1. Explore an island
Join a park ranger on a boat ride over to Huggins Island and learn about the unique history that has shaped this maritime island over the years on Dec. 30 from 10 a.m. to noon. You will get a chance to see and explore one of the Atlantic coast’s better-preserved earthwork fortification and how it played a role in the American Civil War. We will look at the different groups of people that have utilized the island over the years- including the Native Americans and early European colonists- and talk about their role in shaping the island. Seating is limited; register at: 910-326-4881.
2. See a new movie
Head to the movies this weekend to see some of the Christmas Day releases you may have missed such as “Hidden Figures (PG)” about a team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space missions; and “Live by Night (R)” directed by and starring Ben Affleck and based on a novel by Dennis Lehane about an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies during the Prohibition.
3. See cannons
Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach hosts a New Year’s Eve Cannon Blast at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 at the fort. Fort Macon will be firing its big guns in celebration of the New Year. Gumbo Lily will play a free concert at 6 p.m. and cannons will go off at 7 p.m.
4. Watch a sports game
Hey sports fans! College football playoffs will be going strong this weekend starting with the Orange Bowl on Friday and continuing with the Peach and Fiesta bowls on Saturday. On Tuesday, Jan. 2, the University of Southern California is going up against Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Also on Tuesday are the Sugar, Outback and Cotton bowl games.
5. Plan for your holiday celebrations
Saturday night is New Year’s Eve, and New York City won’t be the only town that’s rockin’: Many pubs, restaurants and the like have special parties planned. Of course, don’t feel bad about staying in and celebrating by watching the Times Square festivities on TV. If you go out and imbibe, please make sure to have a designated driver in your group or call a taxi or rideshare. Many places are offering free drinks (non-alcoholic, of course) to designated drivers, so check around.
6. Take a hike
It’s a new year and celebrate it with a First Day Hike at Hammocks Beach State Park on Jan. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This boat ride to Bear Island will give you a chance to explore and enjoy some of nature’s wonders that can be found during these cooler winter days. You will learn about the various aspects of a barrier island including its habitats & wildlife, and maybe collect some seashell souvenirs! Dress appropriately for the weather and the boat ride. Bring binoculars if you have them. Seating is limited; contact the park office to reserve your seat at 910-326-4881.
7. Participate in Diet Resolution Week
Now that the new year is almost here, make sure you make it easier for yourself to stick to your resolutions. Did you set a goal of losing weight or getting in shape? Why not check out health clubs or home gym equipment this weekend? The sooner you start on your new goal, the better you’ll likely fare. Jan. 1 to 7 is Diet Resolution Week so you’re out of excuses. Time to throw yourself into a new diet and exercise routine, shed a few pounds and live healthier.
8. Celebrate Jubilee Day
Onslow County NAACP Branch 5428 hosts its annual Emancipation/Jubilee Day at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 1 at First Missionary Baptist Church, located at 153 Broadhurst Road.
9. Watch the Rose Parade
The 128th Rose Parade steps off at 11 a.m. EST on Monday, so you should be recovered from your eve parties and be able to watch this classic. The theme this year is “Echoes of Success” with 40 float entries. To find out what local stations are broadcasting the event, go to tournamentofroses.com/broadcast-partners.
10, Dive into 2017
The 15th annual Dolphin Dip is expected to draw thousands to Surf City the frigid ocean to wash away 2016 and start refreshed and ready to take on 2017.
The free event kicks off at 11 a.m. Sunday at Surf City Beach Access, 101 Roland Ave.