This weekend: Rental fun, hoop dreams, swamped on high

Not crazy about being tied to a schedule? Rent an adventure according to your schedule at the coast. Wondering if you could replace LeBron in Miami? See if you’ve still got game in Charlotte. And if you’re in the mountains and think you have to travel afar for a swamp adventure, think again.


Today’s suggestion isn’t an event; rather, an opportunity.

New adventures can be had up and down the North Carolina coast for a relatively modest sum. For instance, if you find yourself in the Wrightsville Beach area, swing by the Blockade Runner and you can experience any number of water-related adventures: rent a single kayak for just $20 an hour (or a tandem for $35), take out a standup paddleboard for $25 an hour, take a two-hour guided kayak tour for $50 ($90 for a tandem).

You’ll find opportunities likes this just about everywhere you’ll find someone taking a beach vacation. (See Logistics for direction.)

Logistics: Learn more about the Blockade Runner rentals here; check out our “53 Places to Rent a Canoe, Kayak or Standup Paddleboard in North Carolina,here.

Weekend forecast: The coast is looking at highs in the low 80s, a chance of thunderstorms.



You haven’t played ball in longer than you care to remember. And yet, you still feel you can take it to the hole, sink a three-pointer at the buzzer, execute an alley-oop or elicit an enthusiastic “Rejected!” from Marv Albert on your stellar defensive play.

OK, maybe you’re dreaming. But aren’t dreams made to be fulfilled? Check out the current state of your game this Saturday at the 30 & Over Open Play at the Sugaw Creek Recreation Center in Charlotte. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., adults over 30 can see if they still have what it takes to achieve basketball glory, even if for just an afternoon. Or one play.

Logistics: Saturday, Aug. 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Sugaw Creek Rec Center, 943 W. Sugar Creek Road, Charlotte. $2. Need more info? Call 704.596.0107

Saturday forecast: It’s always bright and comfortable in the Sugaw Creek gym.

Boardwalk through a swampier section of Pink Beds


One of our favorite hikes in the mountains is the Pink Beds area of the Pisgah National Forest. Pink Beds itself is a rare mountain swamp. As such, the six-mile loop trail at Pink Beds is relatively flat, also unusual for a mountain hike.

Sunday, the Carolina Mountain Club is adding a little elevation to the Pink Beds hike by adding the South Mills River Trail sections on Soapstone Ridge and Club Gap. Total distance for this hike is nine miles, total elevation gain 1,700 feet.

Logistics: Sunday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m. carpool meet-up at in Asheville. Space is limited, contact hike leader Dave Wetmore at 828.577.0648 or to reserve a spot or for more information.

Sunday forecast: High of 79, 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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