When we decided to move to the Raleigh, NC, area, we searched high and low for the perfect house and town for our family. We chose Knightdale, NC, a suburb to the east of Raleigh, to be our new home, and we couldn’t be happier! Located just a stone’s throw away from Raleigh, Knightdale offers the perfect blend of suburban charm and urban convenience. If you’re considering a move to or within the Raleigh area, Knightdale should be at the top of your list. Or perhaps you’re a local who wants to see their town through a fresh set of eyes. Want to learn more? Here are my top 15 reasons why I LOVE living in Knightdale
Last Updated: December 22, 2023
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1. Knightdale, NC’s Proximity to Raleigh and Beyond
Living in Knightdale gives us great access to the city. We can get to downtown Raleigh in under 20 minutes, which means that we can enjoy amazing museums, dining, shopping, parks, art, and entertainment venues.
However, Raleigh isn’t the only perk of our location. We are close to the beach compared to other areas of the Triangle. We also have easy access to many other charming North Carolina towns, such as Wendell, Clayton, Wake Forest, Zebulon, and Rolesville. These are all rapidly growing towns, and each one has its own unique personality and quaint downtown. We are also close to locally-owned farms, which means it’s easier to find farmstands, buy fresh produce, and drive past serene farmland.
Lastly, the southern loop of Interstate 540 will be completed over the next few years, adding improved connectivity to towns like Clayton, Garner, Holly Springs, Cary, Apex, and Fuquay-Varina. This will also serve as an alternate route to Research Triangle Park (RTP) and Chapel Hill. This improved connectivity is only going to add to the town’s growth.
2. Affordable Housing Compared to Other Areas of the Triangle
This was a big one for us. Being a family on one income, with two young children, we knew we needed to find a home that financially worked for us. We looked throughout the Triangle, but it was challenging to find the quality and value that we found in Knightdale anywhere else within our price range.
I’ll admit that we looked in places like Cary, Chapel Hill, and Apex, as we wanted to be close to our family in that area. But when we realized we could get a home for $100k – $200k less here in Knightdale, it was an easy choice for us. Don’t underestimate the peace of mind that comes from having some financial breathing room!
3. Safety and Community Support
Knightdale is investing in the future and its citizens’ safety. The Town is actively building two new fire stations and getting two new fire engines. It’s also renovating another fire station, increasing fire and police personnel, and expanding its public safety center. I have never felt unsafe walking through my neighborhood. Most public areas are very well-lit.
Our community has had some growing pains, but for the most part, it feels like a quiet, close-knit community. I have heard countless stories of how kind, helpful, and responsive the Knightdale police officers and firefighters are. They love to be involved and present in the community.
4. Family-Friendly Amenities
There are plenty of activities and amenities for children in the area. My kids love the beautiful playgrounds at Knightdale Station Park and Harper Park. Children can get ice cream, feed the goats, and enjoy a petting zoo at Haven Farm. Community festivals are family-friendly, with inflatables and countless activities for the kids.
Knightdale is home to Wake County’s East Regional Library, which continuously holds events for children of all ages. Police and Fire divisions are always at community events with booths that give out free coloring books, crayons, and plastic firefighter hats. There are a good number of rec leagues for youth sports here, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s probably only a short drive away. I can say wholeheartedly that my children love living here!
5. Knightdale, NC’s Education Choices
Whether you want to consider Wake County Public Schools, including Magnet schools, charter schools, or private schools, Knightdale has options within the town or very close by. I would suggest that if you’re a parent who is considering moving anywhere in North Carolina, you should review the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey for any school your new home might be assigned to. For Wake County Public Schools, you can use this search feature to figure out what your base school would be and start your research from there.
As Knightdale grows, so will its schools. Lockhart Elementary is scheduled for a major renovation to be completed by 2027. Hodge Road Elementary is a Spanish Dual Language Magnet Elementary School. The schools in Knightdale offer both traditional and year-round calendars (depending on the location). Some schools offer smaller class sizes, particularly in the elementary schools around here. Few, if any, of the schools in our area are capped.
I have heard plenty of people say that the teachers in our local schools are wonderful. Quite a few of our neighbors are public school teachers at Knightdale High School and in other schools throughout the area. They are kind and dedicated to their profession. We are also close to some award-winning Magnet and charter schools within Raleigh.
Thales Academy is a highly-regarded private school located in the neighborhood of Knightdale Station. Some examples of charter schools close to Knightdale include Doral Academy in Raleigh, Cardinal Charter Academy of Wendell Falls, and East Wake Academy in Zebulon, NC. So, options abound!
However, I am not a school options expert, and my children aren’t old enough to be in the school system yet (although we’ll be there by Fall 2024!). So, I’d encourage you to join some of the mom or parent Facebook groups to learn more about the area and do your research! Contact Wake County Public Schools to learn more about your options within the public school system. Many realtors offer free consultations to help new families navigate their school options since Wake County is so unique compared to other places in the country.
Ultimately, trust your gut…You know your kids better than anyone else! For higher education, a plethora of major public and private universities are all within a 20-60 minute drive.
6. Convenient Shopping
We have big-box shopping and big-name brands such as Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Best Buy, Lowes Foods Grocery Store, Michaels, Kirkland’s, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Panera, Petsmart, and coming soon- Sports Academy + Outdoors. Where we moved from in Virginia, it used to take me 20 minutes each way to get to Lowe’s. Now, it’s a quick four-minute drive up the road. For me, the convenience and time saved is SO valuable. We also have easy access to highways for places like Sam’s Club, Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc., in Raleigh.
Additionally, we have a small but excellent selection of small businesses within Knightdale, and more are opening all the time. Developments like Downtown North will massively expand these options in the years to come. If you’d like to learn more about our small businesses, including restaurants or shopping, check out the Eastern Wake Love Facebook page, where I highlight some of my favorites! You’re also always welcome to contact me if you’d like more personalized recommendations.
7. Healthcare and Community Health
We have excellent access to world-class healthcare. Depending on where you are in town, you are less than 10-20 minutes away from WakeMed’s Level I trauma center. We also have great access to primary care providers and specialists. There are a good number of medical and dental offices throughout the community, with more to come.
Many newer communities are very pedestrian-friendly. The town plans to continue this access by ensuring newer communities have an opportunity to connect streets with older ones to allow more opportunities for walking and biking for all of its residents.
Currently, Knightdale has a community recreation center, but it is shared with Forestville Road Elementary School. However, a new one is coming! The Town has contracted for a needs assessment and conceptual design of the center to be completed this year. The goal is to begin construction on the new center by fiscal year 2028. Additionally, the Triangle YMCA has land set aside in Knightdale for a facility next to their pool, which is located in Knightdale Station Park. So, more health and recreational opportunities will be available in the future.
Are you a fitness enthusiast? If so, there are a good amount of private gyms and/or workout programs here, like Burn Boot Camp, Camp Gladiator, UNC’s REX Wellness Center, Planet Fitness, etc. If you’re an avid pickleball or tennis player, you can check out the scene at Harper Park. Or perhaps you enjoy something more chill, like disc golf or yoga in the park. If so, then Knightdale Station Park will have what you’re looking for. Do you love long bike rides or runs? Then go check out the Mingo Creek Greenway Trail, which links up to the Neuse River Greenway Trail, giving Knightdale residents access to over 30 miles of trail to enjoy.
Lastly, multiple assisted-living facilities and 55+ communities are currently being planned and/or built. Knightdale’s Parks and Recreation Department is working hard to ensure programming is available for seniors in the community. Lower-impact exercises such as Aqua Zumba and 55+ destination trips are a few examples of programming offered.
8. Excellent Parks and Greenways With More To Come
Knightdale has some beautiful parks. Another wonderful amenity is the Mingo Creek Greenway Trail which will be extended an additional 1.3 miles to Knightdale Station Park with an anticipated completion timeframe of summer 2024. If you would like to learn more about current and future greenway or pedestrian plans, you can review Knightdale’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan.
Greenspace is a priority for Knightdale residents, according to the first annual Knightdale Community Survey. Future parks are also planned, such as Panther Rock Park, as well as additions to existing parks. If you would like to learn more about the Town’s future vision for its park facilities, you can read its Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Master Plan.
9. Small Town Feel
To me, Knightdale feels like a very close-knit community. After the first few months of getting over the chaos of moving, it began to be pretty easy to put down roots here. The people here are so friendly! There are plenty of opportunities to be involved locally.
Some ways to be civically active include the Rotary Club of Knightdale, Town-based academies like the Mayor’s Academy, and Citizen Advisory Boards. I’ve also run into neighbors many times while shopping or grabbing some food at a local restaurant or brewery. There are multiple places of worship, each with its own culture and ways in which they enjoy giving back to their community.
The town understands the importance of place-making and a sense of community. With this, they are planning to bring back the Farmer’s Market and will be starting a public art program in 2024! If you are interested in being involved here, you will almost certainly find an avenue to build your community and find your people! And if you’re looking for events in the area, check out my Eastern Wake Love: Community Events group page for more information.
10. Professional Opportunities
Thanks to easy highway access, Knightdale is close to job hubs like RTP, downtown Raleigh, and multiple universities. This region is growing rapidly, with companies moving to towns throughout the Triangle. The Town of Knightdale is also committed to attracting more businesses to ensure that more of its residents can work, live, and play all in one community.
11. Plans For Growth Within Knightdale, NC, and Beyond
There are so many new, beautifully constructed neighborhoods with excellent amenities coming to the town. I’d encourage anyone to take a look at the Town’s development page and Knightdale’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan for more information. In fact, the town is growing so quickly that it’s currently in the process of updating the comprehensive plan, which should be complete by summer 2024. One of the most exciting opportunities for the town is Downtown North. This development will add to Knightdale’s downtown district and could include up to 500,000 square feet of commercial space. It will essentially build a whole new town center, all walkable from Knightdale Station Park.
The Town also just approved a new plan for a River District that will highlight the beauty of the Neuse River. This district will be such a unique addition to the region and another gem for our community.
There are also other big changes coming very close to Knightdale. Just a few of these developments include a new community college, Wake Tech Eastern Wake 4.0 campus less than 10 minutes away in Wendell, more shopping, medical, and dining options in Wendell Falls’ Treelight Square and The Collective, Ascent Movie Studios in Spring Hope, NC, the Kellam-Wyatt Farm Park Project in East Raleigh, and the Wake Bus Rapid Transit line off New Bern Avenue from East Raleigh to downtown Raleigh, which just began construction in Fall of 2023.
Those examples of growth and opportunity are just the tip of the iceberg. I predict in the next 10-20 years, we will see even further growth coming from towns within an hour further east, like Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Greenville. So, as a young(ish) family, it’s exciting to be in a place where you can actively see the change and enhanced amenities that come with it.
12. Weather and Seasons
One thing that I have always loved is the change of seasons in this region. We get to experience the blossoming of spring, the hot, lazy days of summer, the cool crisp autumn mornings and changing colors of the leaves, and even the occasional snowfall. However, winters here are so mild that you won’t have to wait very long for that snow to melt away. One day you might be bundled up sipping hot cocoa, and the next day it just might be warm enough for shorts and flip-flops.
13. Natural Beauty
I get to enjoy quiet farmland, quaint gardens, huge Southern Magnolias, Live Oak trees, gorgeous hydrangeas, and flowering azaleas, all within walking distance from my home. Birds regularly visit our bird feeders, butterflies come by our garden, and bees buzz around, pollinating everything. We even got to say hello to a hummingbird the other day coming to take a drink from our Rose-of-Sharon!
14. Embracing Diversity
We love being in a community where different cultures, races, and ethnicities are valued and celebrated. Not only do we get to celebrate and learn from our neighbors, but the Town is taking diversity and inclusivity very seriously as part of its strategic plan. From its leadership to its recreational and cultural offerings, the town of Knightdale is growing, embracing, and wanting to reflect its citizens. For more information on Knightdale’s demographics, here is Knightdale’s US Census Quick Facts. Additionally, Knightdale added two new festivals within the past year, the African-American Festival and the Latin-American Festival, both with amazing turnouts!
15. Focusing on the Future and Sustainability
Citizens advocate for environmentally sensitive areas. The town recently put in EV charging stations at Town Hall and Knightdale Station Park. On a fun note, certain parts of the town are golf-cart friendly! The transportation plan focuses on preparing for more public transit and making the community more pedestrian and cycling-friendly. The Mayor also recently signed a monarch pledge to continue to support and create habitats for the monarch butterfly. Knightdale is also recognized as a Tree City USA town. You can tell that the citizens here love their town and want to preserve its natural resources to leave a clean and better future for their children.
With its great location, affordable communities, family-friendly amenities, and plans for quality future growth, Knightdale, NC, is undoubtedly a vibrant gem in the Triangle area. I’m so glad we chose this community to call home! And most importantly, once they are grown, I hope that my children will always love coming home again. Or perhaps they’ll love it so much and have so many opportunities right here that they’ll never want to leave. At least, one can only hope 😉
If someone you know would like to learn more about all that’s happening in Eastern Wake County, you can share the link for my newsletter here! I hope to see you around town soon!