Weekend plans? Grab a paddle and hiking boots

This weekend’s offerings underscore North Carolina’s geographic diversity, starting with a paddle through a tidal flat at the coast, continuing with a kayak trip down a scenic river on the cusp of the coastal plain, and ending with a southern Appalachians hike on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.


One of the best uses of a kayak is in exploring the tidal flats along the coast. Your boat sits low in the water, making it perfect for a intimate, ground’s-eye view, a view made all the better by the craft’s quiet glide, which attracts minimal attention from wealth of critters who call this home.

Saturday, explore the Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area near the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores on a three-hour, aquarium-led paddle. $20 ($18 for aquarium members), kids 6 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Shoves off from the aquarium at 9 a.m., returns at noon. And if you can’t make this Saturday’s trip, there are plenty more planned for this summer.

Seek details here.

Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area


Guess we’re in a paddling mood, because the most enticing event we see in the Piedmont is a kayak trip Saturday at Lumber River State Park. The trip departs at 9 a.m. from the Chalk Banks Access Area near Wagram. According to the Lumber River State Park Web site, the Lumber  (pictured at top) is “one of the country’s few wild and scenic rivers — the only black-water river with this designation in North Carolina.”

You don’t have to know how to paddle, but you do need to know how to swim (though it seems that if you know how to do the former, you wouldn’t need to worry about the latter).

Also: While the trip is free, you do need to call and reserve a spot, at 910.628.4564


We’ll chuck the paddle for the hiking boots here in the high country, where the Carolina Mountain Club will be hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail Saturday. Specifically, the 7.9-mile stretch beginning at the Mills River overlook and ending at the Chestnut Cove overlook. “This is a pleasant MST hike, mostly downhill, with one climb over Ferrin Knob,” according to the club’s hiking report.

Carpool for this hike will leave the Westgate Shopping Center near Exit 3B off I-240 in Asheville (here are directions and a photomap) at 10 a.m., with a second meeting location off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the French Broad Overlook at 10:15 a.m.
More info: Hike leader Lenny Bernstein at 828.236.0192, lsberns@att.net

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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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