atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to relax, indulge in delicious food, and people-watch. Enjoy the buzz of the city while basking in the sunshine.

kid friendly things to do in durham nc American Tobacco Campus free things to do
American Tobacco Campus

Discover Duke Forest

Lace up your walking shoes and explore the natural beauty of Duke Forest. With over 7,000 acres of woodlands, streams, and trails, it’s the perfect setting for a peaceful hike or a refreshing nature walk.

Have a Barbecue at Little River Regional Park and Natural Area

Fire up the grill and savor a mouthwatering barbecue at Little River Regional Park and Natural Area. With its picnic shelters, playgrounds, and scenic trails, it’s the perfect spot for a delightful outdoor feast.

There you have it, folks—18 awesome outdoor activities to keep you entertained and energized in Durham. From hiking and kayaking to picnicking in scenic parks and discovering the city’s vibrant street art, Durham has something for everyone. So, put on your adventure hat and get ready to create unforgettable memories in the great outdoors of Durham. Let the fun begin!

Best of the Bull Staff
Author: Best of the Bull Staff

We’re here to make your life a little easier by bringing you the best things to do, places to eat, drink, and see in Durham.