This weekend: A smorgasbord of outdoor fun

Try your hand at canoeing at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, walk or run or bike to support a state park in Raleigh, or learn to ride a bike in the mountains.


We’re always on the lookout for a good, economical paddle adventure; this weekend our looking out has landed us at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park south of Goldsboro, where a ranger will lead an Introduction to Canoeing class on Sunday. The course includes boat, lifejacket, paddles and instruction, and will be conducted on the friendly waters of the park’s 11-acre, spring-fed lake. An especially great opportunity if you’ve never been in a canoe, but have given it some thought.

Logistics: Sunday, April 21, 2 p.m. Free and all equipment is provided, but space is limited and preregistration required, by calling 919.778.6234.

Saturday forecast: Sunny with a high of 68.


Rod "Mr. Umstead" Broadbelt

This Saturday you can walk for Umstead, you can run for Umstead and you can bike for Umstead. Yes, all three modes of transportation are supported at the 2013 Walk/Run/Bike for Umstead, an annual fundraiser for the popular state park sponsored by the Umstead Coalition. The Triangle Off Road Cyclists will lead a guided bike tour of the park, the Carolina Godiva Track Club sponsors a race and there’s a guided walk, all to benefit Umstead.

Logistics: Saturday, April 20, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., 6000 Reedy Creek Road. $40 for adults, $20 for kids 12 and under, $35 for the 65-and-up crowd. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Cloudy with rain possible early, partly cloudy in the afternoon. High of 63.


When we think of cycling in the mountains we think of the plethora of road and mountain bike rides that test the very best, which makes us think everyone in the high country is an accomplished cyclist capable of climbing the steepest hills and jamming down the steepest descents. But does everyone in the mountains ride at that level?

No, says the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club. In fact, some folks haven’t ridden in quite a while. They’re the ones who are the focus of the club’s Saturday, beginner biker series. Each week the series tackles a new aspect of cycling. This Saturday, for instance, “…you’ll practice your shifting, braking, and signaling skills. Then comes 15 to 20 mile ride along the greenways and quiet country roads of Brevard.” Sounds like something even a more experienced cyclists might want to tap into.

Logistics: Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m. Meet at Oskar Blues Brewery. More about the program here.

Saturday forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 64.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed 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.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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