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Take an NC State-Inspired Staycation

Lake Raleigh
A kayaker and a stand up paddler enjoy Lake Raleigh on a summer day.

Since it’s summertime, you may be looking for activities to add to your calendar. If so, we have some recommendations for you. We’ve put together an NC State-inspired staycation list — things you can do related to NC State that we think you will find relaxing and enjoyable. We’d love for you to try some or all of the things on the list below. However, please consider whether you should take pandemic-related precautions to ensure your safety and that of others before doing so.

Get a Scoop of Ice Cream

Howling Cow

Put the Howling Cow Dairy Education Center and Creamery and the Randleigh Dairy Heritage Museum on your must-visit list. The Education Center and Creamery, at 100 Dairy Lane in Raleigh, is where you can enjoy delicious flavors of Howling Cow ice cream and learn about the many facets of North Carolina’s dairy industry through interactive video exhibits. The facility is open seven days a week from noon to 8 p.m. The interactive Randleigh Museum is located nearby, where visitors can learn how milk gets from the farm to the table. Contact Alex Ives at before visiting the museum.

Go Camping

Key Haven

Key Haven is an NC State-managed campground on a peninsula at Kerr Lake. It is available for camping, picnicking, boating and enjoying nature. The site has two picnic shelters, picnic tables, tent pads, sandy beaches, a boat ramp, privies and a locked gate. There is no drinking water or electricity at the site. To get access to Key Haven, you must become a key holder. The fee for a key is $35 per calendar year.

Take a Fun Class at the Crafts Center

Crafts Center

The Crafts Center is an art school specializing in programs that provide hands-on, immersive, lifelong learning skills for its visitors. The center offers a variety of classes, ranging from woodworking and pottery to photography and mixed media. NC State employees can register for the center’s fall classes beginning July 26. Visit the Craft Center website for more information.

Relax at Lake Raleigh

Lake Raleigh

The Lake Raleigh Recreation Area is a picturesque retreat located on the southern side of Centennial Campus. It offers walking trails, greenways and areas for picnicking. The lake is a popular spot for fishing and enjoying nonmotorized boats such as canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.

Stroll Through the Arboretum

JC Raulston Arboretum

The JC Raulston Arboretum is a nationally acclaimed 10-acre garden that features diverse collections of landscape plants. You can take a leisurely walk through the beautiful grounds and learn about the plants on display. The arboretum also offers educational programs for children and adults. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The arboretum is at 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh.

Visit the Gregg Museum

Gregg Museum

The Gregg Museum of Art & Design, at 1903 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, features exhibitions, lectures, workshops and film screenings. One of the exhibitions currently on display at the museum features photography by NC State alumnus Chris Hondros, who was killed in 2011 while working in Libya. The museum also is hosting a film series through Aug. 27 that highlights women, people of color and explorations in silent film. Admission to the museum is free. Visitors are encouraged to support the museum by becoming a member of Friends of the Gregg.