This weekend: This Fourth of July, liberate yourself from the tyranny of a two-day weekend

Mason inlet.

Because of the mid-week holiday we’re relaxing the definition of “weekend.” It starts … today!

Coast

You go to the beach regularly, maybe even live there for a week every summer. Yet how much do you know about your fellow residents, especially the year-round residents? The sea turtles, for instance, or the sea gulls? Tag along on Audubon North Carolina’s  Free Friday Field Trip at Mason Inlet, a “fascinating sanctuary where you can get close-up looks at nesting birds and chicks,” according to ANC. “Coastal birds are scrappy survivors that combat extreme temperatures, unpredictable weather, and predators to successfully raise their young.” Who wouldn’t want to spend time with scrappy survivors?

Logistics: It’s free, from 9-11 a.m. Friday. Meet at the end of N. Lumina Avenue in Wilmington. More info by calling 910.686.7527 or by going here.

Friday forecast: High of 91, 40 percent chance of precip.

A hike along the Eno offers up nice scenery.

Piedmont

If you’re a typical outdoors lover you probably love good music as well, and not to cast aspersions, but probably not your run-of-the-mill Top 40 fare. Which is why our pick for the Piedmont goes to the annual Festival for the Eno, where non-stop good music (four stages, no waiting) and outdoor opportunities go hand-in-hand. There’s hiking on 5 miles of park trail and canoe and kayak rentals on one of the most peaceful flatwaters around: the mile-long millpond backed up by the dam at West Point on the Eno city park, epicenter of the festival. Runs today and again on Saturday and Sunday.

Logistics: Tickets are $15 in advance, $37 for a three-day pass, $18 at the gate, kids under 12 are free, teens 13-17 are $10. More info here.

Forecast: Today, high of 97, 40 percent chance of rain; Saturday and Sunday, highs of 100 with 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday.

View north from Sam Knob.

Mountains

No denying it’s hot, no denying you still want to be outside. But while it’s hot, hot, hot throughout most of North Carolina, the higher you get the cooler it becomes, and it doesn’t get much higher/cooler than Sam Knob on the crest of the Blue Ridge west of Asheville. 6,050-foot Sam Knob is the keynote destination of a 10.6-mile hike Sunday by the Charlotte-based Carolina Berg Wanderers. Save for a very brief interlude with NC 215, this is a classic mountain day-hike loop: you’ve got your summit (Sam Knob), your balsam forest, your water and a waterfall or two, you spend some quality time on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail — a very nice hike (which you can learn more about if you happen to have a copy of “Backpacking North Carolina” handy: it’s Trip No. 14).

Logistics: Hike starts at 8 a.m. Sunday; consult the CBWs for more information, here.

Sunday forecast: High in the low 80s, 30 percent chance of rain.

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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.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

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