Your weekend: More seasonable, more options 

Jones Lake

The snow and bitter cold are gone. Time to get back out and explore!

Coast | Coastal Plain

There’s something extra special about the Coastal Plain in winter. The still air, the open views, the absence of flying biting things. All of which makes it a great time for a hike, to learn, perhaps about the phenomenon known as Carolina Bays.

What are Carolina Bays? you inquire.

Sorry, you’ll have to head down to Jones Lake State Park Saturday morning and find out from a ranger on a hike that circles the park’s namesake lake.

Logistics: Intro to Carolina Bays, Saturday, 10 a.m., Jones Lake State Park, Elizabethtown. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 52, mostly sunny.

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Looking ahead: 9th Annual Cold Stroke Classic, Jan. 21, Wrightsville Beach. More info here.

Photo courtesy N.C. State Parks


One of the many great things about winter outdoors: you can see things. Like birds, who in warmer months are shielded amidst a mass of greenery.

Now, seeing birds is one thing. Knowing which ones they are is another. Learn to put names to beaks Saturday morning at Eno River State Park, when an experienced birder leads a hike in search of the park’s avian residents.

Logistics: Saturday Morning Birds, Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Eno River State Park/Fews Ford Access, Orange County. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 45, cloudy.

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Looking ahead: Silent Hike (no talking!), Jan. 29, 2 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. More info here.

Party Rock Fire, at Rumbling Bald (photo courtesy


“What does a forest look like after a wildfire?” That’s the question to be answered Saturday, when a ranger at Chimney Rock State Park leads in the Rumbling Bald area of the park. Rumbling Bald was part of the 7,154-acre Party Rock Fire that burned in late fall. On this hike, various experts will be on hand to explain what happened, and what happens from here. A great opportunity to learn first-hand about the role of fire in the forest.

Logistics: Four Seasons Hike: Rumbling Bald Trail, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 51, 30 percent chance of rain.

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Looking ahead: Snowshoe Hike, Jan. 29, 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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