Your Weekend: Celebrate North Carolina State Parks

Sunday marks the beginning of N.C. State Parks week, a perfect opportunity to get out and experience the beauty of the state. We include two state park events in this week’s offerings; for a rundown of more events go here.

Coast: Bear Island Eco-Hike

JuneBearIslandThere’s a lot going on at Hammocks Beach State Park in the next few days, from a shoreline cleanup on Sunday, to an eco-hike on Monday. At 10 a.m. Monday, take the ferry over to Bear Island and join a ranger to learn about one of North Carolina’s hidden treasures. You will have the chance to explore and enjoy some of nature’s wonders that can only be found during the cooler days of winter. Dress appropriately for a boat ride in addition to the weather. BYOB (binoculars).

Monday forecast: Sunny with a high of 67 degrees.

Vital Stats: Bear Island at Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro, Monday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m.-noon. Seating is limited; registration is required, by contacting 910.326.4881

Looking ahead: Dismal’s Day of Service, Dismal Swam State Park, South Mills, March 5, 11 a.m. More info here.

Daffodils, spring's first responders
Daffodils, spring’s first responders

Piedmont: Guided nature walk

Join a naturalist at the Charlotte Nature Museum on a guided educational walk around the Paw Paw Nature Trail. The 100-year-old forest is alive with trees, seasonal wildflowers, and wildlife. During this short hike you will have the opportunity to discover the beauty and diversity of a bottomland forest habitat. Hikes occur on the fourth Saturday of every month.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, around 40 degrees at 10 a.m., high of 53.

Vital Stats: Charlotte Nature Museum, Charlotte, Saturday, Feb. 27, 10:15-11:15 a.m. included with Museum admission. Contact: 704.372.6261, ext. 300. More info here.

Looking ahead: Rumba on the Lumber;10K, 5K, fun run, Lumberton, March 4 – 6 More info here:

Mountains: Lake James State Park

Lake James
Lake James

To celebrate N.C. State Parks Week, plan to spend a day exploring a park. At Lake James State Park near Nebo there’s plenty to do: wildlife watching, hiking on an extensive trail system, paddling, mountain biking and more! The Holly Discovery Trail is a nice, easy trek with 18 interactive information stations and fun activities and facts for all ages. In fact, it is a national award-winning interpretive trail. Try this trail and many others this weekend to take part in N.C. State Parks Week.

Weekend forecast: Sunny, high in the mid 60s.

Vital Stats: Lake James State Park, Nebo. Opens daily at 8 a.m., currently closes at 6 p.m., will be open until 8 p.m. starting March 1. Contact 828.584.7728, or visit the park website for more information.

Looking ahead: Valley History Explorer Hike #1: Day long hike on the Riceville-Warren Wilson Trails near Black Mountain. March 12. Advance registration required. 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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