I can’t recall going into a Memorial Day weekend that felt less like a Memorial Day weekend.
Typically, this much-anticipated three-day hiatus marks not just the beginning of summer, but the end of the year’s most sustained run in the salt mines. For five straight months, we typically toil away, indulging in a federal holiday or two, but saving our sacrosanct vacation days for summer. From New Year’s Day to Memorial Day, it’s pretty much work, work, work.
Not this year.
Which isn’t to say this Memorial Day is totally devoid of the holiday’s usual welcome-to-summer cheer. With Phase 2 of Gov. Cooper’s reopening plan set to kick in at 5 p.m. today:
- Swimming pools can open, at 50 percent of capacity
- Most campgrounds in North Carolina’s State Parks can open
- Restaurants can open at 50 percent capacity for dine-in customers
- You can get your summer buzz cut
- The state’s beaches are open, with some restrictions
And, you can hit the trails.
Keep in mind that the sunny forecast for the weekend — and the fact that it is a three-day weekend — means the more popular trails, particularly those in our State Parks, may be crowded. Recently, we’ve shared some thoughts on how to try and avoid those crowds, including:
Hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Yesterday, we posted that your best bet for solitude on the trail may be on some of the lesser-known sections of the state’s best-known trail. Find those recommendations here.
Hike game lands. We’ve also advocated exploring North Carolina’s game lands. Operated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, these 2 million acres spread across the state are intended for wildlife management but open to exploring on foot. Hunting is allowed, though not on Sundays nor between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Check out our post on North Carolina’s game lands here.
When and where to hike. When you hit the trail can be just as important to avoiding crowds as where you go. This post also offers suggestions for what kind of trails to seek and to avoid. Find it here.
This Memorial Day may not be like the one’s you remember, but it won’t be one you’ll forget, either.
Getout! and enjoy!
Find a more comprehensive rundown of what is, and isn’t, open, here.