Shrouded in groves of leafless trees, Darkside Haunted Estates looms ominously. Dilapidated black shutters hang from the two-story house's white, weather-beaten siding, and behind its black door, nightmares have stirred to life for more than two decades. Throughout its eerie grounds, the staff has installed dynamic special effects on a collection of attractions that has ballooned to more than a dozen, including a quarter-mile haunted trail and a backwoods hayride. Unsettling sites tell the estate's sordid story through the Darkside Mortuary, Rottenkorr Cemetery, and The Manor. They’ve also installed a "Fame of Shame" board, which keeps track of visitors who bail early and of monsters who faint at the sight of their own fake blood.
Entering its inaugural season, the 10 unique scenes of Haunted Forest at Panic Point challenge adventurous scare devils to brave 2,000 feet of moonlit terror, where they'll meet the meat-eating proprietor of a circus staffed by cannibals and a pack of grannies seeking revenge. Like a convention for claustrophobes, the entire attraction takes place outdoors, so the assorted axe murderers and maniacs can attack from any angle. After escaping the forest's treacherous tendrils, guests can gather any remaining sanity in the Circle, Panic Point's sphere of safety, where they can dance the devilish night away to tunes spun by a live DJ or watch classic horror movies projected on a 31-foot screen.
Tim Langdon and his wife, Renee, founded Camp Flintlock, Inc. on a simple concept: people learn about history best if they live it. The Langdons know firsthand: they live on the property in an 18th-century-style log home that Tim and his friends built by hand. To immerse visitors in their colonial world, the Langdons host overnight camping trips where visitors can sleep in colonial-style tents, fire muskets, and string together Native American–inspired necklaces. At residential summer camps, guests even don colonial garb and participate in daily chores, such as splitting firewood and looking over their shoulder for the British. For those who just want a taste of colonial living, school field trips and day camps include activities like making beeswax candles and playing colonial games.
The mobile historians at Triangle Glides lead tours through the most exciting locations in Raleigh's past and present. They spin tales as groups glide past modern and historic landmarks on the Downtown Discovery tour or learn of riots, duels, and public hangings during a more macabre tour, aptly named Raleigh's Darkest Secrets. In other tours, groups travel into the 19th-century neighborhood of Oakwood and enjoy the lush grounds of Oakwood Cemetery, the final resting place of nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers.
This sort of exploration is the foundation of Triangle Glides, but its Segways are restricted to land. To explore the area's waters, the company also sells and rents standup paddleboards. Resident instructors can help newbies master these watercraft during seasonal lessons on nearby Lake Wheeler, where paddlers find calm waters surrounded by leafy forests.