Take advantage of the wonderful weather statewide this weekend with a summer carnival in Cherokee, a hike at the coast (and earn prizes), or learning about the state’s birds of prey in Charlotte.
Coast: Hike at Merchants Millpond State Park
On Saturday a park ranger at Merchants Millpond State Park in Gatesville will lead a 2-mile hike on the Track Trail-certified Coleman Trail. Take a brochure on the hike, follow its directions, accumulate information, then enter the information on a website following the hike. Get enough entries and earn patches, note pads, backpacks and stickers! Not to mention the opportunity to get some exercise on a beautiful trail. Wear sturdy shoes and plan on the hike taking about 2 hours.
Vital Stats: Saturday Feb 20, 11 a.m., free. Contact: 252.357.1191 More info here.
Forecast for Saturday: Cloudy with highs reaching 66 degrees
Looking ahead: Clean the Queen – a shoreline cleanup, Hammocks Beach State Park, Swansboro, Feb. 28 10 a.m. More info here
Piedmont: Birds of Prey at Lake Norman State Park
Anyone know how many birds of prey call North Carolina home? Join a ranger at Lake Norman State Park to learn the answer, among many other things about each bird and how they thrive. After becoming a bird expert, take a hike within the park and see if you can spot any for yourself.
Vital Stats: Sunday, Feb. 21, 1 p.m., free. Contact: 704.528.6350. More info here.
Forecast for Sunday: Cloudy with a high of 69, although the event is occurring indoors.
Looking ahead: Volunteer Trail Work Day, Crowders Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain, March 12, 8 a.m. More info here.
Mountains: Cherokee Summer Carnival
If these temperatures have you missing summer, you’re in luck: Cherokee is holding a summer carnival this weekend. There will be a variety of vendors, karaoke, games, carnival rides, and of course food. The carnival will be occurring for multiple days. Come learn about Cherokee culture, and spend some time hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Vital Stats: Carnival begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 21, and lasts until 11 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. Free. Contact: 843.385.3180. More info here.
Sunday forecast: Scattered showers, high of 60.
Looking ahead: Four Seasons Hike, Blue Rock Mountain, March 19, Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock. 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.
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).
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.
Blue Ridge Outdoors