I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


Cliffs of the Neuse State Park - Seven Springs (near Goldsboro)

View of the Neuse River from the top of the cliff


      When I heard about this park as a 90 foot high cliff over the Neuse River I imagined something as dramatic as Great Falls Park in Virginia. It's not quite that dramatic but it is worth seeing. The land the park sits on was once used by the Tuscarora and Saponi Indian tribes as a ceremonial ground, but like all great places that Native Americans found first, it was taken over by the English settlers and renamed.

       If you want to make the trip, you should Mapquest the park or use your GPS. The signage along the roads is limited. You should also bring plenty of drinking water because you'll need it if you plan to hike the trails. There is a water fountain at the trail head but you will have to be able to stomach the taste of galvanized steel if you plan to use this water. There are basic bathrooms at the trail head as well. Bringing a stroller with your young kids is not a good idea. I used my in-line double stroller and it was really hard to navigate the trails with it.
  • "350 Yard Trail" (white blaze) is very doable with a stroller.
  • The "Bird Trail" (red blaze) is OK with a stroller but you will have to carry it up some steps a couple of times.
  • The "Galax Trail" (blue blaze) - don't even bother with a stroller there are too many obstacles.
  • I also wouldn't recommend you try the "Spanish Moss Trail" with a stroller.

        The view along the trails is nice. My preschooler said: "It's like we're driving in a jungle." A creek runs beside the "350 Yard Trail" with some small waterfalls. My toddler even listened for once when I told him not to go too close to the creek. My preschooler was the trail leader for the whole hike, a job she took very seriously, as she commented: "It's hard work bein' trail leader."       

       The park is designed to facilitate camping and it would definitely be a great place to camp. There are bathhouses, picnic tables, boat rental, and even a swimming lake with pool house. The day we were there we were also able to see several fighter jets doing flyovers because of the park's proximity to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

The pool house

The swimming lake

       A new, combined park office, visitor's center, and museum is set to open in April. The day we were there the new facility was being inspected for the final time by the state and the contractors to see if it was ready for occupation. In fact, when I drove into the new facility parking lot, the ranger asked me if I was there for the final inspection. Evidently, he didn't see my two kids making faces in the back of the van.

       The park is a little bit of a hike from the Triangle - it took us a little over an hour to get there from the Knightdale area - but it is worth a look if you have some time or if you plan to be out near Goldsboro.

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