Best Playgrounds in Raleigh for Toddlers (+ Around the Triangle)

Amy Hartle

With an almost two-year-old in tow, I’m constantly searching for the best playgrounds for toddlers near me. Luckily, in the Triangle area, there are so many that fit the bill!

🐦PS: I’m continuing to update this list as I find new toddler-friendly playgrounds, so bookmark this for later so you can come back and discover more playgrounds to try out!

Toddler parents are looking for specific things when bringing their littles to a playground. More than anything, we want to ensure our kiddos are safe. While we can’t avoid every single boo-boo that might happen, we can help to prevent them by choosing toddler-friendly playgrounds.

Map of Toddler Friendly Playgrounds Near Raleigh

What makes a playground toddler friendly?

With different parenting styles and levels of tolerance (read: anxiety), what many parents deem safe for their toddler might not be the same for another parent. For the purposes of this article, I am sharing my impressions as a toddler Mom. At the time of this writing, I have a 23-month old boy. That makes him still a very young toddler. In fact, he only started walking at 17 months, so he’s very new to the world of play.

So that is the lens through which I’m viewing these playgrounds across the Triangle. For me, the best playgrounds for toddlers have low, easy to access play structures where my son can climb a few steps and go safely on his own down a slide. I look for structures that don’t have large gaps along the side where kids can easily tumble off.

I really appreciate when there is a “little kids” area and a “bigger kids” area at a playground, as this means the smaller structure is (usually) only being used by fellow littles. That provides less worry about larger children bumping into my son.

A safe ground surface is also essential. My #1 option is the bouncy rubberized surface that offers a lot of give to a tumbling toddler. Mulch is an ok surface, but some toddlers might still be in the “putting-everything-in-their-mouth” phase, which makes mulch less than ideal.

Other elements I’ve considered in this round-up include things toddlers especially enjoy, like sandboxes and swings. The most toddler-friendly playgrounds in Raleigh and the Triangle have a variety of activities like these.

I’ve also looked at other aspects of safety and security. An ideal toddler playground would be fully encircled by a fence, and frankly, covered in thick padding, but this is pretty unrealistic. However, when playgrounds offer at least some fencing, as well as some distance from roads and cars, this is a huge plus on the toddler-friendly scale.

Lastly, I’ve included a brief blurb about the parking situation for each playground. In talking with fellow moms, particularly new moms or moms of babies and toddlers, knowing in advance about parking at a given spot can really help to reduce anxiety! I’m happy to share anything that will help make outings with littles feel easier and more attainable.

PS: If outdoor playgrounds make you nervous, or you’ve got babies who aren’t ready to toddle, you should take a look at my list of amazing indoor playgrounds in the Triangle, many of which are geared towards the younger set. These are also just a fantastic option on a day when the Carolina heat gets to be too much!

Alright, let’s dive into this collection of best toddler playgrounds in our area.

Toddler-Friendly Playgrounds in Raleigh and the Triangle

Kids Together Playground – Marla Dorrel Park – Cary

111 Thurston Dr, Cary, NC 27518

A toddler approaches a colorful playground with green canopies and various play structures, shaded by tall pine trees on a sunny day, conveying a sense of outdoor fun and exploration for children

There is a lot to love about the Kids Together Playground in Cary. I think this is a beautiful playground. There is plenty of shade, and lots of room to play. The playground is not completely fenced in, but there is fencing in key areas that helps make this park toddler-friendly.

The main playground structure, seen in the photo above, is fairly low to the ground and also has accessibility ramps. These features make it very doable for my toddler, especially the lower slide. On the other side are some higher slides and platforms that I do try to keep him away from however. There is a large sand pit area here, too, which he enjoys.

There’s a separate toddler/young children play area we also explored. This also has a ramp, which I really like for him. But there is also a small staircase on the structure that is very narrow with high sides. To me, this is ideal for a toddler learning to navigate stairs safely. Malcolm went up these stairs and down the adjacent slide a dozen times in a row! This separate area has fencing around 3/4 of it—again another point to toddler friendly-ness!

Bathroom situation: Bathrooms located next to the parking lot, a quick walk from the play areas

Parking details: There is a parking lot with 8 or 9 spaces directly in front of the playground entrance, as well as larger parking lot a short distance away. Both make for easy access to the park/playground on foot and are not right on a main road. Parking is free.

🐦Read more details in our post all about the Kids Together Playground.

Ed Yerha Park – Cary

1216 Jenks Carpenter Rd, Cary, NC 27519

Ed Yerha Park is another toddler-friendly playground in Cary, North Carolina. This playground has recently had some upgrades, and it’s a nice little spot for young kids. (Check out our video to see this playground in action).

Previously called White Oak Park, this playground has two climbing structures, both on the smaller side (aka more toddler friendly). It has that nice squishy ground we know and love, and some toddler-level interactive elements.

Perhaps best of all for the littles among us is the sand pit. It’s directly next to the play structures and has a fun new sand table to play with.

several kids enjoy a sunny day at one of Raleigh's best playgrounds for toddlers, featuring colorful play structures under protective shade sails, with ample space for play and parental supervision.

I appreciate the shade covers, as I can see this playground getting real hot in the summer!

One thing I don’t love about this playground is how close the parking lot is. I prefer when there is some distance between the playing area and cars.

Bathroom situation: Bathroom a quick walk from the playground, towards the other end of the parking lot

Parking details: Parking is in a big, free lot directly adjacent to the playground.

Rainy day? Bored with playgrounds? Check out our big list of toddler-friendly activities in Raleigh & the Triangle!

Brier Creek Park – Raleigh

9339 Bruckhaus St, Raleigh, NC 27617

A young child toddles towards colorful playground equipment on a sunny day, with a vibrant blue tunnel and a yellow and red play train set against a background of green grass and a clear sky.

Brier Creek Park is one of the cutest playgrounds we’ve come across, and it seems built just for toddlers. With its bright primary colors and train design, little kids can’t help but love this playground.

Every element here is low to the ground, easy to access, and toddler friendly. The playground is covered in the bouncy rubberized ground surface.

While this playground is small, toddlers don’t need much to make them happy, and my son loved Brier Creek Park.

A few helpful aspects for parents: there’s a large covered picnic area directly next to the playground, perfect for snacks and enjoying some shade.

Bathroom situation: There are restrooms located right behind the shelter.

Parking details: You can park right in front of this playground. This park is in the same driveway as an elementary school, however, so it might be helpful to plan ahead for busy pick-up and drop-off times.

*Take a look at our video of Brier Creek Park!

Indian Creek Greenway Trailhead Playground – Morrisville

101 Town Hall Dr, Morrisville, NC 27560

The warm glow of the setting sun illuminates a vibrant playground featuring yellow and blue equipment, including slides and climbing structures, set against a backdrop of leafless trees and a clear sky.
LOVE a fully fenced playground!

This Morrisville playground is fully enclosed by a fence, which is an awesome feature. For toddler parents, this can really reduce some of the stress of going to a playground.

A curious toddler in a blue and black striped shirt walks towards a colorful playground with yellow railings and a vibrant red slide, with bare trees in the background and a blue safety surface underfoot.
Lots of slide options here, and I like how low they are

The playground overall is fairly small, with a structure for bigger kids and one for smaller kids. There are also no swings here. But for my son, this was plenty. He spent his time mounting the stairs and going down the slide over and over, as well as running around the space. Another bonus: the floor is squishy rubber.

Bathroom situation: Restrooms located across the parking lot from the playground

Parking details: There is a small lot right near the playground with a short walkway to the fenced playground.

PS: We’ve got a video showcasing this playground, too!

Holding Park Inclusive Playground – Wake Forest

133 W Owen Ave, Wake Forest, NC 27587

Children play on the brightly colored equipment at Holding Park's toddler-friendly playground in Wake Forest, featuring a blue rubber surface, sun-shading canopies, and engaging, accessible play structures
The younger kids’ play structure at Holding Park. Love how low it is!

As of March 2024, this is a new playground that just opened in Wake Forest. It is absolutely terrific: built to be inclusive of children with special needs and disabilities. Often, these sorts of features make playgrounds toddler-friendly as well. (Peep our video here!)

Number one, this huge playground is completely fenced in. The ground is our favorite rubberized material. There are multiple options for accessing the various play structures, including ramps. There is a smaller structure geared towards younger kids, and this boasts a roller slide (fun, slower, and wide enough that Mom and Dad can ride, too!)

A curious toddler at Holding Park playground in Wake Forest examines a colorful learning panel with a large 'What Time Is It?' clock in shades of orange and green - an example of what makes this a toddler-friendly playground in the Triangle area
One of the fun interactive elements at the playground

There are not traditional swings or a sandbox at this playground, which is one downside, but these elements really aren’t missed with all that is on offer here. There are other swing-type contraptions available, plus a large array of interactive boards and elements that toddlers like mine find fascinating!

This could be an ideal playground to visit with children of varying ages, as there is something here to appeal to everyone.

Bathroom situation: Restrooms located in the building next door (near the pool area), a bit of a walk

Parking details: There is angled parking directly adjacent to the playground, with most of these spots reserved for handicapped guests. There is more parking just across Owen Avenue in a gravel lot.

Sassafras All Children’s Playground – Laurel Hills Park – Raleigh

 3808 Edwards Mill Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

A modern playground bathed in sunlight with protective canopies casting cool shade over various climbing and play structures, set amidst a tranquil forest setting.
So much to do at Sassafras!

Here’s another of the best playgrounds in Raleigh for toddlers. In fact, Sassafras All Children’s Playground is often referred to as the “crown jewel” of Triangle playgrounds. It is beloved by many, and for good reason.

This playground is spacious, inclusive, and has some unique elements such as a zipline! The zipline is not only a favorite of kids playing at the park, it is also one of the inclusive pieces, which is just so great.

There are many ramps throughout this massive playground structure, so it was easy for my toddler to navigate, and easy for me to follow him, too!

Bathroom situation: Restrooms available, but not super close. The community center is currently closed.

Parking details: Laurel Hills Park has a huge parking lot, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a space. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a walk from the parking lot down to the playground itself, so keep this in mind. Parking is free.

Here’s our video of Sassafras for a closer look at this fun playground.

Apex Jaycee Park – Apex

451 W Williams St, Apex, NC 27502

A playground featuring a dual green slide, stairs, and various platforms, nestled among tall pine trees on a grey day
I love the simplicity of this playground

While you might not think the playground at Apex Jaycee Park is all that impressive, I actually found it to be an ideal toddler playground, and here’s why:

First, the simplicity of the play structure. In being so simple, it is easy for him to use and easy for me to supervise. This is lower to the ground and easy for my toddler to climb and traverse. But it’s not so big that I can’t keep a close eye on him the entire time, and there are no unexpected gaps and drop-offs for me to look out for. I like how simple this play structure is, and for a toddler, this is plenty exciting.

This is also a quiet, less crowded playground and it is surrounded on a few sides by a low wooden fence. While this won’t keep a determined toddler inside, it is a nice barrier to slow them down!

Bathroom situation:

Parking details: Right by the playground, a straightforward park parking lot, free

Burch Avenue Park – Durham

816 Burch Ave, Durham, NC 27701

If you’re on the hunt for toddler-friendly playgrounds in Durham, NC, I think Burch Avenue Park is a terrific choice. This fully fenced playground is in a quiet neighborhood and offers tons of space for kiddos to play.

The entrance to Burch Avenue Playground is marked by a vibrant orange sign that reads 'Welcome to Your Playspace!' with a colorful, multi-structure playground in the background. The scene is lively with children playing, a blossoming pink tree, and a clear blue sky.
The play structure at Burch Avenue Park, Durham

While the main structure is a little bit taller than I prefer for my son, he was able to navigate it and bravely tackled 2 of the slides. (The biggest slide still proved a bit of a challenge).

We both really love this park! There is so much space for Malcolm to run around and explore nature, which he often prefers over using the play structures! There are also some cute elements like a small school bus they can sit in and “drive”, as well as a stage area near the back. My little drama kid heart especially loved this.

Look at those fun neon colors!

As an added bonus, this playground is incredibly colorful and joyful. And there is a little lending library near the gate. See more in our video here.

Bathroom situation: No bathrooms available

Parking details: On-street parking, so might be a challenge at time, but this is a quiet residential road. We were able to park right in front of the playground.

Trinity Park – Durham

410 Watts St, Durham, NC 27701

Just a few minutes away from Burch Avenue Park is another sweet neighborhood playground: Trinity Park.

Foreground shows a close-up of a swing set with black rubber swings hanging from a green metal frame, with a playground structure in the background featuring slides and interactive elements, all against the backdrop of a clear blue sky and leafless trees
The fully fenced “toddler” section of Trinity Park

The park itself is just very lovely, with some wide open space and a charming gazebo. There are 2 playgrounds, one for slightly older kids and another more toddler-focused. The toddler playground is in its own separate area that is fully fenced in, which I appreciate. Next to the play structure are 2 baby swings.

There are additional swings near the older kids play structure, which is not fenced. While this structure is not toddler-focused, it still can be navigated by older toddlers, especially with parent assistance.

a playground with green equipment nestled among bare trees under a bright blue sky, featuring slides, climbing areas, and interactive panels, surrounded by a layer of wood chips on the ground, evoking a calm and inviting atmosphere for play.
The main playground/”bigger kids” structure at Trinity Park. This is not fenced.

I wouldn’t call this my top toddler playground in the Triangle, as it could have more of the elements I look for (squishy ground, shade), but it’s a nice option on a a pretty spring day, and a good choice if you are looking for a fully fenced spot to take your little one.

Bathroom situation: No bathrooms available

Parking details: Streetside parking, wasn’t difficult to find as this is a quiet residential neighborhood.

Carpenter Park – Cary

4420 Louis Stephens Dr, Cary, NC 27519

Carpenter Park in Cary is one of the first playgrounds I took my son to when he became a toddler. Because of that, it holds a bit of a special place in our hearts. While it’s not the most exciting playground on the list, it’s a nice solid choice for toddlers. There is a separate smaller kids play structure, a sand box, squishy ground surface, and those oh-so-important swings.

A vibrant playground at Carpenter Park in Cary, North Carolina, with colorful play structures including swings and a slide, set against a backdrop of bare winter trees under a clear blue sky, showcasing the park's recreational amenities for a playground review

There is also a lot of grass and open space, which is important for these little runners.

Bathroom situation: Bathrooms directly next to playground

Parking details: Many spaces available in the lot directly adjacent to the playground. I like that the playground is set back at a good distance from the parking lot.

Roanoke Park – Raleigh

1508 Greenwood St, Raleigh, NC 27608

A child climbs the stairs of a colorful playground set with slides and climbing structures on a sunny day, surrounded by wood chips and with residential houses and autumn trees in the background
Love these low, spacious stairs for my toddler to climb

Roanoke Park is a small “mini” park in a quiet, residential neighborhood in Raleigh. I think it has a lot of things that make it great for toddlers, including a low structure accessible by stairs and featuring a few slides (also low to the ground), baby swings, and a small “parking lot” filled with cars and other ride-ons. Oh, and let’s not forget about the big sandbox, which is also filled with toys!!If I were a 2 year old, I know I’d be in heaven!

Some downsides to the park include mulch being the primary ground surface and no fencing (although the road is quiet and the park is slightly lower than street level so there’s a bit of a natural barrier).

Bathroom situation: No bathrooms available

Parking details: Street parking

Lazy Daze Playground – Bond Park – Cary

801 High House Rd, Cary, NC 27513

Lazy Daze Playground in Cary has been recently redone with all new structures. It’s a lovely setting in a wooded area of Bond Park.

For toddlers, I like this environment because it creates a natural sort of barrier. Although, if you know toddlers, barriers mean nothing!

Children play on a natural wood and green plastic playground, featuring slides and climbing areas, nestled among tall pine trees with a clear blue sky overhead and a bed of wood chips underfoot

This playground is a good one to go to if you’re with multiple ages of kids. With a giant rope-based climbing structure and a super-tall slide, this is definitely a playground that will appeal to older kids.

I don’t feel that Lazy Daze is the most toddler friendly playground on this list, but there’s plenty to appeal, especially for older toddlers. There’s a smaller slide and climbing structure with a fun side-by-side slide (so you can go too, Mommy!) There’s a sandbox, baby swings, and everything is mostly covered by a very bouncy version of the rubberized ground. Unfortunately, there’s still lots of mulch in different areas.

The slide was a little difficult for my almost 2 year old to access, as the stairs were a little higher for him, but I think in a couple of months he will do just fine.

Bathroom situation: none located directly at the playground; walk across the street to the restrooms near Sertoma Amphitheatre

Parking details: Super easy, there is a large parking lot essentially surrounding the playground. The playground is accessible via short paths through the woods. You can see the parking lot from the playground.

Well, that’s a wrap—-for now. Do you have a favorite toddler playground you think we should check out and include on this list? Let us know in the comments!