A run, a paddle, a hike — this weekend, whatever it takes to survive the holidays

Philadelphia's The Running of the Santas

Since it’s never too early to start making weekend plans, we give you our weekend planner a day early.


Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock

Scratch that — been spending too much time on all-Christmas-all-the-time radio. Make that Jingle Bell Run, as in the third annual 5K sponsored by the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History this Saturday in Wrightsville Beach. Speed is good, holiday costumes are better in this race that takes in historic WB cottages, “beautiful winter marshes,” and popular Wrightsville Beach hot spots. Registration is from 7:30-8:45 a.m., the race commences at 9 a.m. $30 for adults, $20 for runners 12 and younger.

Register here,  more info here.


Lately, I’ve been touting the virtues of winter paddling. Saturday, you can tap a little of this virtuousness at Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville on a ranger-led Winter Canoe Hike. Learn about park history, local wildlife, the fact that even if your boat does flip this is a really shallow lake … . All gear is provided, but it is almost winter so make sure you have appropriate clothing.

$5 per adult, $10 per boat (you can squeeze three in). Pre-registration required: 919.460.2723


The Hickory Nut Gorge area near Lake Lure is one of the more happening spots in North Carolina in terms of growing opportunities for public lands. Chimney Rock, the long-time privately held tourist attraction, recently became part of the State Parks system, and more additions are in the offing. That’s thanks in part to the work of groups such as the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, which is working to protect this unique area.

So, you may be wondering, what makes it unique? Learn for yourself on Saturday at 9 a.m. when the CMLC leads an off-trail hike to Pool Creek Falls at World’s Edge in the gorge. The hike is only 2.25 miles, but it is off trail, there are some challenging stream crossings as well as downed trees. Experienced hikers only. It’s a CMLC Members-only hike, but considering the future of hiking in Hickory Nut Gorge depends on groups such as the Carolina Mountain Lands Conservancy, that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Find out about memberships here,  more about the hike here.

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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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