Your weekend: Beat the heat with a paddle

It’ll be toasty this coming July weekend, a weekend that just makes sense to be on the water

Coast / Coastal Plain

Photo courtesy NCAquariums
Photo courtesy NCAquariums

It is perhaps the most rewarding type of paddling — and the easiest: paddling the tidal flats and meandering backwaters of the coast. The ill-defined wetlands along the sounds, the narrow tidal creeks enveloped in lush maritime woods that feed into the sounds. So much to see just a paddle-length away.

The only hitch: you need to know where to go, or go with someone who does.

That’s why we like Saturday’s Roosevelt Natural Area Paddle Trip at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. The morning paddle is led by aquarium naturalists who know every twist and turn, and can help you make sense of this expansive ecosystem. Gear and guide provided

Vital Stats: Roosevelt Natural Area Paddle Trip, Saturday, July 23, 9-11 a.m., NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. $25, ages 12 and up. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 88, mostly sunny.

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Looking ahead: Soundside Hike, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Tuesday mornings at 9 a.m. More info here.


Photo courtesy Greensboro Parks & Rec.
Photo courtesy Greensboro Parks & Rec.

The temperature is forecast in the upper 90s for this weekend, which leaves one to wonder: why take a chance and wait for excessive heat when you can hedge your bets with an evening paddle now. As in this evening.

Tonight, the temperature will dip into the 70s for the Night Paddle on Lake Brandt. Picture yourself, the sun setting, paddle in hand, gentle waves lapping your bow, a cool breeze washing over you, washing away the stress of the day … .

BYOB or rent one at the marina.

Vital Stats: Thursday, July 21, 8-10 p.m., Lake Brandt, Greensboro. $22 per tandem kayak, $15 per single kayak, $8 if you bring your own boat. More info here.

Saturday evening forecast: Highs in the upper 70s, mostly clear skies.

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Looking ahead: Meanwhile, on neighboring Lake Higgins, find night paddles on July 27, Aug. 10 and 24. More info here.


WP.MountainsYou see standup paddleboard races at the coast, but not so much in the mountains. This weekend, however, you’ll see that very thing, when the Autism Society of North Carolina sponsors the inaugural Stand Up for Autism paddleboard race at Lake Julian in Arden.

A 3-mile race on the lake followed by live music, beer, food, and raffle prizes. Racing is in both the competitive and non-competitive categories.

Vital Stats: Saturday, July 23, 11:30 a.m. race start, Lake Julian, Arden. $25 online, $30/day of event. More info and to register, go here.

Saturday forecast: high of 94, mostly sunny.

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Looking ahead: Sunday, Oct. 2, Fall Colors Hike (hey, it’s never too early to plan ahead), Grandfather Mountain State Park. 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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