12 Ideas for Summer Fun in the Triangle

Raleigh, Durham and Chapel-Hill are the three wonderful cities that make up the North Carolina Triangle region. If you are interested in branching out and exploring some fun activities this summer, check out the recommendations from OIS below or comment with any you have found for yourself:

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough

occoneechee-mountain-state-natural-area-1187857Explore the natural beauty of the Triangle this summer! Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area boasts high scenic views and riverside trails. Occoneechee Mountain is the highest point in Orange County and is recognized as one of the most important natural areas in the Triangle. After your hike, head into historic downtown Hillsborough to enjoy the small-town charm and fantastic restaurants (LaPlace Louisiana Cookery is my favorite). Recommended by Kendra Lilley.

Triangle fun for all ages

blueberryThere are a ton of things to do in the Triangle area.  If you are looking particularly for things to do with family (including young children) two sites that I really enjoy are WRAL’s “GoAskMom”, which has news regarding upcoming events including museum exhibits, street festivals, concerts, and consignment sales.  In addition to that, http://www.carolinaparent.com/ has great resources for things to do in the area, and you can find their free monthly magazine at most newstands.  Of particular interest right now- and fun for all ages…Blueberry picking!  Carolina Parent and WRAL’s GoAskMom both have databases of local farms where you can pick seasonal produce or spend a fun day in the country around the Triangle.  Recommended by Beth James.

American Tobacco Campus, Durham, NC

atcampusTime to use that GoPass and get to a neighboring city in the Triangle!  A great spot to try is the American Tobacco Campus, home of WUNC Public Radio, the Durham Bulls Ballpark, the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), and a number of restaurants.  During the summer there is a series of free concerts every Thursday night from May to September called the Back Porch Music on the Lawn series.  Shows start at 6pm.  You can bring your own food and drink (but no glass).  See the full line-up and take in a free show in the heart of Durham’s historic tobacco district!  Recommended by Beth James.

Duke Lemur Center

Logo3DLCGo see the habitat of the lemurs and other primates that are cared for and studied (non-evasively).These tours fill up fast and you must have a reservation to particpate in a tour. So contact them early.  Recommended by Kelia Hubbard


NC Museum of Life and Science

North-Carolina-Museum-of-Natural-Sciences-20070321Interactive indoor museum as well as outdoor “mini” zoo and playground area. Fun for all ages. Recommended by Kelia Hubbard


Lake Wheeler Park

2012sep_yates_mill_dave_randolphA wonderful park for camping, hiking, fishing and getting some really great pictures. Recommended by Kelia Hubbard


The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)

ncmuseum10The NCMA has something for everyone! In addition to its wonderful collection of art, the museum hosts several special events and programs throughout the summer. After spending some time in the galleries, I highly recommend taking a walk around the beautiful Museum Park where you can check out more than a dozen works of art. Afterwards, hang out for one of NCMA’s outdoor summer films or an outdoor concert in the ampitheatre. Admission to the Museum’s permanent collection and Museum Park is free, however there is a charge for some special exhibitions and programs, such as concerts, films, classes, and performances.   Recommended by Alexis McCloskey

Durham Bulls Athletic Park

DBAP_Home_ov1i0fqb_uyrqor39Go to a Durham Bulls baseball game!  The Bulls are a local Triple-A team (the level right below Major League Baseball) and are affiliated with the Florida Marlins baseball organization.  I recommend either going on a College Night or when the Bulls plan to show fireworks after the game.  Go early to try out some of the area restaurants as well –Recommended by Lauren Ball

Lake Johnson

lakejLake Johnson is located on Avent Ferry Road a few blocks past Food Lion so its easily accessible for people who live around campus.  Lake Johnson has both paved and unpaved paths for you to enjoy and picnic areas that can be reserved for events and get-togethers.  My favorite Lake Johnson summer activity is to rent a boat and paddle around the lake using one of their paddle boats, canoes or kayaks.  Afterwards you can cool off with an ice cream cone purchased at the main office (where you rent your boats).  An ID is required to rent a boat – Recommended by Lauren Ball

Audio Under the Stars

audioAudio Under the Stars is an awesome event that happens once a month in Durham, NC, and it just so happens to be free! Bring a blanket and some friends and prepare to enjoy a lovely evening filled with audio stories. The Center for Documentary Studies in Durham has been having these events for a few summers. They record local people and their stories, typically about a specific theme for the evening, and play the recordings out loud for everyone to enjoy. I have been to Audio Under the Stars a few times now and I can’t say enough good things about it – Recommended by Anna Grace FitzGerald

Eno River Rock Quarry

quarryIf you’re looking for a lovely swimming hole to cool off in, this is a North Carolina must! Located on the Orange Co./Durham Co. border, this quarry is a great place to spend an afternoon just floating around. There is a short hike through the trails, but it is a really popular summer destination so you’re bound to run into fellow swimmers on the way if you get a little lost! Make sure to bring a towel, some bug spray, and plenty of snacks. There is no lifeguard present at the quarry, so it is highly advised that young swimmers have adult supervision at all times. This quarry is also quite large, so be smart and don’t swim out farther than you can handle, because you’re going to have to swim back to shore.The quarry is definitely one of my favorite places to go during the hot NC summer – Recommended by Anna Grace FitzGerald

Outdoor Concerts

amp-aerialIf you enjoy live music, check the schedule of some of the amphitheaters.  There are several in the area such as Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Red Hat Amphitheatre and Koka Booth Amphitheatre.  You can find a wide variety of music at these venues throughout the summer and prices of tickets vary depending on the performers.  Open air concerts is one of my favorite parts of summer! – Recommended by Stacy Telligman

Student Spotlight: Vidya Srinivasan, Program Manager: Microsoft


How did you become interested in Computer Science?

Growing up, I was very interested in math and problem solving. And I was surrounded by extended family members who pursued Computer Science, so part of me was curious to explore that field. I took a few introductory CS classes in high school and it felt like a natural fit.

What is your academic background?

I have a Bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Masters in Computer Science.

With which organizations are you involved?

I’m a passionate Women in Tech advocate, and have served on the Grace Hopper Leadership Committee since 2014. GHC is the world’s largest conference for women in computing. This year, I’m Co-Chair of the Open Source Day committee where I lead a team of six across US and Europe, and work with nine open source organizations to conduct Code-A-Thon for Humanity.

I speak at Tech conferences on a variety of topics. Recent conferences include: Codess Seattle, Grace Hopper Conference, and Voices Conference.

I also do volunteer work. I’m a guest speaker for Skype in the Classroom—a program that aims at enriching educational experiences around the world. And I’m a designer for Asha for Education, which strives to promote education to underprivileged kids.

How did you get to where you are today?

Hard work and networking. I met with Microsoft representatives at the Fall 2010 Career Fair and was invited to interview. I got an internship offer and spent my summer exploring Microsoft and Seattle. At the end of my internship, I was nominated as the Microsoft Intern Ambassador for NCSU and offered a full-time position. Even three years later it can feel like I’m just getting started. There’s always more to learn.

What are your other interests?

I’m a singer. Since I was three years old I’ve trained in Indian classical music.  I’ve performed live, sang in four Indian TV channels, and lent my voice for a couple of short films. Currently, I sing with bands in Seattle to raise funds for non-profit organizations.

I also love participating in Hackathons. I feel hackathons are a great place to meet like-minded techies. I mostly work on “Technology for Good” projects. Last year, my team won the Microsoft Global Hackathon and took the “ice bucket challenge” with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. Our grand prize was a review session with Satya to present our hack roadmap. Presenting to the CEO of Microsoft is easily one of the highlights of my career.

What advice do you have for women in Computer Science and other STEM fields?

It’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out when you start. Just do it anyway. Life is a series of experiments. Win or lose. These experiences are essential in understanding yourself better.


  1. Grace Hopper Conference for women in Computing: http://gracehopper.org/
  2. Skype in the Classroom: https://education.skype.com/
  3. Asha for Education: http://www.ashanet.org/seattle/
  4. Codess Seattle: http://www.codess.net/events/seattle