Your weekend: Make fall a labor of fun


Labor Day has come and gone, the summer with it. Now, we get down to the serious business of fall fun in North Carolina!

Coast | Coastal Plain

There’s something romantic about an open-water swim in the ocean: riding the swells, being buoyed by the salt water, sharing space with all manner of aquatic life.

Yup, it’s romantic, all right. Until you’ve done it and realize what an incredible challenge it is, battling current, keeping your bearings, trying not to swallow those swells.

That’s the challenge faced by competitors in Saturday’s Pier-2-Pier Swim Race at Wrightsville Beach. The race covers the two miles of open water between Johnny Mercer’s pier and Crystal Piers. (For the mile counters, yes, that total distance is 1.71 miles; the additional 0.29 includes “the swim to and from the ‘dry’ finish and start.”

Vital Stats: Saturday, Sept. 10, 8 a.m., Wrightsville Beach, $40-$60. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, race-time temp of 75.

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Looking ahead: American Craft Walk, Saturday, Oct. 15, Wilmington. More info here.


Spend some quality time with the grand kids Saturday.
Spend some quality time with the grand kids Saturday.

Saturday, apparently, is Grandparents Day, and North Carolina’s state parks are celebrating. Hikes and nature programs are planned at Morrow Mountain, Raven Rock, Cliffs of the Neuse and Pilot Mountain state parks, among other parks statewide.

Make it an intergenerational Saturday, by seeking out details below

Vital Stats: Check out the list of Grandparents Day events, here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny throughout much of the region with highs near 90.

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Looking ahead: Centennial Celebration at Mayo River State Park, Mayodan, Oct. 8. More info here.


Riding the Du
Riding the Du

What could be more fun than a 5K road race at Biltmore Estate? Maybe a 5K road race at Biltmore Estate followed by a 13.25-mile off-road bike ride at Biltmore? Now, that would really be cool, the best! Unless, that is, you were to tack on a 5K off-road run. That would truly be swell.

And that would be Sunday’s Asheville Duathlon at Biltmore. The riding is non-technical, and on trail not typically open to the public. All good reasons to do the Du.

Vital Stats: Sunday, Sept. 11, 7:45 a.m, Biltmore Estate, Asheville. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Mostly sunny, race-time high of 66.

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Looking ahead: Take a Child Outside Campout, Sept. 24-25, Chimney Rock 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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