Durham sits in central North Carolina as a prominent city in the Research Triangle. The city is the fourth most populated in North Carolina and offers it’s citizens recreation, history, and culture all for free if you know where to look.
There are lots of options to hike in Durham! Duke Forest offers hiking and running trails among its 7,000 acres. There are hiking maps available at every Forest Gate to show the marked paths they have for you. The American Tobacco Trail offers over 22 miles to explore across Downtown Durham and into Wake County and Chatham County if you want to make the entire journey. With many entry points, the paved trail is relatively easy to navigate. If you would like a path with views, head to Eno River State Park. This park offers 30 miles of trails that lead you along the Eno River to offer nice swimming spots, like West Point on the Eno. It covers a 2-mile stretch of the river but provides a great location to cool off in the hot days of summer.
For a shorter walks around town, head to Penny’s Bend Nature Reserve to see rare plants and a distinctive forest type. Also, the Duke Arts Annex offers a satellite park of eight decommissioned satellites that now serve as murals. Durham Mural has created a self-guided tour of all the murals in the city, so you don’t need to stop at the satellites! If you are looking for a museum to wander, consider the V & E Simonetti Historic Tuba Collection. They have five rooms filled with tubas of all variety and from models as far back as 1830! Just remember that they are only open Tuesdays and Thursdays and that you need an appointment to take the tour of the museum. Want an even more comfortable trip? Visit Major, the Bull! Located in the city center, this bronze bull has stood for 16 years and is happy to take any selfies with you as long as you don’t try to ride him.
If you would rather spend your day learning about the history Durham has to offer, you are in luck! There are three historic sites open in Durham: Bennett Place State Historic Site, Duke Homestead State Historic Site, and Stagville State Historic Site. Bennett Place commemorates the largest surrender of the American Civil War. With a museum, reenactments, and much more, you will leave feeling like an expert on this chapter of the civil war. Duke Homestead explores the early life of the Washington Duke and his family when they lived on that estate from 1852 to 1874. Here you can take guided tours of their home, their farm, and their tobacco factory. The third historic site in Durham, Stagville State, holds one of the largest plantations in North Carolina. Stagville will teach you about the lives of people who lived on this plantation as far back as 1787.
All of these attractions are free to attend and a lot of fun! Now explore Durham!