Weekend plans? Two if by land, one if by air

The first weekend of November? Really!?

You know what that means — time is running short to explore the outdoors before the weather gets really cold. A few of your options this weekend:


Few things make you feel like a kid more than flying a kite. The thrill of getting your kite airborne after a dogged sprint, watching it climb higher and higher into the wild blue, chasing after it over fences and through the neighbors’ backyards after the string snaps. Good times — and a good workout, too.

Head to Wrightsville Beach this weekend and feel like a kid again at the annual Cape Fear Kite Festival. Lots of hands-on opportunities, including kite-making classes for kids and stunt kite lessons — from certified stunt kite professionals — for all. You can also watch the best in the business put stunt kites through their paces and checkout an airborne parade featuring a wide array of funky kites.

The festival runs Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. both days. More info here.


If you’ve done much hiking with the kids this fall, you’ve no doubt been bombarded with lots of challenging questions: Why did that leaf turn red but that one turned yellow? Why do they change color in the first place? How close are we to a restroom? It’s almost enough to make you want to curtail hiking until the leaves have all fallen and the forest is a cold, gray landscape.

Or maybe not. Especially when there are so many hikes out there where a trained naturalist leads you around and answers these questions for you. Once such hike is this Sunday, from 10-11 a.m. at Historic Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh. Take a hike and relax while someone with actual knowledge answers your kids questions. It’s free, for ages 6 and up.

More info here.


Little Green Mountain makes a great spot to take in the color of Panthertown Valley.

You’ve been an avid greenway walker for years. Secretly, though, you yearn to tackle more challenging trail in the mountains. But your noviceness intimidates you, as does the notion of being out in the wild. You need some major handholding — not to mention some basic equipment.

That’s what you’ll get on a guided hike Sunday into Panthertown Valley led by Gary Eblen of Diamond Brand Outdoors, the Asheville outfitter. Maps and compasses are provided, daypacks and hiking poles are available as well. There’s a $25 fee, but that should buy you some reassurance as you explore an area often referred to as the Yosemite of the East. (It’s actually more of a diorama of Yosemite: cool, with waterfalls, towering pines, and an enchanted valley setting, just on a smaller scale. A good venue for a first-time forest explorer.

For more info and to reserve a spot, call 828.891.6585

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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.


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.

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.



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.


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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