The days are longer, the weather is warmer and the flowers are blooming—sure signs of spring in the Raleigh area! The perfect season to explore parks and gardens budding with colorful flowers, use this list to get out and enjoy sunshine and the beauty of the City of Oaks.

 

WRAL Azalea Gardens

The WRAL Azalea Gardens, created by Capitol Broadcasting Company founder A. J. Fletcher as a service to the community, opened to the public in 1959. Packed with thousands of azaleas, along with other native favorites (dogwoods, hydrangeas, magnolias and more), the 1.5-acre garden is a hidden gem located just a hop, skip and a jump from Dorothea Dix Park, Pullen Park and the campus at North Carolina State University, offering tranquility in the heart of the Raleigh.

Open daily from dawn to dusk and free to visit, take a break from the day to surround yourself with beautiful azaleas of all shapes and colors—typically at their very best around mid-April—as wonderful fragrances fill the air. 

2619 Western Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27606

 

Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden

Dedicated in 1951, the Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden is a landmark of the Raleigh Little Theatre campus. The garden offers a year-round display of roses, trees and perennials. One of only three accredited rose gardens in N.C., the grounds include 60 rose beds surrounded by an arboretum of evergreen and deciduous trees. The roses typically steal the show between May until fall's first frost, but plenty of other beautiful plants take the spotlight in early spring. 

Upcoming events: Raleigh Little Theatre has two outdoor movies on the schedule for the upcoming season: "The Sandlot," April 4, and "Moulin Rogue!," May 23

301 Pogue St., Raleigh, NC 27607

 

JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University

Stroll through 10 acres of floral beauty at this nationally-acclaimed garden with one of the largest and most diverse collections of landscape plants. With more than 5,000 plants collected from all over the world on display, you catch blooms any time of the year. Nearly 20 different gardens can be explored, each with a unique theme and space—a Japanese garden, a butterfly garden, a rooftop terrace filled with heat-tolerant plants and more.

The arboretum is also a popular spot to host an affordable wedding (or a pretty backdrop for engagement photos, bridal portraits etc.).

Upcoming event, April 27: Raulston Blooms!, a day that's packed with garden and nature activities, shopping and outdoor fun (food trucks, family scavenger hunt, birdhouse competition, educational displays, local ice cream and more!).

4415 Beryl Rd., Raleigh, NC 27606

 

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

One of America's most spectacular gardens—a secret among some locals but a sanctuary to plant lovers around the world—is open to the public just eight weekends per year in Raleigh, N.C.

Located 12 miles south of downtown Raleigh, Juniper Level Botanic Garden is a 28-acre campus showcasing more than 27,000 different kinds of native perennials, exotic plants, rare delights and unusual specimens of trees and shrubs not found many (or any) other places on earth. This "Eden of rare plants" draws gardeners, researchers and fans of beautiful plants from across the globe each year for select open house dates. 

NoteThe next open house dates are May 3-5 and May 10-12, 2024.

9241 Sauls Rd., Raleigh, NC 27603

 

Joslin Garden

Truly a hidden local treasure, Joslin Garden is the former private residence of the late William and Mary Coker Joslin, a 4.3-acre natural wonder in the heart of Raleigh that was lovingly tended to by the Joslin family for more than 60 years. The property was formally donated and turned into a city-owned park in 2021. 

Visitors to the property will find rolling terrain dotted with streams, bridges, walking trails, garden sculptures and a diverse collection of rare and native plants. Benches and gazebo areas provide plenty of opportunities to enjoy this space at a relaxed pace. 

2431 W. Lake Dr., Raleigh, NC, 27609

 

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