Staying Busy: Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Cary Outdoors

Cary, NC — During a time where we are all encouraged to stay home, there are still plenty of safe and viable options to enjoy time outdoors.

Especially if your house is also serving as an office, a craft room, a school or a playground right now, this list is for you. These are our top 5 suggested activities for getting outside and enjoying the outdoor opportunities of Cary.

1. Paddling

Paddling a kayak or paddleboard is a tremendous way to relax, cool off and practice balancing all while heeding the rule of “six feet apart” for social distancing if paddling with others. That said, it’s a bring your own boat or board situation with most rental shops not open for the time being.

If you do have the necessary gear on hand, you can choose from nearby Bond Lake, Lake Crabtree or Jordan Lake if you’re up for the drive. Grab some water and picnic foods out of your grocery stash before heading out because there’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy the scenery and experience with a growling stomach… trust me.

2. Hiking/Nature Walks

Taking a walk through the woods is a solid option for getting your heart rate up while getting a beautiful change of scenery and lucky for us in Cary, there are nearly 100 miles of trails and greenways to pick from while keeping a safe distance from others.

There are new spring blooms cropping up all throughout the Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve and great trail opportunities at Umstead State Park, too. But to see the full breadth of all the options, see the Cary Bike and Hike Web App featuring a map of Cary’s greenway system.

3. Fun in the Yard

For parents with young kids especially, the good news is you don’t have to venture far to have a great time outdoors. Now is the time to be creative and transform your backyards. You can set up a kickball infield, fill a basket with water balloons, make a birding challenge, get the frisbees out of the garage, create a snowball fight with balled-up socks or whatever it is that comes to mind.

The essential point here goes beyond exercise because with this one you are making memories that could last a lifetime. Kids, as we know, are impressionable. They learn from what is said and done around them constantly. By having fun in the backyard and getting them away from the chaos of the world for a bit, it’s a chance to connect and reassure them that they are taken care of and they can still have fun.

4. Biking

Cary is full of bike lanes, parks and greenways perfect for a downhill cruise, an uphill climb or whatever it is that you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a long-distance ride away from zooming cars, the American Tobacco Trail is a great option that spans 22 miles from Southwest Apex to Durham Bulls Athletic Park. It’s a trail converted from a previous railway and is made up of asphalt and crushed stone surface that covers parts of Chatham, Durham and Wake County.

For other biking trail options, see the Cary Bike and Hike Web App.

5. Run Downtown

Recently moving to the downtown area myself, I can tell you that it’s a robust and wonderful place to run if you’re looking for a paved, more urban setting. While it might not be as crowded as it once was, running along Academy, Chatham and Walnut Streets does allow you to take in the beauty of the town, still at a distance from others.

Keep an eye out, and maybe some cash in your pocket, as you’ll likely see some local businesses adapting to the new circumstances. You might come across a delicious treat at a tent outside of Annelore’s German Bakery or you may catch a whiff from the La Farm Bread Truck offering walk-up service. Hey, I’m not telling you to eat a bunch of calories as a reward following a workout. But, I am also fully owning up to that fact that I’ve done it, so no judgment here.

Are you finding any other great ways to enjoy the outdoors? Share them with us in the comments!

Story by Ashley Kairis. Paddling and Downtown photos by Kairis, kids playing photo by Remy Sharp, featured image by Lindsey Chester.