This weekend: Hot Yuletide Fun

Bald Head Island (photo courtesy
Bald Head Island
(photo courtesy

In recognition of the fact many of you have a good deal of flexibility through year’s end (no school, no work), we expand the definition of “weekend” to include the rest of the year. And, in accordance with Mother Nature of late, we expand the definition of winter adventure to include polar plunges where you’re more likely to need suntan lotion and a cold drink than a fleece blanket to warm yourself in.

That said …


Nature Tour, Bald Head Island. If you’re at the coast for the holidays, this two-hour tour of Bald Head Island is a good bet. Beach, maritime forest, salt marsh and the critters associated with these environments identified and explained by naturalists with the Bald Head Island Conservancy.

Admission includes ferry service and let’s you hang out on the island for the day.

Logistics: Monday, Dec. 28, 9-11 a.m., Bald Head Island. $40. More info and to sign up, here.

Monday forecast: High of 69 and overcast.

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Looking ahead: Polar Plunge, Wrightsville Beach, Jan. 1, 10 a.m. More info here.


A jolly time at the Polar Plunge at Hanging Rock State Park on Jan. 1. (photo courtesy
A jolly time at the Polar Plunge at Hanging Rock State Park on Jan. 1. (photo courtesy

Nothing like a good old fashioned forest bathing to —

Forest bathing?

Sure, from the Japanese Shinrin-yoku, “a visit to the forest for relaxation, a chance to stroll through nature and take in the atmosphere for one’s well-being; literally ‘forest bathing’,” according to the folks at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area in Hillsborough, who will host a forest bathing on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Logistics: Sunday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m., Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, Hillsborough. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, high of 75.

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Looking ahead: Polar Plunge, Jan. 1, 1:30 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. More information here.


WP.MountainsGot visitors in town who’d like a taste of Appalachian hiking? Take ‘em on Sunday’s Carolina Mountain Club hike at Bent Creek Experimental Forest in Asheville. A mellow (for the mountains) 7.5-mile loop that starts at 9 a.m. Afterward, take your visitors into Asheville for exploring of a more urban nature.

Pretty good day, no?

Logistics: Sunday, Dec. 27, 9 a.m., Bent Creek State Experimental Forest, Asheville. Contact the Carolina Mountain Club here, for details and to sign up.

Sunday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 74.

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Looking ahead: Lake Lure Polar Plunge, noon, Jan. 1, Lake Lure Beach. More info here.

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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 coastal 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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