This weekend: Be free (to choose from some great adventures)

Celebrate your independence this July 4 weekend by exercising your right to pick the adventure of your choice. And in this free market of North Carolina adventure, you’ve got plenty of options, from a walk celebrating history at the coast, to mountain firecracker 5Ks, to an adventure of your choosing to the beat of live music.


Photo courtesy Historic Wilmington Foundation

Photo courtesy Historic Wilmington Foundation

Looking for incentive to start moving? How about a distraction, in the form of a historic carrot? Saturday, exert your independence from a sedentary lifestyle by signing up for one of two Guided Walking Tours of Wilmington: through the Forest Hills neighborhood (Wilmington’s first car-oriented suburb) and the Streetcar Suburbs of Carolina Place and Carolina Heights, the city’s first two suburbs. Sponsored by the Historic Wilmington Foundation, the tour is one of a series telling the story of Wilmington’s architectural, social and cultural history by examining its architecture. The morning tours last about an hour and a half each.

Logistics: Saturday, July 4, 10 a.m. $5 for Historic Wilmington Foundation members, $10 for nonmembers. For meeting places and to register, call 910.762.2511.

Saturday forecast: High of 90, chance of thunderstorms.

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Planning ahead: Next Saturday is the 33rd Annual Tri-Span 10K and 5K in Wilmington. $30 if you register now, $35 if you dawdle. More info here.


U.S. National Whitewater Center (photo courtesy of the U.S. National Whitewater Center)

U.S. National Whitewater Center (photo courtesy of the U.S. National Whitewater Center)

Picture spending the day Saturday white water rafting, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, zip lining — all to the backdrop of live music. Then, without having to go anywhere, enjoy a cold one and fireworks.
Some July Fourth celebration, no?
That’s the plan this weekend at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. The festivities start at 3:30 p.m. Friday — including live music and fireworks — and resume at 3 p.m. Saturday, again, concluding with a fireworks extravaganza.

Logistics: Friday, July 3, 3:30-10 p.m.; Saturday, July 4, 3-10 p.m. Call 704.391.3900 for pricing, or visit the center’s website.

Friday, Saturday forecast: Highs in the upper 80s, chance of thunderstorms.

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Planning ahead: Saturday, July 11: BioDiversity Hike at Mount Mitchell State Park. True, this isn’t in the Charlotte area, but it originates in Charlotte, at the Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve. $12, call 704.432.6460 for information.


Uncle Sam wants you — to run a mountain 5K!

Uncle Sam wants you — to run a mountain 5K!

Planning to spend the Fourth of July weekend in the mountains and got a hankerin’ to run a 5K?
You’re in luck, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times: seven races are slated for Saturday, from the Brevard Rotary Club Firecracker 5K and 10K to the Weaverville Kiwanis Club of North Buncombe’s Firecracker 5K. Freedom to choose a course, baby! That’s what it’s about.

Logistics: For a rundown of July 4 5K options, check out the Asheville Citizen-Times, here.

Saturday mountain forecast: A typical summertime mountain forecast, according to Ray (of Ray’s Weather, for the uninitiated): highs in the low 80s with a chance of thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Perhaps you’ve found yourself sitting around lately saying, “Gee, it’s been a while since I’ve done a mud run.” Remedy that situation on Sept. 12 at the Mountaineer Mud Run in Boone. Details here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

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 coastal 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.
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).


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



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.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

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

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.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

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.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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