This weekend: Paddle, hike, RunRunRunRunRun

Lake Waccamaw (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)

The second weekend of summer is perfect for paddling a Carolina Bay, for a taking a high-country hike and for running five races in one.


Summer is ideal for paddling. But it you don’t have your own canoe or kayak, a leisurely day on the water takes on potential hassles. First, you have to find a place to rent a boat (which we’ve made easy with this handy list). Then you have to get the boat to decent place to paddle (again, we’ve got help with that). And you have to watch the clock to make sure you get the boat back on time (sorry, no help there).

Unless, of course, you take advantage of one of the numerous free boating programs offered throughout the state. Saturday’s Half-Day Paddle at Lake Waccamaw State Park, for instance. Lake Waccamaw is a Carolina Bay, one of numerous such lakes formed under yet-to-be-understood circumstances, mostly in the Southeast. While most bays are small, Waccamaw covers more than 9,000 acres and has 14 miles of shoreline, ensuring a full half-day’s worth of paddling.

Logistics: Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. Call 910.646.4748 to pre-register and for more info. Check out the park here.

Saturday forecast: High of 90, chance of thunderstorms.

Ultimate Runner (photo courtesy Twin City Track Club)


How many times have you run a 5K or a 10K, finished, and thought, “Dang, I feel like running some more”? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a race that actually was two races? Or three? Or five?

Five!? Madness, you say? Actually, it’s called the Ultimate Runner and it’s this Saturday at Hanes Park Track in Winston-Salem. You start by running a mile. Then you run a 400-meter race, then 800 meters, then 100 meters and finally, a 5K. We’re guessing that after the 5K you’re appetite for running will be sated. At least for the day.

Logistics: Saturday, June 29, 4:30 p.m. $50. More info here or by calling 336.782.0957

Saturday forecast: High of 88, mostly cloudy.

Elk Knob (photo courtesy N.C. State Parks)


Our favorite place to be in summer is the mountains on a cool, cloudy day. It’s the ultimate escape from summer’s oppressive weather, and it’s what’s in the forecast this Sunday at Elk Knob State Park near Todd (between Jefferson and Boone). And Elk Knob on Sunday is the site of a nature hike to the park’s mile-high summit.

The flora here is unlike what you’ll find throughout much of the Southern Appalachians: the mountain’s rich, amphibolite soils coupled with the altitude support flora more common to northern hardwood forests. A nice escape.

Logistics: Sunday, June 30, 2 p.m. More info by calling 828.297.7261. For more info on the park, go here.

Sunday forecast: High of 75, 40 percent chance of rain.

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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).

What’s On Wilmington
Website covering what’s going on in Wilmington. The most comprehensive regional calendar in the state.


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.


The Daily Reflector entertainment calendar.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Greensboro Parks & Rec.
Adventure programing.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Visit Winston-Salem
Web site covering Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem Parks & Rec
General calendar of events.

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 Running Calendar
Runs throughout the state.

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.”

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Family, youth, environmental educator and other programs held throughout the state.

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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