What it is: is a large flood-control catchment located just south of RDU airport. The area is bounded by I-40, , and the north shore of the lake form a big , with lots of trails for hiking and mountain biking. While there is no swimming, the lake shore has a huge playfield for kite-flying or playing ball, with an area from which wind-surfers take off, as well as shaded picnic tables and shelters. There are also boat ramps and docks, and fishing piers. But the main attraction is a boat rental center from which you can rent paddle boats, canoes, kayaks and small .
What we liked: Our daughters, now 2 and 4, are just old enough to sit still for 30 minutes at a time, and we were looking for a new adventure on a very hot and muggy day. The lake seems to have a lovely permanent breeze. We chose kayaks, because they are very lightweight and easy to propel, especially since our kids wouldn't be helping with paddling (these are the kind of kayaks that can't roll over). I had the youngest on my lap in a 1-person kayak, and my husband had the eldest in front in a two-person kayak, and everyone really had fun for 30 minutes before boredom set in. The center supplies safety vests for all ages.
What we would change: Be sure to apply sunscreen, and pack along hats and/or sunglasses, as well as some bottled water! The park used to have vending machines, but these were vandalized, so there are no longer any drinks or food for sale. Near the boat center is a picnic shelter with bathrooms and a water fountain.
Website and other important information:
Location: From I-40, take Aviation Parkway south, and take the first left for the park entrance.
Hours: The park is open -sunset seven days a week. Boat rentals are open on weekends only with the last boat leaving the shore at 5pm, mid-April to Labor Day Weekend.
Cost: Park entry is free. Boat rentals are CASH ONLY, and require a refundable $20 deposit per boat. Rental rates are about $5/hour per boat.
Park office: Lake Crabtreet County Park, . .
Boat rental center: .
1. The boat rental center at Lake Crabtree