Weekend plans? Three days for adventure

Memorial Day weekend: Three days to get out and explore, three options for doing just that.


Despite its name, George Washington once referred to the Dismal Swamp as a “glorious paradise.” If you’ve only driven past, the rationale behind President Washington’s praise may escape you. But plunge into its lush depths on a kayak and the father of our country’s reasoning will be perfectly clear.

You’ll have a chance to do just that Saturday at 10 a.m. on a ranger-led kayak trip of the Dismal Swamp Canal. The trip samples a small portion of this massive quagmire, which is 37 miles long and reaches a width of 12 miles, in the Dismal Swamp State Park. But at two hours, it’s adequate time to get a feel for this wild area in northeastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia.

The trip is free, and kayak, PFDs and paddles are provided, but you need to reserve a spot in advance, by calling 252.771.6593. It’s from 10 a.m. to around noon. For more information on the park, go here.


I lived in Dallas for five long years, and in the month of August I found relief from the heat only once: on a nighttime sailboat trip across Lake Ray Hubbard. It may have still been 104 degrees at 9 p.m., but on the lake it felt like a brisk 85. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

My sail down memory lane was stirred by our current heat wave, our first of the season, and word that the Lake Townsend Yacht Club is hosting a sail-along Saturday at its namesake lake north of Greensboro.  Take a ride, watch expert sailors put a boat through its paces — and refreshments!

It’s free and goes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. out of the Lake Townsend Marina. Go here for more information on the event, here for more info on the Lake Townsend Yacht Club.


If you live for the outdoors you should be living in Asheville this Memorial Day weekend, specifically at Carrier Park, home base for the three-day Mountain Sports Festival. Among the activities scheduled: Friday’s Rock2Rock 10K Trail Run at Camp Rockmont, Saturday morning 100-mile Wheel Ride for Food, the three-day Disc Golf Challenge, second-annual French Broad Challenge Triathlon, cyclocross, a longboarding/skateboarding competition and clinics on everything from chi running to fly fishing to ultimate Frisbee.

Live music, food, vendors and more — too much more to mention here so I’ll turn you over to the Mountain Sports Festival Web site for more info.

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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.

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.


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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