This weekend: A Labor of fun

The wily raccoon.

Tradition rules at the coast (a last beach blast of the summer) and in the mountains (kicking off the fall hiking season). Meanwhile, somewhere in between a paddle trip beckons.


Labor Day weekend, you’re at the coast, you’re looking for something different to do, something to relieve the tedium of frolicking in the surf. Tedium? OK, perhaps that’s overstating. But certainly a little relief from the beach is a good thing. And you and the kids can find it at 3 p.m. Monday at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, when you’ll join a park ranger for a romp over the dunes in search of Tracks in the Sand. Yes, search for the footprints of the various critters who call the park home, then make a plaster cast to take home as a souvenir. Beats a hermit crab nightlight from Wings.

Logistics: 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 3, at the Visitor Center at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Lasts one hour. Free, but pre-registration is required, by calling 252.441.2588.

Monday forecast: High of 82, overcast.

A Labor Day weekend paddle?Piedmont

Labor Day weekend has long been associated with water. It’s the last weekend of operation for most public pools, it’s the last big hurrah of the summer for hitting the coast. And, it’s a great time to go paddling, on the millpond at Historic Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh, for instance.

Saturday, come out for basic instruction and a paddle on the pond. Canoes, paddles and life jackets provided, fee is $10 per boat, you must be at least 6 years old.

Logistics: $10, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m., pre-registration required, by calling 919.856.6675.

Saturday forecast: High of 90, 20 percent chance of rain.

The view north from Green Knob.


Labor Day weekend in the mountains, on the other hand, to me symbolizes the start of the fall hiking season. And who better to celebrate with than the venerable Carolina Mountain Club, which will be hiking in the Black Mountains on Sunday. And not your typical hike up to Mount Mitchell or to any of the peaks fellow 6,000-foot summits along the Black Mountain Crest Trail. Rather, they’ll be hiking in the opposite direction, from the Black Mountain Campground south up to Green Knob. A 2,490-foot vertical gain, a 7-mile out-and-back hike.

Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 2 at 8:30 a.m. (that’s the meeting time; contact hike leader Chris Washburn — 828.292.1791, — for specifics and to sign up.

Sunday forecast: High of 81, 50 percent chance of rain.

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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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