If a trip to San Diego is on your bucket list, then prepare to cross off a few other entries while you’re here. Sure, you can knock out “learn to surf” and “get certified for scuba,” but you’d be cutting yourself short if you stopped there. Look a little deeper (or should I say a higher) for some heart-pounding adventures.
Take a leap of faith with Tsunami Skydivers and free-fall from 13,000 feet. The skydiving center, which is located in San Diego County’s northernmost coastal town of Oceanside, boasts a beach-close drop zone that makes it one of the best places to jump in Southern California. Enjoy bird’s-eye views of the Pacific coastline from San Diego all the way to Orange County as you make your descent. Best of all, you’ll be strapped to your instructor to ensure that the ride is smooth, safe and worry free. For a brag-worthy souvenir, add the camerawork package and go home with photos and raw video footage to show off to your friends.
Hang-Gliding and Paragliding
Get ready to float through the air with the greatest of ease as you ride the breeze from Torrey Pines Gliderport in La Jolla. Choose from tandem hang-gliding or paragliding adventures and experience the thrill of flight as you drink in Pacific panoramas hugged by rugged coastal cliffs. Brave a heart-thumping voyage from a horizontal position beneath a hang glider and feel what it’s like to soar like an eagle or partake in a paraglide ride and revel in aerial acrobatics, such as spirals and spins, from a seated perspective. Stick around afterward for a celebratory sandwich, such as La Jollan roast beef (roast beef, avocado, pepper jack cheese, barbecue sauce, lettuce and tomato) or Acapulco wind chicken (chicken, avocado, pepper jack cheese, jicama, chipotle ranch, lettuce and tomato) at the onsite Cliffhanger Cafe and watch the rest of your flock fly in.
Take to the heavens in a hot-air balloon with Sky’s the Limit Ballooning Adventures. Discover amazing mountain and ocean views as you soar over Del Mar’s sun-drenched beaches and beautiful mansions. For a front-row seat to San Diego’s spectacular sunsets, select the Del Mar coastal champagne evening adventure and watch the sun sink behind the sparkling sea. You might even catch the famous green flash (a flicker of emerald light at the horizon during sunset) from your lofty location. Toast your airborne voyage with a festive post-flight flute of bubbly.
Ride in a Bi-Plane
Mark off another must-do quest with a rousing ride on an authentic 1920s biplane. Cruise the skies low and slow with Barnstorming Adventures and enjoy spectacular scenery from your prime spot in the cockpit. Choose a flight path that skims the dramatic coastline, soars over inland valley vineyards or invent a route all your own. Where you go and what you see is all up to you; your personal pilot will take care of the details. Not exciting enough? Opt for an old-fashioned dogfight and try aerial combat, but with laser guns and video equipment. Fly under the guidance of an assigned pilot (most of whom are active-duty Marine Corps and Navy fighter pilots), but you call the shots when it comes to the daring evasive and offensive maneuvers.
Photos courtesy of Skys the Limit Ballooning Adventures,Tsunami Skydivers, Torrey Pines Gliderport and Jeff Folk