This weekend: Wing it to the coast

One of the best opportunities to explore the outdoors in North Carolina is over the next six days at the the coastal Wings Over Water, now celebrating its 16th year.


Got some vacation time — or in these hard corporate times, “furlough” time — you need to burn by year’s end? Tell the boss you’re taking off for a trip to the coast. True, the water is chilly and it’s hard to get an even tan wearing a parka. But that shouldn’t affect you since you’ll be at Wings Over Water.

For 16 years now, the folks at the northeast coast have been setting aside a week — Nov. 6 thru 11 this year — to celebrate the wonder of wildlife in the Outer Banks region. This year’s celebration consists of 85 programs: guided paddle trips, wildlife photo safaris, hikes, birding expeditions and more. Just about every type of nature excursion you can think of.

Logistics: Learn about it all at

Extended forecast: Highs in the mid to upper 60s and sunny over the next several days.


Sometimes your kids — and you — need a little extra incentive to hit the trail. A carrot to get you out in the cold. No, not a carrot. A deer skull, maybe. Or owl droppings. Or a certain kind of fungus.

That’s the intent behind Saturday’s Hunt for Fall Scavenger Hunt at the Reedy Creek Nature Center in Charlotte. Get scavenger hunt checklist, then head out with a naturalist who can help you check it off. A mile or two of trail hiking required.

Logistics: From 2-3:30 p.m. Free, but preregistration required, by calling 704.432.6460. Additional information here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny and 66.


Here’s the dilemma of the flatlands distance trail runner: You’re intrigued by the idea of running a mountain trail, but you don’t know the mountain trails that well and you don’t know any mountain trail runners to tag along with. Your only option is to run these unfamiliar trails is to do a race. Or so you think.

In fact, there are trail running groups in the high country that would love to show you around. Groups such as the Swain County Trail Runners, who meet every Saturday morning to run the Smokies or in the Tsali Recreation Area. Now you have a friend in the mountain trail running business.

Logistics: Group assembles at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Deep Creek Trailhead parking area at the foot of the Smokies near Bryson City. For more detailed information, call 828.399.0989 or 828.488.6769, or e-mail

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 70.

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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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