Your Weekend: Celebrate, take a dive, forage

It’s Cliffs of the Neuse State Park’s turn to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the North Carolina State Parks system this weekend, with everything from a paddle to a fun run to an interpretive hike. Or, you can forage in a forest or take a dive.

Paddling the Neuse (photo courtesy
Paddling the Neuse (photo courtesy

Coast: Centennial on the Neuse

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is holding a centennial celebration, in honor of the 100th anniversary of North Carolina State Parks system, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Lots of activities to choose from, including a ranger-led paddle trip on the Neuse River and a 4-mile fun run.

Come for the hickory-smoked BBQ and stay for an interpretive hike. Those who want to participate in the paddle trip down the Neuse must pre-register (it’s free, but there are a limited number of canoes).

Saturday forecast: High of 66 with a chance of rain.

Vital Stats: Saturday March 26, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cliffs of the Neuse State Park Visitor Center. Contact 919.778.6234 or, or go here for more information.

Looking ahead: Kayak Trip at Hammocks Beach State Park. April 8, 8:30am. Space is limited, so contact park office to sign-up: 910.326.4881 Visit here for more information.

Piedmont: Skydive Carolina


Now is a great time to jump out of your comfort zone — literally — and jump out of  a plane from 14,000 feet at Skydive Carolina! Although this facility is located in Chester, S.C., it serves North Carolina as well (it’s less than an hour’s drive from Charlotte).

Challenge that voice inside your head telling you it’s too dangerous or not your thing, and listen to that other little voice telling you that you’ve always wanted to skydive. The tandem option allows you to jump with virtually zero experience after a short information session.

Weekend forecast: Highs in the low 70s, partly cloudy.

Vital Stats: Skydive Carolina 1903 King Air Dr. Chester, SC. Prices start at $189. Contact: 803.581.JUMP. Weekend hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit here for details

Looking ahead: 10-mile point-to-point Trail Trek at Raven Rock State Park. April 9, 8am. Registration is required, advance fee $25 until April 5. Visit here for registration and other information, or email

Mountains: No Taste Like Home: Wild Food Adventures

Euell Gibbons: Many parts are edible.
Euell Gibbons: Many parts are edible.

Go wild on this guided trip where you learn to safely gather wild edible plants and other edible options. At the end of the journey, there will be a sampling of the wild foods collected, then you have the option to take your gatherings to an Asheville restaurant where the chef will prepare what you have collected — for free.

Weekend weather: Highs in the mid 60s, partly cloudy.

Vital Stats: Any day you like, in various locations around Asheville, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., $75. Contact 828.209.8599 or visit here for more information.

Looking ahead: Carolina Hike Series: Mt. Pisgah & Frying Pan Tower Hike and Brewery Visit, Pisgah National Forest, April 8, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact or 828.884.3443  or visit here for more information.

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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