Only Guide You Need for the Raleigh Sunflowers Field in North Carolina

Their vibrant colors were almost as bright as my smile as the Raleigh sunflowers basked in the North Carolina sun. We visited on a Sunday afternoon, which admittedly, was probably a peak time to see the premiere sunflower field in NC.

But we couldn’t worry about the crowds when we approached the beautiful expanse of summer blooms; they were there to see the same beauty we came to soak in. Having gone for two years and planning to go again in the future, I have a few tips for a successful visit. I plan to continue updating this post each year.

Here’s all you need to know about the best flower field in the state’s capital city.

Note: It is unfortunate, but understandable, that the City of Raleigh has made the decision to not proceed with planting the sunflowers in 2020 due to the pandemic. Their statement reveals how difficult it would be to ensure visitors socially distance. However, we feel the information in this article will both inspire you to keep it on your radar for future years and perhaps even inspire you to plant your own garden at home!

We look forward to visiting the sunflower field in Raleigh in 2021 (hopefully!) and beyond!

Location, Hours and Cost of the Raleigh Sunflowers

The sunflowers are in Dorothea Dix Park, near the Raleigh Farmers Market just outside downtown Raleigh. They’re open daily from dawn to dusk, including holidays. (Please note, however, while the park is open daily all year, the sunflowers are a seasonal attraction. Read on for more information.)

There isn’t a cost to see this stunning, ever-so-popular for photos, sunflower field at all! It’s free to visit. (See “Things to Do Nearby” later in the post to shop local to support the community.)

GPS Address: Flowers Field at Dix Park, 2105 Umstead Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

Parking and Walking to the Sunflower Field in Raleigh

We visited the sunflowers in 2019 once before peak and once afterwards (with sunflowers-a-plenty!) and have driven directly into the lot without issue. The busiest we’ve seen it during random weekdays was maybe ten other cars there. Back in 2018, we spontaneously decided to go on an absolutely gorgeous Sunday afternoon, July 8. It took about five minutes to sit in “traffic” to get to the parking lot. The dense car crowd had a lot to do with the influx of visitors when we went, who probably all had the same idea we did! “It’s gorgeous! There are sunflowers in bloom! Let’s go be outside amongst the flowers!”

The walk from the parking lot near the soccer field to the sunflowers was about 50 yards – not far at all. The further you park within the dirt lot, the closer you are to the flower field. Some people parked further away and walked over but I noticed signs that said those lots weren’t for the sunflowers. 😉

We also saw a fair amount of people who biked to the park, which we thought was a great idea.

**Please note you cannot park at Dorothea Dix Park during SunFest. See below for more information on that under “Special Events.”**

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

Time to Allot 

It depends on what you want to accomplish. We saw a good amount of families taking photos with a professional photographer while some parents were taking iPhone photos of their children dressed in matching outfits. Then we saw couples taking selfies but even more teenage and college women dressed to the nines, having friends take Instagram-worthy pictures of them. They were probably there a bit longer than we were.

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Our interest was simply in going to see the field, snap a few photos of the Raleigh sunflowers for ourselves, take a selfie or two, and be on our way. We asked someone to snap some photos of us with my camera as well. It probably took us about 30 minutes once we arrived to Dorothea Dix to:

  • Navigate the congestion of cars and park
  • Walk to the sunflowers from parking
  • See the flower fields
  • Walk through the rows of flowers a little
  • Take some photos…
  • …and be on our way

Pets at the Flower Fields

We saw a few people with their dogs, so yes, pets are welcome on a leash. Just be kind about curbing your pet’s waste if you bring Fido along.

How Long are the Raleigh Sunflowers in Bloom? 

The estimated bloom time for 2019 was July 1st through 17th. It’s hard to say how long they’ll be in bloom for each year, though, since it’s nature.

In 2018, they were in full bloom on Sunday, July 8, and appeared to still be growing (like they would be in bloom at least another two weeks) until July 23.

Last year, as of July 29, 2019, some flowers had passed their prime while there were thousands more still in bloom! See below.

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields
Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields
Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

It’s still pretty cool to see the huge sunflowers that are past their prime. I’ve never seen the seeds dry and easily removed like they were on them! You could literally see how the seeds dried out, then take them out of the face of the sunflower.

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

For future reference here’s what the sunflowers looked like before peak, as of July 5, 2019. They were about three feet (or less) in height. They still needed time to grow! **Don’t forget that the incredible North Carolina State Farmer’s Market is only about a mile away and open daily, whether or not the sunflowers are in bloom. Support your local farmers!**

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields
Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

The photos below are from last year, the second week of July. Thus, as we mentioned, nature is unpredictable to 100% certainty. We do our best to keep you updated and keep past years in this post as a history of what’s occurred in the past since we update it yearly. 

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

In general it seems the Raleigh sunflowers blooming schedule is in its peak during the first and second weeks of July.

  • Last year, in 2019, the first week of July showed flowers not yet open and green stems about three feet or less.
  • The third week of July 2019 was peak. The fourth week of July still showed plenty of sunflowers in bloom even though many were passed their prime.
  • In 2018, the first week of July was ideal.
  • In 2017, the end of June was the perfect time to see them.

As with any blooming schedule, like the Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC, keep your expectations realistic. If you have gone in the past and they were towards the end of the line, be grateful you saw a glimpse of them! Also, notate “Raleigh Sunflowers” in your Google or iCal for the first or second week of July in 2021, so you’ll potentially be right on time in the future! And be sure to keep visiting our site, Sometimes Home, for updates.

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Keep in mind flowers are seasonal – but that’s part of what makes us cherish them so much during summer. And for the last two years there was an additional small attractive flower field just next to the sunflowers. They kept us happy even past the prime of the sunflowers. They looked like the orange flowers below.

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

When to Go to this North Carolina Sunflower Field

Season

Please note they are only in bloom June through August. And, within those three months, July is almost guaranteed but June and August are unpredictable.  See “How Long are The Raleigh Sunflowers in Bloom?” above for more info.

Time of Day

The park is open from dawn to dusk (sunrise to sunset). The earlier you go, whether a weekday or weekend, the less busy it will be. The interesting thing about sunflowers is the way their giant heads track the sun. Sunflowers are MAGICAL. They possess “heliotropism“, which is an ability to track the sun. It’s also known as solar tracking.

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

This means the sunflowers will be facing towards the east during sunrise and the west towards sunset. (The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.) We went in the afternoon and they were facing towards the downtown Raleigh skyline. This means if you were standing with the skyline behind you, you saw the “back” of the sunflower heads and stems. They may only face east, though, once they mature. (Partially because heliotropism is a result of the way the flower is going through stem growth and once it’s mature it stops growing.)

If you want to get there when the Raleigh sunflowers are facing towards your back, when it’s the picture-perfect time to capture your face facing a camera and the sunflower heads facing towards it too, with downtown Raleigh’s skyline, go in the morning.

Day of the Week

We went on a weekend and it was crowded, but somewhat less so than I expected. Weekdays will be less crowded simply because most people work Monday through Friday. However, you never know!

Special Events

SunFest is an annual event that typically takes place the second weekend Saturday in July. Saturday, July 13, 2019 from 2:00pm to 9:00pm. They had a Ferris wheel, inflatable slides and bounce houses, putt putt golf, live music and other special vendors. Food trucks were plentiful and there were fresh brews and cider for the adults like the year before.

SunFest has been canceled for 2020. We will continue to update this post with pertinent information for future years, as we have done the past three years.

Other very important things to note: 

  • **Dogs and pets were not allowed for this event.**
  • **Parking and ride share pickup/drop off was available at NC State Centennial Campus with a free shuttle running to/from the park until 11:00pm.**

Things to do Nearby

We absolutely loved walking around the Raleigh Farmers Market after we had a lovely time with the Raleigh sunflowers. The time of year when sunflowers are at their peak happens to also be an amazing time to be at the farmers market. The tomatoes were divine, the blueberries and peaches in season, and the plant vendors fully stocked. We bought a good amount of produce and succulents to take home!

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Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, including the Farmers Market and assorted restaurants, with photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

There’s also Boulted Bread just blocks away, an amazing view at Lonnie Poole golf course across the road at NC State campus (great place to grab a beer), and incredible museums, photo spots, and restaurants downtown.

If you have the time, and you’re in from out of town for these beauties staying more than a day, check out all there is to do in Durham as well. It’s just thirty minutes northwest of downtown Raleigh.

 

Bring Snacks, Water, Sunscreen and Sunglasses

There was one taco food truck nearby, just a pathway walk away, while we were there. However it was mostly there for the adult soccer playing engaged in a soccer game in the adjacent park field. While there may be a food truck while you’re there on a weekend, I wouldn’t count on it.

Bring water and sunscreen – both of which you’ll be grateful you have! There isn’t any relief from the sun (no trees overhead for shade) which is why I mentioned sunglasses too. A hat or visor may also be a great idea.

Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields

Bathrooms and Bees

We saw one portable “potty” when we were there. I wouldn’t really plan to use a restroom there – if you can go before or after your visit, do so.

I wanted to also include a note about the bees. If you can see from most of my photos, there are plenty of bees on the Raleigh sunflowers. If you have a bee phobia (melissophobia, as it’s called) this may not be the place for you.

However, if bees don’t bother you as long as they keep to themselves, you’ll be a-okay. They were way more interested in the sunflowers than humans. In fact, I didn’t see them flying around humans at all; they were cozy on the sunflowers and too busy pollinating them to notice there were people around!

For more to do in the Raleigh Durham area, check out:

Have a question we didn’t answer? Feel free to comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it asap! Also be sure to pin the image below for future reference of this post.
Raleigh sunflowers in North Carolina, with all the information you need to make your visit a success. Sometimes Home travel blog includes things to do at the flower fields near downtown, photos to help you get the most from your travel and summer visit to this beautiful city attraction. Click through for all the information! #RaleighNC #VisitRaleigh #Raleigh #RaleighNorthCaorlina #FlowerFields #Sunflowers #SunflowerFields
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6 Comments

  1. Venkata
    July 4, 2019 / 11:10 am

    I visited this place last year same time it was like how it’s mentioned in this article. I again visited yesterday (July 3rd 2019); there were no flowers at all. Plants were not even mature to flower. I have seen a few others returning with disappointment.

    • July 5, 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Hi Venkata! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. We stopped by the area too and have updated the post, with photos, as of today. We do our best to keep things updated – since we travel so much we’re only able to do so as we’re back home in Raleigh. We are okay with mentioning nature is unpredictable and an estimation of the peak time(s), which we believe we state fully and transparently in the post. We’ll keep an eye on it next week, the week of July 8th, too and add updates in about a week (we think it will take a week or so at least to see many more flowers blossom)! We hope everyone who wants to see them gets a chance, even if they need to return! And that the vast information in this post, from location to parking to the festival and history of the sunflowers peak times through the years, is helpful to many people.

      • Venkata
        July 5, 2019 / 6:22 pm

        Thank you for considering my comment, ensuring the correctness and updating the article accordingly including the pics. I agree that nature is unpredictable and that what makes it thrilling too! Do you think the people who maintain the sunflower garden sow them late this year due to weather?

        • July 5, 2019 / 7:31 pm

          Of course! We really value our readers and their comments and sincerely appreciate that you’re here, and you’ve contributed! Hmmm, that’s a good question but since we’re not at all associated with the people who maintain the sunflowers or Dorothea Dix, it’d simply be a best guess. We know for sure we’re grateful they keep planting them though for public, complimentary enjoyment. It’s pretty amazing they do that! We’re actually always impressed by the flowers on the interstates in North Carolina too. It’s like instant awareness when you leave NC because you notice the lack of beautiful flowers on your drive nearly immediately!

          • July 6, 2019 / 5:13 pm

            Also don’t forget the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market is nearby! Just about a mile. So if you/anyone reading this goes to the sunflowers and are looking for something additional to do it’s a great place to visit as well. Definitely inspiring and colorful! And purposeful for some fresh veggies, flowers and fruit!

          • Venkata
            July 6, 2019 / 5:33 pm

            Thank you very much for the details. I will visit the market next weekend for some fresh fruits and vegetables 😊

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