This weekend: Make it a memorable one

The three-day Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer season. Kick it off early at the coast with a paddle down the Black River; kick it off with a rare, on-the-water look at a millpond; kick it off with three days of adventure kicks in Asheville. All are guaranteed to make it a memorable weekend.


Officially, summer doesn’t start until June 21 (at 10:51 a.m., for you sticklers), though unofficially we tend to associate the start of the season with Memorial Day weekend. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances.

We here at GetGoingNC tend to expand the definition of weekend once summer — unofficial, Memorial Day summer — begins. We’re going to bend our definition even more so we can suggest Halyburton Park’s Black River Kayak Trip on Thursday. The Black River is a magical waterway. It contains some of the cleanest water in the state and meanders past some of the oldest trees in North America, including some dating back to the AD/BC transition. This is a daylong affair (including the drive to and from the river).

Logistics: Thursday, May 22, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. $50/$65. More info: 910.341.0075,

Thursday forecast: High of 91, partly cloudy.

Paddling the pond. Photo courtesy


We’re always on the lookout for rare opportunities, such as the Paddle the Pond program offered this weekend at Yates Mill Pond.

Paddling the 20-acre millpond, part of 174-acre Yates Mill County Park in Raleigh, is just such an opportunity. Saturday and Sunday, the park is leading morning canoe trips on the millpond, which will include discussion of the millpond, the mill that once operated on the pond, and the pond’s ecology. The hour-long trip is for ages 6 and up.

Logistics: Saturday, May 24, 10:30-11 a.m.; Sunday, May 25, 11 a.m.-noon. $10 per boat. Preregistration required, buy calling 919.856.5635.

Saturday forecast: High of 81, mostly sunny.

Start of the MSF cyclocross race. Photo courtesy


If it’s Memorial Day weekend it must be time for the Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville.

Kicking off Friday and running through Sunday, the Carrier Park-based festival includes lots of live music and a cross-section of the stuff that excites us, from foot races (Rock2Rock 10K, Rise N’ Shine 5K, MSF Mile Run), Youth Ultimate Frisbee, Kolo Flow Mountain Bike Race and dodgeball, to cyclocross, standup paddleboarding and more.

Logistics: Friday, May 23 — Sunday, May 25, Carrier Park, Asheville. More info may be found here.

Three-day forecast: Sunny with highs in the upper 70s.

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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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