This weekend: Explore, Party 

Good times on the Lumber River

This week, hikes and a paddle with something extra.

Coast | Coastal Plain

Exploring is great. Exploring with a party thrown in, even greater!

That’s the situation Saturday at Lumber River State Park, site of the Lumber River Day Festival 2017. There’s exploring, in the form of free canoe rides on the Lumber River. And there’s fun stuff in the form of bluegrass music, pony rides, a casting contest (for kids), miniature train rides, a bouncy house, food (including ice cream) and more.

Logistics: Lumber River Day Festival 2017, Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Lumber River State Park, Princess Ann Access, Orrum. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 95.

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Looking ahead: Ecology Hike, Aug. 5, Pettigrew State Park, Creswell. More info here.

The view from Hanging Rock (photo:


Exploring, with a party, II: Hanging Rock State Park: known for its great hiking, its incredible views, its waterfalls. Sounds like a great day in itself, no? How about throwing in a Farmers Market?

From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., local vendors and farmers will set up shop in the ample parking area outside the Visitor Center offering homegrown produce, crafts and more. Provided by Stokes Future, a Stokes County nonprofit “designed to help feed our own, employ our own, and prosper.”

As for the hiking: for a short hike with views, check out the Hanging Rock Trail; for a hike with views that escapes the crowds, check out the Moore’s Wall Trail; and for waterfalls, Indian Creek Trail gives you two in about the first half mile.

Logistics: Hanging Rock Farmer’s Market, Saturday, July 22, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 94.

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Looking ahead: Can’t make this Farmer’s Market at Hanging Rock? It repeats every Saturday at 11 a.m. Through Nov. 11. More info here.

View from atop Mount Jefferson


Exploring, with a party III: OK, a mini-party. A T-shirt-making party, actually. But with cool t-shirts designed with leaves and fabric paints. T-shirts and materials are free, while supplies last, atop Mount Jefferson State Natural Area. And, it’s for kids 6-13.

Sporting their new t-shirts, your kids will be in the mood for a hike. May we recommend looping together the Rhododendron Trail and Lost Province Trail, with a sidebar to Luther Rock. Some great views and intimate passages through northern hardwood forest.

Logistics: Trees And Tees’ Paint Your Own Tee-Shirt, Saturday, July 22, 2 p.m., Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, West Jefferson. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 84, chance of a thunderstorm.

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Looking ahead: Moonlight Paddle, Friday, Aug. 4, New River State Park, 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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