The Best Places to Go Skydiving in the United States

From the California coast to the Alaskan wilderness, the US offers so many unique drop zones
From the California coast to the Alaskan wilderness, the US offers so many unique drop zones | © Oliver Furrer / Alamy Stock Photo
Alexia Wulff

Hawaiian shores, Alaskan peaks, Floridian waters – you’ll realize their true beauty when you’re hurtling towards them at around 120mph (200km). Here are the best places to go skydiving in the United States.

Ask someone to read you their bucket list and jumping out of a plane could be quite high on it. Skydiving is only growing in popularity, with extreme sports pros turning a one-time thrill into a casual weekend activity. But what makes this adrenaline jump most spectacular – aside from the 60-second free fall if you’re leaping from 15,000ft (4,500m) up – is the view, whether it be of soaring mountains, sprawling tundra, or crystal-clear waters.

1. Waialua, Hawaii

Natural Feature

Aweoweo Beach Park, Waialua, Mokuleia, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
© Douglas Peebles Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Tropical blue waters, white sand beaches, lush forests – few places in the US can compete with the beauty of the Aloha State. And what better way to experience that remarkable scenery than with a bird’s-eye view? Skydive Hawaii has jumps from 12,000ft (3,650m), 14,000ft (4,270m), and 20,000ft (6,100m) – the highest jump on Oahu, with 100 seconds of free fall. Meanwhile, the Pacific Skydiving Center in Honolulu features 10,000ft (3,050m) and 14,000ft tandems, both with views of the entire island from the North Shore to Pearl Harbor.

2. Anchorage, Alaska

Natural Feature

Aerial view of the Anchorage skyline looking south over Knik Arm during Fall, Alaska
© Design Pics Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

When looking to book a dive, heading towards the Arctic Circle may not be the first idea that comes to mind. But Alaska – with snow-capped mountains, colossal glaciers and unreal natural scenery – has some of the most diverse terrain in the nation. A prime destination for outdoor activities, Anchorage is also a gateway to experiencing the beauty of the Last Frontier from 10,000ft (3,050m) in the air. Alaska Skydive Center lets you jump over Denali National Park, home to Denali mountain, the highest peak in North America, before dropping you over the pristine waters of the Cook Inlet and the surrounding wilderness.

3. Key West, Florida

Architectural Landmark

Aerial photo of Key West, Sunset Key, Wisteria Island and sea port
© Alex Gore / Alamy Stock Photo
It’s hard to compete with a panorama of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Florida Keys archipelago as you plummet. Plus, falling from 2mi (3.2km/10,500ft) in the air offers unparalleled views of treasured coral reefs, encapsulated by chromatic waters. Skydive Key West dives reach speeds of more than 120mph (193kph); upon pulling the parachute, revel in the life-changing views as you float above the Keys.

4. Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania

Natural Feature

Lehigh Gorge State Park near Jim Thorpe, Pocono Mountains, Carbon County, Pennsylvania
© Colin Xu / Alamy Stock Photo

When it comes to drop zones, nothing beats forested peaks, alpine lakes and winding rivers. Pennsylvania Skydiving Center is only a short drive from New York and New Jersey, but it still offers an escape from city life with a drop over the foothills of the Poconos Mountains. Guided by instructors from the oldest USPA member skydiving center in the world, descend over the lush greenery of Pennsylvania, or opt for a fall dive when the foliage is ablaze with orange and red.

5. Zion National Park, Utah

Park

© Gary Cook / Alamy Stock Photo
Leaping out of a plane in Utah offers unsurpassable views in every direction. Especially awe-inspiring is the Zion National Park, with steep red cliffs and forest trails. The preserve beckons nature-lovers year-round with opportunities for hiking, biking and camping, as well as good weather. Thanks to Skydive Zion – which has a perfect safety record since opening in 2000 – the allure of the park can be encountered from an unusual perspective: miles above the ground.

6. Monterey, California

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark

Big Sur, Monterey County, California. Pacific Ocean, cliffs, and native plants on the beach.
© Hanna Tor / Alamy Stock Photo
It’s true – the California coastline bas some of the most dazzling scenery in the US, from craggy cliffs with sandy shorelines to the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. With views stretching from Carmel to Santa Cruz, why not take advantage of that beauty with a drop over the Monterey Bay? Skydive Monterey Bay offers jumps at 18,000ft (5,490m), letting you land closer to the ocean than any other drop zone in the state.

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