This weekend: Chance of t-storms, guarantee of fun

Photo courtesy

It’s summer, so sure, there’s a chance of thunderstorms. Don’t let a chance rule out a sure thing when it comes to some outdoor fun.


Imagine a time at the coast before cars, before trains, before even bridges. How did folks navigate a region with so much water?

By boat, of course. Get a feel for those bygone days of getting around by watercraft on Friday’s Kayak Through History program at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Associate Curator Benjamin Wunderly will offer basic instruction and safety lessons to those who are unfamiliar with kayaks, then lead a paddle through the salt marshes and sandbars around Beaufort, sharing stories of early colonial life, the early boat building community and of old fishing fleets

Logistics: Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, N.C. Maritime Museum, 315 Front Street, Beaufort. $45 if you need a kayak, $25 if you bring your own. Advanced reservations required, by calling 252.728.7317.

Friday forecast: High of 85, chance of thunderstorms.

Camping bliss at 6,000 feet, on the Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest.


If it’s the fourth Saturday in June that must mean it’s the Great American Backyard Campout! Yes, every year on the fourth Saturday in June, Americans are encouraged to embrace the joy of tent camping. If you’re of the belief that the words “joy” and “camping” have no business in the same sentence, then you are just the person who should embrace this event, because odds are you were exposed to camping by people who may not have known quite what they were doing. People who said it was fine to keep food in your tent in bear country, for example (and you quickly learned it wasn’t). People who said a little slack in the tent roof was OK (and you learned, courtesy of a middle-of-the-night downpour, that it wasn’t). Or people who believe your nutritional demands could be met entirely by Spam and Pop Tarts.

The goal of the Great American Backyard Campout is to show you the right way to camp, and thus, that camping can be safe, pain-free and even fun. At least two organized campout events are planned in North Carolina: at Elk Knob State Park near Todd and at the Reedy Creek Nature Center in Charlotte.

Logistics: For more on the Great American Backyard Campout, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, go here.

Saturday forecast: Saturday’s forecast is for typical summer weather, with highs in the mid- to upper 80s and a chance of thunderstorms  for much of the state.

Photo courtesy


As we expand the parameters of “weekend” over the summer, here’s something good to know: every Friday, rangers lead a hike somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway. They typically aren’t long hikes, but they are rich in the natural and human history of the area.

This week’s Friday hike: A 2.5-miler on a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail from the Glassmine Falls Overlook (Milepost 361) to Lunch Rock and back. “See rare rocky outcrop ecosystems, learn about unique high elevation forests, and take in the spectacular views from Lunch Rock. Bring water and a snack or lunch to enjoy at Lunch Rock. Wear good hiking shoes and sunscreen and plan for changeable weather.”

Logistics: Friday, June 27, 10 a.m. Glassmine Falls Overlook, Milepost 361 on the Blue Ridge Parkway (north of Asheville). More info: Parkway Visitor Center at 828.298.5330, ext. 304.

Friday forecast: High of 85, chance of thunderstorms.

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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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