This weekend: Cool fun on the water, on the mountain

There are two ways to play it cool in the summer heat: stay on (or in) the water or seek higher, cooler, climes. Our suggestions for weekend fun take both approaches.


Standup paddleboarding: you’ve been thinking about it, but for whatever reason you’ve yet to give it a try. I don’t know where to rent a board, I don’t have anyone to teach me how, I don’t know the good places to go.

If any/all of those excuses sound familiar, then head to Wrightsville Beach early Saturday and take part in Survivor SUP: Paddle Boot Camp. Offered by Wrightsville Stand Up Paddle Board Co. and Shore fitness, the two-hour clinic includes equipment, instruction, a workout and “island experience.” Beginners welcome.

Logistics: Saturday, July 12, 6:30-8:30 a.m., Wrightsville Beach. More info and to sign up: 910.777.4979 or

Saturday forecast: High of 84, chance of thunderstorms.


When it’s 90 in the Piedmont, our outdoor thoughts tend to change from land to sea — or at lease a local lake or river. A local lake, Lake Wylie, is where our thoughts are turning this weekend, when the McDowell Nature Preserve is sponsoring a Family Kayak Tour.

The two-hour trip on this lake bordering the Carolinas includes instruction and equipment, and includes views of Copperhead Island and Buster Boyd Bridge.

Logistics: Saturday, July 12, 9:30 a.m., Waterfront Deck Programming Area, McDowell Nature Preserve, Charlotte. $15 for a single, $20 for a tandem, ages 5 and up (ages 5-9 must share a tandem with an adult). More info and to sign up, go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 90, sunny.

Sam Knob area


To beat the summer heat in the South, you have to get high — elevationwise, of course. The Carolina Mountain Club will help you do just that Sunday on a 7.5-mile hike in the Sam Knob area of the Pisgah National Forest. All of the hike is above 5,000 feet, topping out on 6,214-foot Black Balsam.

In addition to cool temperatures, there are open meadows, mountaintop views and passage through balsam woods. A great hike on all fronts.

Logistics: Sunday, July 13, 10 a.m., Black Balsam Access off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest. Space is limited; to sign up call 828.606.1490 or email

Sunday forecast: High of 84, 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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