Cary, NC is one of the hottest locations in the country for people looking to relocate. And it’s no surprise. Among a long list of accolades, Cary has been named in recent years:

  • #6 Most Desirable Places to Live
  • #3 Safest City in America
  • #1 Lowest Property Crime in the South
  • #3 Best Midsize City to Move to
  • #6 Best Places to Live in America
  • #1 Top Town for Families
  • #4 Best City for Job Growth
  • #4 Best City to Launch a Start-Up
  • Best City for Early Retirement
  • …and many more!

But all these accolades beg the question… Why? Why does everyone want to live in Cary? Some of them are self-explanatory in the accolades themselves… Job growth, low property crime and opportunity to entrepreneurship are all attractions in and of themselves. But the quality of life is the main attraction for living in Cary, NC.

The Cary NC Parks system currently manages 31 parks. These range from small pocket parks to large parks over 300 acres. There are parks with large lakes offering boating, parks with challenge courses and splash pads, skate parks with skate ramps for kids of all ages. The majority of the parks are accessible by greenway.

Bond Park

Bond Park is a 310 acre park in the center of Cary. This beautiful and well-planned park includes 4 miles of greenway trails and is the hub of the proposed greenway system. When completed, the system will include over 170 miles of trails. Other features of the park include…

  • Boathouse – The Bond Park Boathouse offers boat rentals, boating instruction, supplies for fishing, snacks, and drinks, and facilities rental for parties and events.
  • Challenge Ropes Course – The Challenge course offers both a high and low course, designed for team building exercises for groups. It is also available to individuals at set times throughout the year.
  • Amphitheater – The Sertoma Amphitheater is a small outdoor concert venue offering free concerts to guests. For examples of the types of concerts at the venue, see here.
  • Community Center – The Bond Park Community Center offers programs and classes, indoor open gym with basketball, volleyball, pickleball & badminton, and camps.
  • Senior Center – The Cary Senior Center offers a place for seniors to connect and live an active lifestyle. There are classes & activities, including group outings. The senior center can also be rented for private events.
  • Playgrounds, Ball Fields, and More…

North Cary Park

North Cary Park is one of the most popular parks in town. The playground is artistically designed and blends in nicely with the landscaping. They have several very steep slides, that are embedded into the landscape with rubber ground cover for safety. And the trails connect to the Black Creek Greenway, one of the longest greenways in Cary at 7+ miles.

  • Sand Volleyball Court, Soccer Field & Basketball Courts
  • Climbing Boulders
  • Playground
  • Picnic Shelter, Restrooms, Charcoal Grills

Jack Smith Park

Jack Smith Park is Cary’s newest park. It incorporates whimsical play areas, a splash pad for hot summer days, a dog park for small and large dogs as well as greenways with plans to connect to multiple future greenways in coming years.

  • Dog Park
  • Climbing Rock
  • Splash Pad
  • Public Art from Local Artists
  • Playground
  • Picnic Shelter, Tables & Restrooms
  • Greenway Trails

S8 Cary

S8 Cary is an action sports venue in North Cary off Maynard Road. The complex is designed to meet the needs of skaters and bikers of all skill levels from young beginner to adult. A BMX pro rider is on staff, offering private and group lessons as well as parties. There is also a pro shop with skater apparel and supplies.

The park consists of a lighted concrete slab with 12,000 square feet of wood ramps. Existing park features include a mini-ramp, rails to grind, recently added box jump and roller, and ledges to slide. All ramp skating surfaces are made with Skatelite Pro, which gives the Town the opportunity to rearrange the park features as opposed to an unchanging concrete park.

Other Notable Cary Parks

Downtown Park: this park in historic downtown Cary is located across the street from the Cultural Arts Center and next to the site for the new 31,000 square foot Regional Library. The downtown park offers beautiful green space, public art, games such as Bocce, table tennis, foosball, checkers and chess with a fountain as the focal point.

Marla Dorrell: a play area where kids of all physical and mental ability can enjoy fully-integrated play in a multi-sensory environment that challenges both muscles and minds.

For a complete list of Cary Parks, including Dog parks and nature parks, see the town of Cary’s website.

The Town of Cary currently maintains nearly 100 miles of greenways and trails throughout the city. And the Town is committed to continuing to make Cary a walkable and active community. Future proposed greenways will include an additional 145 miles. Because of the Town of Cary’s commitment, Walk Friendly Communities recently upgraded Cary’s walkability status from Bronze to Silver.

The following greenways are the longest in Cary. You can find a list here of all the greenways in Cary, along with their trail length. However, keep in mind that even the shorter greenways, in many cases, connect to the longer ones. The grand plan for Town of Cary Greenways is an interconnected system creating a walkable community.

The American Tobacco Trail

Often called the “ATT”, it stretches through 3 counties of the Triangle. It was built by the Triangle Trails to Rails Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to converting abandoned railroad tracks into vibrant, usable green space.

The Wake County section of the American Tobacco Trail is located in West Cary. Due to the lack of utilities where the greenway was built, there are off-grid restroom facilities. The facilities were beautifully designed with upscale architecture using wood beams and plenty of natural light.

The Black Creek Greenway

The longest trail in Cary at 7.1 miles long. It begins at Lake Crabtree, Proceeds through North Cary Park and Robert Godbold Park (Cary Sk8 Park), ending at Bond Park, where it connects with multiple other trails, including the White Oak Greenway. The Black Creek/White Oak Greenway within Cary is part of the East Coast Greenway, which will eventually stretch from Maine to Florida.

White Oak Creek Greenway

Combined with the Black Creek Greenway, the White Oak Greenway represents the backbone of the greenway system. When completed, these two greenways will connect to the American Tobacco Trail, Durham, Bond Park, Lake Crabtree County Park, Umstead State Park, and Raleigh as well as the East Coast Greenway, connecting main to Florida.

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Ellen Pitts is a Triangle Area Realtor™ and real estate blogger at The Harmony Blog. She specializes in Wake County Real Estate.