Raleigh sunflowers start appearing when the hottest days of summer come to the Piedmont of North Carolina, but it’s such a beautiful thing to miss, so don’t! Previously, you could find them along the Neuse River Greenway Trail, but now they’ve moved to Dorothea Dix Park so people can enjoy them without climbing fences and breaking rules. So let’s check out this spot and some of our favorite photos from a day enjoying sunflowers in Oak City!
It was originally created on July 16, 2016. It has been maintained and updated (as of May 23, 2019) to reflect current viewpoints and travel trends.
First, I absolutely recommend you arrive early at the sunflower field. Of course, I always say that if you want to avoid crowds. We arrived as early 7:30 am and there have been huge crowds. I’m not saying you should camp out overnight, but just make this one of the first things you do if you want some awesome people-less photos! A couple of other things, bring sunscreen and some bug spray (earth-friendly, of course!) to cope with the hot sun that’s coming and any critters that are hanging around the sunflowers. Just don’t spray any bees with it!
Dorothea Dix Park
Clocking in at 308 acres, Dorothea Dix Park is the largest city park in Raleigh. Aside from housing the sunflowers in 2019 (and hopefully beyond), there are lots of cool spots to hang out, have a picnic, fly a kite, and just enjoy the scenery. It’s one of our favorite patches of green space in the area and there’s also cool views of the city’s skyline from some parts, including the spot where the sunflowers were planted for 2019.
In case you didn’t know, Dorothea Dix was a fairly noteworthy person (understatement) and her tireless efforts were the focus of Dorothea Dix: Advocate for Mental Health Care by Meg Muckenhoupt.
The Sunflower Field
Starting in 2010, the sunflowers moved around different parts of the area around the Neuse River Greenway Trail. In 2018, it moved to Dorothea Dix Park in a more comfortable spot. We couldn’t be happier! They’re expected to bloom between July 4-17, which means there’s not a lot of time. Hopefully, you’ll get to see them!
These sunflowers are eventually taken and used for biofuel that power city vehicles, so that’s another reason to go check this out and support the effort. Honestly, I think this is a great way to mix earth-friendly practices with tourism and really applaud the efforts of Raleigh for making this more accessible to visitors. I always felt like we were trespassing (we probably were) by going up and seeing the beautiful flowers, but they were hard to avoid. Now, we’re able to check them out without the worry of breaking any rules!
Our Thoughts and Yours, Too!
Is it worth it? Maybe this batch of sunflower porn tells you what I think. Just seeing the colors and so many of them justify the drive and walk out there. Standing tall, which ain’t too bad when you’ve got the sun to contend with during the hot summer. A happy sunflower is a good sunflower to see. Is this worth it?
What do you think of these Raleigh sunflowers? Would you get up early or wait until later and brave the heat for them? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below:)