Great White Water Sports creates a harmony with the gentle crash of waves, the powerful growls of jet skis, and the excited yelps of families as they launch a variety of jet-ski rentals right from the sands of Chesapeake Bay. Ranked second on the Norfolk activity list by TripAdvisor, and backed by favorable attention from USA Today, their lifeguard-trained team also saddles up jet skis in waters warmer than the Atlantic and with smaller waves. Their jet skis are not equipped with any speed-restriction devices, allowing guests to rev up their engines and feel the wind hit their faces as they send wake waves rolling shoreward.
Tim Langdon and his wife, Renee, founded Camp Flintlock 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.
In 40 years, Hinnant Family Vineyards has had time to grow 87 acres of muscadine grapes that have been turned into succulent wines, some as old as the vineyard itself. While the wines are the specialty, the team also opens its gate to visitors seeking to learn about winemaking, picnic on the wraparound porch, celebrate their weddings, or attend a summer music festival.
Owner and vintner Dr. Lane Gregory and his staff of merry winemakers harvest their wine grapes from the fertile muscadine vines that flourish on Gregory Vineyards' 120 acres of lush farmland. The winery's Old-World tasting room and wood furniture lend a rustic atmosphere to samplings of cleverly named wines such as Sly Fox, Ruth Walton, or the dry white known as Bald Eagle. Like North Carolina's banana trees, the regional muscadine grape thrives from late August until early October, giving Dr. Gregory and company only a matter of weeks to harvest the tough-skinned fruit.
In addition to tastings, the handsome property plays host to weddings and other special events. And, on an average day, visitors may be spotted in the vineyard with Dr. Gregory, or exploring the vineyards.
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.