This weekend: Fun with Dad 

Show dad how much he means to you by taking him into the great outdoors.

Learn the mysteries of Merchants Millpond


So many mysteries contained in Merchants Millpond, the nearly 200-year-old, 760-acre water assemblage that spreads throughout the State Park bearing its name. Is it a pond or a swamp (sure seems like the latter)? What are those weird, prehistoric fish you occasionally see near the surface? Are there alligators?

These questions and more answered Saturday afternoon on a 2-hour guided canoe trip on the pond. Canoe, paddle, pfd and guide provided free; you bring the sunscreen and questions.

Logistics: Canoe the Pond, Saturday, June 17, 1 p.m., Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. More info and sign up — it’s free, but there are a limited number of canoes — by going here.

Saturday forecast: High of 85, chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Black Bears of Pettigrew State Park, Saturday, July 1, Pettigrew State Park, Columbia. More info here.

Why’s there a cap atop Pilot Mountain?


Wondering what to get Dad for his big day, Father’s Day, which is Sunday? You know what he’d love, don’t you?

A big ‘ol hike!

For instance, the Father’s Day Jomeokee Hike at Pilot Mountain State Park. It’s the perfect hike for darn near any dad: it’s a mellow distance — just under a mile — and he’ll learn all sorts of facts that he can pepper his conversations with for years to come. Facts like where the trail got its name, how the Pilot Mountain pinnacle got its distinctive shape, why birds of prey are always circling overhead.

Logistics: Father’s Day Jomeokee Hike at Pilot Mountain State Park, Sunday, June 18, 10 a.m., Pilot Mountain State Park. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 85, chance of a thunderstorm.

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Looking ahead: Basic Orienteering, Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, Saturday, July 16, Southern Pines. More info here.

New River


You do the Sunday morning Father’s Day hike at Pilot Mountain and Dad emerges really jazzed about the outdoors. His sense of adventure kindled, suggest that you drive the hour and a half to New River State Park for the 2 p.m. paddle trip on the New River. You needn’t have paddling experience; you’ll get basic canoe instruction at the start. Then, enjoy a couple hours on this mellow mountain river.

Logistics: Guided Canoe Trip, Sunday, June 18, 2 p.m., New River State Park/US 221 Access. Free, but boats are limited; call 336.982.2587 to reserve a spot.

Sunday forecast: High of 77, chance of a thunderstorm.

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Looking ahead: Night Hike, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, Friday, July 7, West Jefferson. 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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