This weekend: A Day to Get Out and Celebrate Mother Earth 

A previous night hike at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

It’s little surprise that there’s lots going on in the great outdoors this Earth Day weekend. Saturday alone (the actual Earth Day), the N.C. Office of Environmental Education lists more than 50 events on its calendar. Lots to choose from; here are some we especially like.


One way to approach Earth Day is to use it as an opportunity to visit a place you’ve yet to explore. Lake Waccamaw State Park, for instance. Lake Waccamaw is one of the few remaining water-filled Carolina Bays, the focal point of a 2,176-acre state park that sits off the beaten path in the southeastern coastal plain.

Saturday, the Lake Waccamaw Friends celebrates this gem with a day of fun, including a 5K and a cornhole tournament. There’s live music, kids events, food and more. And the chance to learn more about the lake.

Logistics: Lake Waccamaw State Park Friends’ Earth Day 5K and Cornhole Tournament, Saturday, April 22, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Lake Waccamaw State Park, Lake Waccamaw. $10 5K fee, $20 for the family. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Hi of 86, chance of thunderstorms.

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Lake Waccamaw

Looking ahead: Millpond Day 5K Family Fun Run/Walk, Saturday, April 29, Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. More info here.


What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a celebration of some new earth. OK, the earth itself isn’t new — it’s been around a while. But Brumley Forest is new earth in the sense that it’s a new slice of earth for us to explore, courtesy the Triangle Land Conservancy.

Brumley Forest brings to seven the number of TLC preserves open to the public in the Triangle region. Perched on 613 rolling, forested acres in Orange County (between Durham and Hillsborough), the preserve has 5.5 miles of hiking-only trail and nearly 9 miles of multi-use trail, the first trail in the TLC system open to mountain biking. Saturday’s festivities will include guided hikes and mountain bike rides, nature activities, yoga, food trucks, local beer — plenty to keep you busy during the 8-hour celebration, which kicks off at 9 a.m.

Logistics: Brumley Nature Preserve Grand Opening, Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Brumley Preserve, 3055 New Hope Church Road, Chapel Hill. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 75, chance of rain.

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Looking ahead: Nocturnal Hike, Saturday, May 20, 8-9 p.m., Pilot Mountain State Park, Pinnacle. More info here.

Brumley Forest


If you’re in the mountains and already have Earth Day plans, how about squeezing in an Earth Day Night activity? Mount Jefferson State Natural Area plans to celebrate the Day with with an Earth Day Night Hike, a one-mile hike on the ridge out to Luther Rock (and back). Check out the lights of town below, listen for owls and other creatures of the evening. Starts at 8 p.m.

Logistics: Earth Day Night Hike, Saturday, April 22, 8 p.m., Mountain Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. More info here.

Saturday evening forecast: Highs in the low 60s with the chance of thunderstorms tapering.

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Looking ahead: Grandfather Mountain Wildflower Walks, Grandfather Mountain State Park, Banner Elk, hikes are ongoing, go here for a list of dates.

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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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