After our time in the Outer Banks, we took a look at what was within a reasonable distance (~150 miles, or 3-4 hours driving time) and was in the direction we wanted to go (basically anything but North, and we were as far East as you can get so…). We decided to head to Raleigh because it fit within these parameters, plus I’d been wanting to check out Raleigh after hearing great things about it. I’ve been interested in it since it is a tech hub, and Tim and I both work in tech. We stayed at Raleigh Oaks RV Resort after reading good reviews and finding the weekly rates to be quite reasonable ($240 for the week).
Our Stay at Raleigh Oaks
I didn’t take many pictures of the RV park. I’m not sure why! Tim and I said that we were going to take a picture of Trudy (Motorhome) in every spot where she has been parked, and we failed on what, the 4th or 5th stop?
Location: The resort is 2 turns off of I-95, so the highway access can’t be beat. It’s about 40 minutes from Raleigh, which was a little further than I would have liked – but I went into this whole lifestyle realizing that camping + cities usually don’t mix, so I’m not surprised that most RV places are a bit outside of the city. The resort is in a small town called Four Oaks – not much in Four Oaks itself, it seemed like a farming community. Oh – this reminds me! Tim and I kept wondering what plant was in the fields. We thought it was potatoes, but a google search showed us that it was tobacco. Silly northerners!
The next town over, Smithfield, had more going on. There was a huge outlet mall and just about every big box store you could want (except Target, which happens to be the ONLY big box store I want).
RV Sites: We had a pull through site, which means that we can pull the motorhome into the site with the tow car still attached. This is in contrast to a back-in site, where you have to detach the tow car, then back the motorhome in. Pull-throughs eliminate that step, and this was our first experience with a pull-through.
The park roads and all of the sites were gravel. The sites were clean, level, and very well lit at night. We had 50 amp electric, water, and sewer (full hookups). A special treat was that we also got our first cable hookup since leaving Pittsburgh, so I got to watch Bravo for the first time in awhile! However I’m so far behind on all of my bad reality TV that I no longer have any idea what is going on. It was nice to have cable so we could keep up to date on Irma.
The sites are fairly close together, and have no shade. Everyone has a small “front yard” with fire ring and picnic table. The grounds were very well kept, but there wasn’t much character to the sites themselves.
Amenities: Raleigh Oaks has some beautiful amenities. They have 2 pools – one of which has a shallow area that was PERFECT for the baby, hot tub, a miniature golf course, playground, basketball, fitness center, 3 dog parks, and probably some other things I’m forgetting. The fitness center was a major plus to me, it felt so good to lift weights again! They also had a nice area near the pool where you could play games. We enjoyed cornhole, ping pong, and other lawn games they had available.
They also had a community dinner on Thursday which was $3 a plate (donation, goes to local VFD) and was very good!
Not the resort’s fault, but the bugs were horrible. It was extremely difficult to make a reservation. I called about 10 times, left a voicemail, and finally, randomly on the 11th call (or whatever it was) I was finally able to reach a human being and make a reservation. She said “we closed at 2” (it was 2:03) and it made me wonder if I hadn’t caught someone on the other end, would we have pulled up to Raleigh Oaks and have not been able to stay there, despite how hard we tried? The reservation process was harder than it should have been.
Also, the resort didn’t have recycling. We are finding that most private RV parks don’t (sad face).
The City of Raleigh
We took a day went to Raleigh and tried to pack in as much as we could! We wanted to do more, but sometimes you are constrained by a toddler who needs a nap. I also really wanted to explore Duke University and Chapel Hill/UNC, but those were even farther away from where we were staying, so it wasn’t possible to do it all in a day.
What we did do:
North Carolina State Museum of the Natural Sciences
If you’re in Raleigh, just go to this. An amazing Museum with 2 sides – one is the museum, the other is a research center, where they have many labs with scientists working in them. You can see what they are doing, shadow them, view their experiments, etc. It was an immersive science experience, and we absolutely loved this museum. Each side has 4 floors (so there are basically 8 things to explore) and the museum is free. Calla’s favorite exhibit was the one on LED lights (ha, ha).
State Farmer’s Market
The State Farmer’s Market is a “do not miss” if you come to Raleigh. Our mistake was only visiting ONE of the four buildings there. We visited the building with the flowers, fruits, veggies, and garden stuff. Apparently there are other buildings there with crafts, baked goods/prepared foods, and gifts. I have never been to such a large market in my life. The whole place was just full of fresh farm goodness. We basically spent every dollar we had in our wallets and walked away with beans, patty pan squash, cucumbers, okra, peaches, pears, apples, hot peppers, fresh lima beans, grapes, kale, and some German baked goods (her stand was right outside of the vegetables, okay?!). Our favorite thing was the muscadine grapes. We don’t have those in PA! We bought a whole gallon size ziploc full for $10 and ate them for the next two days, and even after they were all gone, we wished for more!
We came to Pullen Park mainly for Calla, and she napped through most of it. Go figure! Pullen Park is a very well kept park with some small amusement rides (carousel, kiddie boats), a lake with paddle boats, a train that goes around the park, and a gigantic playground. There is also a cafe with great cold brew iced coffee – not that I’d know from experience or anything. The amusements are only $1 for a ticket, and apparently this place is very busy on the weekends!
We loved Raleigh and our stay at Raleigh Oaks. Our only regret is that we didn’t get a chance to explore much of the area beyond the city of Raleigh itself.