It’s going to be hot this weekend, possibly the hottest weekend of the year. Temperatures are forecast in the mid to upper 90s both Saturday and Sunday, though there’s little chance of rain. Get out, as we always advise. But be smart as well. A few quick thoughts, along with a suggestion.
- Play early. It’ll likely only get down to 70 overnight, meaning the temperatures should remain tolerable until mid to late morning. Option: Cox Mountain Nature Hike, 9 a.m., Saturday. Eno River State Park, Durham. This is a challenging 4-mile hike, but doing it in the morning should help mitigate the heat. Learn more here.
- Play late. We usually top out temperature wise in the late afternoon, meaning the temperature should be in the mid to low 80s come sunset (which will be around 7:45 this weekend). Option: Astronomy. 8:30 p.m., Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach. People with big, sophisticated telescopes let you peer through them to see into space. Learn more here.
- Play overnight. So why not stay out all night and enjoy the coolest temperatures of the day? You can do that at the the North Carolina Zoo’s Snorin’ Safari, which starts Saturday at 5 p.m. and goes until 9:15 a.m. Sunday. You’ll have the zoo to yourself as you explore the Africa section. Dinner, snack and breakfast included. $50 for adults, $40 for kids 6-12. Learn more here.
- Play high. As in high elevation, that is. The temperature drops about three degrees for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained, meaning if’s 95 in Raleigh, at about 300 feet above sea level, it’s 77 atop 6,684-foot Mount Mitchell, where on Saturday at 11 a.m. you can catch the Trees on Mount Mitchell program. Learn more here.
- Play wet. When it’s hot we always turn to water first as a way to keep cool. Most outdoor pools, including municipal pools, operate from Memorial Day to Labor Day, meaning only one weekend remains in the outdoor pool season. Take advantage while you can.
Finally, play smart. High temperatures with heat indexes topping 100 create potentially dangerous conditions outdoors. Playing it smart, by playing appropriately, is not only your best option, it’s your only option.