Spring Break: For Adrenaline Junkies

Travel Lists Spring Break
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This spring break, conquer your fear of heights, swim to new depths and get your adrenaline pumping. No matter your poison, you are sure to have the experience of a lifetime doing something bold and daring. Plus, you’ll have a way better story to tell your friends … you know the ones who spent their week on a beach somewhere drinking bad beer and suffering hangovers. Visit one of these locations designed for thrill seekers and get prepared for a truly exhilarating journey.

Skydive Snohomish: Snohomish, Washington

During your week of down time, go up. To the skies, that is. The number one skydiving center in the nation, Skydive Snohomish, offers the experience of a lifetime, allowing you to view the Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker and the Olympic Mountains while soaring through the air. Participants can choose between a tandem and static skydiving experience. The tandem experience will take you through a short course to learn about the proper positioning and a basic rundown of what will happen during your flight. After gearing up, you and your instructor will take a 20-minute scenic flight over the most breathtaking scenery Washington State has to offer (which allows plenty of time for you to do some breathing exercises and get mentally prepared for jumping out of an airplane.)

Once you’ve reached 10,000 feet, your instructor will get you ready to exit the aircraft. When the door opens, the adventure begins. You will then free fall for nearly a minute at 120 mph before the canopy opens. Get crafty, if you choose, and make steep turns and spiral through the air, or just relax and enjoy. When you land, you’ll be presented with a First Jump Certificate to show off to all of your friends back home, proving what a daredevil you are.

River Rafting: Grand Canyon National Park

This spring break, take a 277-mile scenic ride through the Colorado River of the Grand Canyon, where you’ll be in awe of the dazzling scenery and wildlife. Whether you’re comfortable bounding through the whitewater or just plan on dipping your toes in it, there’s adventure to be had here.

Those looking for a calmer trip can paddle from Glen Canyon Dam to Lee’s Ferry for a one day smooth-water rafting tour. If you still like the one day aspect, but would like to try your hand at whitewater rafting, take the route from Peach Springs, Arizona. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is located here along the West Rim.

Fun can really begin if you’re feeling bold enough to take a multi-day rafting trip. Some experiences can take four days or two weeks, depending on your time frame and drive to explore. Start at Lee’s Ferry, the South Rim, Las Vegas or other locations for this trip and allow yourself to be immersed in the natural beauty of the west.

Though these trips are a bit pricey, they are certainly the experience of a lifetime that you can’t afford to miss out on.

Hang Glide USA: Fernandina Beach, Florida

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Photo via Flickr/a detour life

Fly over the stunning Atlantic and take in another astounding view from a different perspective. Hang Glide USA is located just north of Jacksonville and offers gliders a bird’s-eye view of the northern Florida coastline and Cumberland Island, Georgia. You will be able to choose from three different lesson packages: Introductory Discovery Flight, Deluxe Discovery Flight and the Cumberland Island Nature Tour. We recommend taking the Deluxe Discovery Flight if you’re feeling brave enough.

This lesson package gives you a bit more than the introductory, and it’s totally worth it. You’ll make your way down the island and see the beautiful Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort and fly over historic American Beach and see an aerial view of the Ritz-Carlton. You will glide over the natural wildlife in Egan’s Creek—possibly catching a glimpse of a sunbathing alligator or two—and the peninsula where you can see the Spanish moss-draped live oaks at Fort Clinch State Park. Look out over Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach before making your way around the scenic Amelia Island State Park.

During your lesson, you will also fly over the opposite end of the island, across the Florida-Georgia border. You’ll pass over St. Mary’s River into the historic and beautiful Cumberland Island. Keep your eyes peeled; wild horses frequent the edges of the dunes on Cumberland and can often be seen running the length of the island.

Oahu Diving: Oahu, Hawaii

As kids, we all wanted to take a pirate ship to the deep seas and hunt for buried treasure, right? Well this adventure won’t make you Captain Jack Sparrow, but it can make you feel like the pirate you always dreamed you’d be. Advanced scuba divers can dive into the depths of the ocean on the south shore of Oahu near Honolulu and visit the Sea Tiger shipwreck—65 to 120 feet below. Don’t fret, this ship was purposely sunk for recreation by Voyager Submarines before it went out of business. So you don’t need to go worrying that you’ll see ships sinking during your trip to Hawaii.

Though the water temperature is around 75 degrees, wet suits are recommended as the edges of this artificial reef are jagged and sharp. The currents aren’t usually as bad as some of the other wreck sites, but it’s important to be careful and keep an eye on what the instructor is doing—just to be safe. Some people like to dive down to the top of the shipwreck and ride out their time there, but the more daring folks tend to test their luck in the bow section at about 120 feet. Tiger sharks and Hawaiian stingrays frequent these areas, so we don’t blame you if you want to go a bit deeper for a photo op. As you explore, swim through a couple of refrigeration holds on the ship’s decks and see a friendly Hawaiian green sea turtle napping in the corner.

The more experienced divers can delve into the darkened hallways and engine room of the ship, but watch out for the low hanging beams above. Keep an eye out as you maneuver through the dark waters; you never know what water creatures may come out to say hello. Around the perimeter of the boat, eagle rays will fly in formation and may even swim up to you for a picture or two.

If you aren’t quite ready for an advance dive to the Sea Tiger, Oahu Diving offers a number of beginner and intermediate courses—still giving you the chance to interact with some of Hawaii’s most famous marine life like reef fish, rare monk seals and majestic stingrays.

Bungee America: San Gabriel Mountains, California

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Photo via Flickr/Jorge Gonzalez

How does jumping off a bridge from a glorified rubber band sound to you? If it sounds like something you’d be up for, you’ve got to take a trip to southern California’s Bungee America and take an exhilarating leap from the Bridge to Nowhere.

Starting at 6:00 or 7:30 a.m., jumpers will begin the five-mile trek to the Bridge to Nowhere, crossing six creeks and lots of rocky terrain. Be sure to pack everything you need as it’s a two-hour hike back to your vehicle. Upon arrival to the bridge, your group will break off into groups to learn the ins and outs of the adventure ahead. A fun, 30-minute presentation—right at the edge—will enlighten you on the bungee equipment and how it keeps you safe, along with introducing you to the six different jumping techniques you can choose from. These include styles like the superman front dive and the elevator drop. Sounds awesome, right?

The jump operates on two platforms simultaneously, so there is constant action. After the adrenaline rush of a lifetime, feel free to hang out for the rest of the day watching others jump and then hike back to your vehicle with the staff. Or if you prefer, you can head back at your own pace. Bring your swimsuit, though, because there are loads of places to take a dip and cool down after an adventurous morning.

Gabbi Markle is a Travel intern at Paste Magazine and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.