Tag Archives: North Carolina State Parks

GetOut! Your Friday Nudge for Weekend Adventure

Today, we take a slightly different tack. Instead of singling out specific events, we’re identifying events by category. Click the link for details.

Paddling 

It’s fitting that on this Labor Day Weekend there are four paddling excursions in North Carolina’s State Parks. After all, Labor Day does mark the titular end of summer, and thus, the last big hurrah for water-related activities. Saturday alone there are three paddling excursions: read more

Get Out! Your Nudge for Weekend Adventure

Summer officially arrived at 6:06 a.m. Thursday, but it sent an advance team early in the week: temperatures in the mid-90s. Thus, our focus for the weekend is wet and wild. Or at least wet.

Some events on tap that will keep you close to water:

=&0=&, New River State Park, Laurel Springs. Saturday, 9 p.m. Double your chances of staying cool by not only being near water, but exploring at night as well. Details here.

=&1=&, Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. Saturday, 10 a.m. The phrase that hooked us on this event? “Please wear clothing and shoes you can get wet … .” The goal of this one-hour program is to see what lives in a creek. Details here.

=&2=&, Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro, Sunday, 8:30 a.m. “Enjoy this ranger-guided trip through the adjacent marsh water as we explore some of the ecosystems which make this part of North Carolina so special.  Kayaks, paddles, and lifejackets will be provided.”

=&3=&, New River State Park, Laurel Springs. Sunday, 1 p.m. “Canoe the New River with a park ranger and learn the history of the river, and basic canoe instruction while you enjoy a leisurely trip down the river.” And yes, “Please wear clothing and shoes suitable for the water … .”

Search for your own adventure through one of these sources:

  • North Carolina State Parks has a variety of adventures planned for the weekend. Check those options here.
  • North Carolina Environmental Education Center represents environmental ed centers across the state and has a calendar complete with every class and trip these centers are conducting. Find it here.
  • Right here, at GetGoingNC.com.
  • read more

    Get Out! Your Nudge for Weekend Adventure

    Last weekend, we hiked more of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail along Falls Lake and saw our first mountain laurel bloom of the season — a lone bloom, but an impressively full and vibrant (if white can be vibrant) bloom about midway between the Shinleaf Recreation Area and NC 98. We also spent a little time exploring all the Eno River in Orange County and planning a trip next weekend to the Curtis Creek area of the Pisgah National Forest. It was a busy weekend on the trail.

    We mentioned last week that we also saw our first traces of poison ivy. Traces? Tracts is more like it, ominously sneaking right up to the trail as if it intend to grab us by the ankle and wreak itchy havoc. That prompted us to put together an advisory on how to avoid poison ivy as well as ticks and mosquitoes as we head into our first 90-degree weekend of the summer. 90! Woo hoo.

    With the temperature and Mom (Sunday’s Mother’s Day, remember) in mind, we bring you our three picks for adventure this weekend. Get Out and enjoy!

    Saturday, May 12, noon read more

    This weekend: Embrace the approaching gloom

    Don’t forget your eclipse-viewing safety glasses!

    Based on dire warnings from N.C. Department of Transportation message boards statewide (“Plan Ahead”!), we’re guessing that pert near everyone is resting up this weekend for the day of gathering gloom on Monday. Thus, we focus on events focused on the Sun’s disappearance Monday afternoon around 2:30.

    Coast

    The North Carolina coast is outside the range of total obliteration; Wilmington, at 96 percent obfuscation, is about as close as you’ll get. With a variety of events planned, we like the Solar Eclipse Party planned at Airlie Gardens in conjunction with the Cape Fear Museum, New Hanover County Library and the National Weather Service. They’ll provide those hard-to-get viewing glasses (numbers are limited; first come, first serve), plus family-friendly games, educational activities and more.

    Logistics: Solar Eclipse Party, Monday, August 21, 12:30-3:30 p.m., Airlie Gardens, Wilmington. $3-$9. More info here.

    Monday forecast: High of 87, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

    * * *

    Piedmont

    North Carolina State Parks has several viewing events planned, including many in the Piedmont (find a complete list here.)

    Centrally located, in Greensboro, is the Solar Eclipse Viewing party planned for Haw River State Park at their Iron Ore Belt Access. The viewing will be from the grassy recreation field near the parking lot, offering a sweeping view to the south and west. Arrive early and hike the 3.8-mile Great Blue Heron lollipop loop — but be sure to get back in time to score one of 70 pairs of eclipse-viewing glasses available.

    Logistics: Solar Eclipse Viewing, Monday, Aug. 21, 2-3 p.m., Haw River State Park, Greensboro. More info here.

    Monday forecast: High of 89, sunny.

    * * *

    Mountains

    The land will go dark for as long as 2 minutes and 39 seconds in far southwestern North Carolina. Bryson City, Cashiers, Sylva and other towns in the path of Totality have big events planned; Clingmans Dome is a ticketed event, the road to the top closed except to the shuttled few. The Blue Ridge Parkway? West of Pisgah Inn, the nation’s most famous scenic parkway will resemble Charlotte’s I-485 at rush hour. Expect mountain traffic like you’ve never seen.

    Committed to the total experience? For our friends at Great Outdoor Provision Co., we compiled a list of five mountain peaks where, with a little legwork, you should be able to experience the eclipse minus the maddening crowds. Find that list here.

    If you’re fine with the group experience, RomanticAsheville.com has put together a pretty comprehensive list of events; find that rundown here.

    Monday forecast: The forecast for Andrews: high of 85 under clear skies.

    * * *

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

    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 read more

    This weekend: winter curious?

    Carolina Beach State Park along the Cape Fear River

    The natural world presents many questions in winter. This weekend, you have a chance to learn many answers.

    =&0=&

    When you head to the coast, hiking often isn’t atop your list of things to do. It should be, especially this time of year. The bugs are at bay (or at least at a minimum), the temperatures aren’t stifling, and, perhaps most significantly, it is serene, the calm before the summer crowds descend.

    And because it is the more temperate coast, nature is more alive than it is in colder reaches of the state.

    Take Carolina Beach State Park, for instance, where the park’s website states, “Several coastal ecosystems are present in the park. Forests dominated by longleaf pine, turkey oak and live oak occupy the dry, coarse soil of a series of relict sand dunes. Between the dunes are dense shrub swamps, called pocosins, populated by pond pines, loblolly and sweet bay, yaupon and evergreen shrubs. Brackish marshes consisting primarily of cordgrasses and sedges can be found beyond the relict dunes adjacent to the river.”

    That’s a lot to take in on your own. Fortunately, the park periodically holds a Biological Wonderland Hike, the next one of which is Saturday. Let a ranger help you identify these adjoining ecosystems and understand how they interact. The hike begins at 2 p.m., from the Flytrap Trail Parking Area.

    Logistics: Biological Wonderland Hike, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m., Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach. More info here.

    Saturday forecast: Sunny with a high of 70 at hike time.

    * * *

    Looking ahead: U.S. Open Fat Bike Championships, March 11, Blockade Runner Resort, Wrightsville Beach. More info here.

    =&1=&

    One of the joys of winter in North Carolina is that it serves as the overwintering grounds for a goodly number of waterfowl. Most folks think this phenomenon is limited to the coast, where tundra swans, northern pintails and others by the hundreds of thousands spend the mild coastal winter in lakes, marshes and other wetlands. But the interior of North Carolina also gets its share of feathered visitors.

    Learn about these migrants as well as the native avian population Sunday on a Waterfowl Birding Boat Tour on Lake Townsend in Greensboro. A naturalist leads this hour-and-a-half tour conducted on a pontoon boat.

    Logistics: Waterfowl Birding Tour, Sunday, Feb. 26, 3 p.m., Lake Townsend Marina, Greensboro. $7. Learn more and sign on, here.

    Saturday forecast: Sunny with a tour-time temperature of 58.

    * * *

    Looking ahead: Not a boat person? Take in the lake from the Palmetto & Nat Greene trails on a March 4 hike, also sponsored by Greensboro Parks & Rec. $2. More info here.

    =&2=&

    Are you taking the North Carolina State Parks 100 Mile Challenge? Are you aware of the Challenge?

    The Challenge is N.C. State Parks effort to get folks to hike 100 miles or more in their great parks during 2017. Log your hikes, complete the Challenge, get a cool commemorative pin. Learn everything you need to know about the challenge here.

    Intrigued? Start your march toward 100 Sunday at Lake James State Park with the Fox Den Loop 100 Mile Challenge Hike. Ranger Kevin Bischoff leads this 2 1/4-mile hike to help you find out what the park’s permanent residents are up to in winter. Complete the hike and you’ll be 97 and 3/4 miles closer to meeting the Challenge.

    Logistics: Sunday, Feb. 26, 11 a.m., Fox Den Lopp 100 Mile Challenge Hike, Lake James State Park, Nebo. More info here.

    Sunday forecast: Hike time high of 49 under sunny skies.

    * * *

    Looking ahead: Streamside Hike, March 18, South Mountains State Park, Connelly Springs. More info here.

    * * *

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

    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 read more