Ready to channel your inner Peter Pan? At indoor skydiving you can fly, you can fly, YOU CAN FLY! Head about an hour and a half south of the Triangle, and you'll find America's largest vertical wind tunnel, primed for some epic indoor skydiving action. It's a destination-worthy trip and we've got you covered with everything you need to know—from the ins and outs of indoor skydiving, to how to make the most of your mini-road trip.
Be warned: on the ride down to Raeford, you'll see a lotttt of chains—shield your #shoplocal-loving eyes and resist the urge to succumb to the value menu. Just because the area looks like it's lacking those quaint local businesses we love, doesn't mean it is! If you know where to look (and don't worry, we do), there are plenty of awesome spots nearby for eating, drinking and doing—either before or after you hit up your gravity-defying destination.
Road trip to Paraclete XP in Raeford, NC, where America's largest indoor wind tunnel lets you experience the thrill of skydiving...minus the whole jumping out of a plane thing. With wind speeds up to 190 MPH, you’ll feel just like free falling. Instructors guide you through the experience, and will even escort you to the tippy top of the tunnel, 50+ ft high off the ground. An experience like no other, this gravity-defying trip is 100% safe and almost anyone can do it so it’s the perfect activity for the burgeoning daredevil.
Before you get started, you’ll fill out some paperwork and complete a quick classroom training, where you’ll learn how to communicate in the tunnel (hand signals) and hold your position in the air. Next, it’s time to get suited up—the jumpsuit, earplugs, goggles and helmet make for a supreme #OOTD. Once decked out in your tres chic jumpsuit, instructors take you into the tunnel one at a time. The pros are there to hold your hand, keep you on track and bring you up and down the 53-foot tunnel.
And be sure to stick around before or after your flight to catch the pros showing off their skills. Their perfect tricks and flips make it all look utterly effortless but be warned: staying in control requires strength, flexibility and stamina—you may very well be sore the next day (but it’ll be so worth it).
Head's up! At PK's Grill and Pub, you can dine right in the skydiving 'drop zone'. Paraclete's got a traditional outdoor skydiving spot nearby, and PK's gives you a primo view of the action. Grab a burger, a brew and keep your eye on the skies—daredevils falling!
For uber authentic Mexican, you've got to make a pit stop at Super Mart 401. This grocery store/taqueria is truly a hidden gem: expertly marinated meats, slow-cooked, get ladled over fresh tortillas and topped off with crisp veggies and authentic sauces. Prices are unbeatable and hey, while you're there, might as well peruse the grocery store aisles—you're sure to find some fun snacks for the ride home.
Not ready to give up that weightless feeling? Head to Floating Shanti, where you'll float in mineral-enriched water. Loaded up with Epsom salts, you'll find yourself buoyant in the warm, sound-proof tank. It's a sensory deprivation experience that promises to renew your mind and body. So lie back, relax and recharge in this comforting salt bath that'll soothe your soul.
Indulge in over-the-top frappes at Beans Gone Wild. In flavors like 'Apple Jacks', 'Red Velvet' and 'Junk in the Trunk' (whatever that is!), your sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied. They've also got a full coffee and food menu and if you're lucky, you'll be there during one of their community gatherings, which bring out local musicians and artists.
Catch a delicious fireside show at Mikoto, where Hibachi pros cook up expertly crafted meals, right on your table. Offering up generous portions and creative sushi it's the perfect spot to kick back and chow down. And if you'd rather skip the show and cut to the chase, they've got an 'express' menu to get you in, out and on your way ASAP.
Celebrate your recent flight with another flight—of craft beer, that is. Dirtbag Ales, NC's first contract brewery, serves up a rotating selection of expertly crafted brews and you're gonna want to try as many as possible. Be sure your flight includes their flagship Blood Orange Kolsch and Cold-Brew Mocha Porter—the rest is up to you!
Offering upwards of 20+ cupcake flavors at a time, Frostings Cakeshop is sure to satisfy even the most intense sugar craving. Vegan? Gluten-free? Frostings' got you covered with plenty of yummy options too.
Help yourself at The Wine Café—they've got a DIY wine dispenser so you can sip and sample at your leisure. This Veteran owned tasting room and wine shop offers unique, small production wines from around the world—all at a shockingly affordable price. We'll drink to that!
Come down from your skydiving rush with a grounding cup of soothing tea. Offering everything from earthy herbal sips to light and fruity iced teas, the peaceful oasis in the heart of downtown Fayetteville will convert even the most die-hard coffee addicts.
Get your pie fix at The Fayetteville Pie Company. Step into their rustic/industrial chic spot for a mouthwatering menu full of sweet and savory pies. The menu rotates regularly, highlighting their creativity and unique takes on classic pies.