Update, May 2019: Dorothea Dix Park has announced that they have planted sunflowers again for 2019. They are expected to be in bloom from roughly July 1-17. Read on for information about location and tips on visiting!

Calling all cyclists, runners, outdoor enthusiasts and Instagram addicts—a pop-up tourist destination of gorgeous sunflowers is back and in full bloom in Raleigh, N.C.!

First planted by the City of Raleigh's public utilities department in 2010 along the Neuse River Greenway Trail, acres upon acres of sunflowers bloom each year between mid-June and early July. For 2018, they'll call Dorothea Dix Park home.

The sunflowers serve a purpose beyond just acting as a fun summer Instagram hot-spot—the City will harvest the sunflowers to create thousands of gallons of biodiesel, which is then processed into fuel to run tractors, trailers and farm equipment. The field of tall, golden flowers is expected to be in peak bloom from approximately July 4-17, and then possibly still in viewable condition for another week or so depending on weather (update, July 16: the flowers are past peak bloom and may have until July 20 or so to be viewed). Note: there are designated paths to walk between the sunflowers—please use them!

Use the 360° photo below, courtesy of our friends at Beaumonde Arts Agency, to immerse yourself in the scene.

On Sat., July 14, a grand celebration—including live music, games, food vendors and more—will take place. SunFest at Dix Park, with free parking and admission, will be held from 2-7pm.

Dorothea Dix Park, a 308-acre property acquired by the City of Raleigh in 2015, is the largest city park in the City of Oaks. The site blends historic architecture and rich landscapes on the edge of downtown Raleigh (the closest park entrance is about one mile from the Raleigh Convention Center). Named for Dorothea Lynde Dix, an American activist on behalf of people with mental illness, the site spent 150 years as Dorothea Dix Hospital and more recently has been home to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

In the future, the City of Raleigh has big plans for a transformative public space—for now though, massive open fields, tree-lined streets, skyline views and very minimal car traffic make this park an ideal place for all sorts of outdoor activities.


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Need to know

  • It's summertime—expect the weather to be hot! Sunscreen, bug repellent and a water bottle are always good ideas.
  • Plenty of free parking is available (see the map below).
  • Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to visit.
  • You can walk through the sunflower fields on the designated paths.
  • The fields are a mix of dirt, grass and some rocks—please wear closed-toe shoes for your safety.
  • Pets are ok (on a leash, please!).
  • The sunflowers are for everyone—please don't pick them to take home.

Dorothea Dix Park sunflower map

Have questions? Tweet us at visitRaleigh, and we'll be happy to help. Don't forget to tag your sunflower photos on Instagram with #visitRaleigh so we can see and share!

Parking map courtesy of the City of Raleigh