This weekend, celebrate your outdoors independence

You’ll need the extended three-day July 4 weekened to fit in everything going on in North Carolina this weekend.

Coast

North Carolina’s salt marshes offer some of the best paddling in the state. One minute you’ve sweeping views to the mainland or across the Atlantic, the next you’re in a labryinthine waterway weaving amid salt marsh cord grass. It helps to have a guide to show the way — and to explain this coastal habitat.

That’s what you’ll get Saturday on a three-hour paddle (a three-hour paddle …) sponsored by the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to Zeke’s Island. Crabbing, seining and birding are on the schedule and, adds the aquarium, “Participants should be able to swim and be capable of sustained physical exertion.”

The paddle begins at 9 a.m., $25 per person, $22 for aquarium members, minimum age of 8, kids 8-12 must be accompanied by two adults, kids 13-14 must have at least one adult in tow. Registration required, by calling 910-458-7468 or emailing ncaff.registrar@ncaquariums.com.

Piedmont

Nothing like a good festival that includes outdoor activities. This weekend’s three-day (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) Festival for the Eno would be one such festival.

In addition to great music (90+ performers on four stages), food and a very wide range of vendors and exhibits, you can paddle the millpond, hike several miles of trail in Durham’s West Point on the Eno Park, engage in spontaneous hoola hooping, and a variety of outdoorsy stuff.

Tickets to the festival are $13 online, $15 at the gate. Proceeds benefit the Eno River Association’s efforts to preserve land along the Eno River in Durham and Orange counties. Renting a canoe is extra.

More info, go here.

Mountains

Been whining that you haven’t been able to find a challenging 5K of late? Then sign up for Saturday’s Beech Mountain Club 5K in, yes, Beech Mountain, which hosts the highest ski area in the East. The race is on a mix of paved roads, gravel roads and golf cart paths, and promises plenty of elevation. Probably enough to keep you too winded to complain about the dearth of challenging 5Ks.

Race starts at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the Beech Mountain Club, aid stations at miles 1 and 2, awards in the usual age categories. $25 if you register online, $30 if you wait until race morning. Benefits “Breast and Prostate Cancer Foundations; includes t-shirt and pancakes.

More info here.

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Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, below.

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