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.
Sandling Beach - Falls Lake State Recreation Area
If you're like us and live in a subdivision that doesn't have a pool, there's a place in the Triangle for good swimming - Sandling Beach in Falls Lake State Recreation Area. To get to the Beach, take a left at the sign off of route 50 North as you're traveling towards Creedmoor.
The Beach has bathrooms, a foot washing spigot, and several shaded picnic tables and grills.There is also a small playground at the beach for kids ages 5-12. It's a sandy beach and the water is clear so you can see where you're stepping. Every once in a while you can see tiny, dime-sized fish swimming near the shore. The swimming area is roped off and protected by a floating barrier. Although I didn't venture out to the end of the swimming area, by watching other folks, I would guess that it only reaches a maximum depth of four feet. The Park provides and encourages you to use life vests if you go swimming.
Interspersed along the water's edge are life-sized flat silhouettes of dogs set on poles that turn and twist in the wind. I'm not really sure what their purpose is but my kids enjoyed them, especially my toddler who liked to pretend that they were real dogs.
At the Visitor's Center, a mile before you get to Sandling Beach, you can get a map of the park and see some animal displays.There is an entrance fee to Sandling - $6 a car - but it was waived on the weekday that we were there. Typically the park charges on the weekends after Easter and begins charging on weekdays after Memorial Day.
If you've never seen Falls Lake you should make the short trip (20 minutes from the intersection of 540 and Capital Blvd.). The Lake is huge - it stretches from Wake Forest and Raleigh towards Durham and Butner. The area around the Lake is quite scenic and there are several recreation areas of which Sandling is only one. The day we came we weren't expecting to get in the water so we weren't really dressed for it, which didn't stop my preschooler from falling in and soaking herself to her neck.We plan to come again on another day with our swim trunks and make a day of it.