This weekend: Paddle, Party for a Cause, Hike the Parkway

A far-out Festival for the Eno

You can’t escape the heat and humidity, but you can work with it. Paddling on the Lumber River, for instance. Or playing and partying at the Triangle’s biggest outdoor festival. Or taking a high country hike with a National Park Service ranger.


Looking to escape the heat and humidity? Well, good luck in this part of the world this weekend. While we can’t guarantee escape from the weather we can offer at least a respite on Saturday’s paddle on the Lumber River. Led by rangers at Lumber River State Park, this afternoon float at least gets you on the water and moving, which beats on the ground and sweltering.

Logistics: Saturday, July 6, 1:30 p.m. Free, but preregistration required, by calling 910.628.4564. Note: recent rains have elevated the Lumber to flood stage; double check at the number listed to make sure high waters haven’t scuttled the trip.

Saturday forecast: High of 88, 20 percent chance of rain.


The only thing better than an outdoor outing is an outdoor outing paired with something festive — live music, say. And food vendors, and arts and crafts and opportunities to learn about the natural world.

The peaceful (when it's not flooding) Lumber River. Photo courtesy North Carolina Division of State Parks.

You’ve got all those things rolled into one Saturday at the annual Festival for the Eno at Eno River city park in Durham. The two-day festival (it began on July 4th, skips today, resumes Saturday) offers hiking, canoe and kayak rentals, opportunities to frolic in the Eno and the aforementioned live music, food, crafts and assorted other fun. Proceeds aid the Eno River Association in its effort to preserve land along the Eno.

Logistics: Saturday, July 6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. $15 More info here.

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


Kudos to the National Park Service: Despite a drastic 5 percent budget cut in March, on top of an already tight budget, the NPS is resuming its seasonal ranger-led hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The NPS initiated the weekly hikes four or five years ago, supervisory park ranger Michele Maertens told the Asheville Citizen-Times, though the recent 5 percent chop means they’ll probably have to cut back to one hike a month.

Treail near Craven Gap, on the Blue Ridge Parkway portion of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

This season’s hike series begins Friday, with a two-mile hike from Craven Gap, just north of the Folk Art Center northeast of Asheville. There’s a 500-foot elevation gain on the hike, which should feature a good display of summer wildflowers.

Logistics: Friday, July 5, 10 a.m. from the the Craven Gap parking area at MP 377.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Free. More info by calling 828.298.5330, ext. 304.

Friday forecast: High of 73, 70 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).


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.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

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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