It can be difficult to locate, let alone maintain, that certain, magical *alive* feeling—you know the one—while deeply locked in to the routines of everyday life. One surefire way to reconnect with it, though, is by strapping a parachute to your back and jumping out of a moving aircraft.
Were you to type “adrenaline-inducing experiences” into your search engine, skydiving would undoubtably make the list. Anyone who’s ever done it will tell you that if the wind hitting your face during free fall hadn’t already taken your breath away, the views most certainly would. And once your parachute opens and you’re sailing through the (surprisingly quiet) skies at 10,000 or so feet you have plenty of time to marvel at the world from a distance few beings without wings have ever observed. So, you might as well ensure the view on the way down’s an epic one, right?. Although any jump is certain to be awe-inspiring and life-affirming, some will actually blow your mind.
Below, the 9 spots every skydiving junkie has on their bucket list, and why.
1. Dubai: The Palm Jumeirah
Dubai is actually home to one of the largest international skydiving competitions, but you don’t have to compete in order to free fall at 120 mph here. Tandem jumps are available through Skydive Dubai, and they’ll offer you an impressive three for one: a bird’s eye view of the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai’s aesthetically-impressive man-made archipelago, the city itself, and the Persian Gulf.
2. Nepal: Mount Everest
If climbing up Mount Everest sounds a *bit* daunting, your best bet may be to jump onto it instead. With Everest Skydive, you’ll dive from a helicopter at 23,000 ft. and, on your way down, get an aerial view of the sherpa settlement and all of the Himalayas, including Mt. Everest, of course. CNN ranked this elite dive number 8 on its list of “try before you die” adventures, so if you’re looking to impress your friends and followers (or, you know, yourself), bucket-list this baby ASAP. After, you have the option of embarking on an additional 10-day journey to Everest’s base camp, though that’ll cost you additional cash. The 11-day jump-only trip (8 days of which involves trekking, acclimating to the altitude plus three days of jumping) is priced at a cool $25,000.
3. Australia: Arilie Beach
Arilie Beach is considered the hub of the Whitsunday Islands, which, if not already on your wanderlust check list, should be added, stat. It’s known to be Australia’s most-beautiful drop zone, but it’s not like you can really go wrong anywhere on the coast of this country. With Skydive Airlie, you’ll get views of the islands, crystal clear waters, and the Great Barrier Reef from 15,000 ft. Given that scientists believe the latter will be gone within decades, this jump offers an experience about which you’ll someday tell your awestruck (and, hopefully, conservationist) grandchildren about.
4. Switzerland: Interlacken
This jump in Europe’s “sports capital” offers views of the Alps and the lakes of Interlaken, of course, but also of Italy, France, Germany, and Austria—all from 13,000 ft. Skydive Switzerland also offers an option that lands you on a glacier. Additional on land adventure opportunities in the area include sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, paragliding, boating, a visit to this one-of-a-kind ice palace, and more.
5. The Republic of Palau: The Rock Islands
This country, located east of the Philippines, boasts hundreds of breathtakingly beautiful islands. It’s known by scuba divers as a top site due to its diverse and flourishing marine life (its oceans have been called “the underwater Serengeti”), however, the scenery is no less stunning from the sky than it is below sea. If you’re really in for an adventure, sign on to 2018’s Sea-To-Sky Boogie this spring. It includes 10 days of scuba diving followed by skydiving from a variety of exciting drop zones—everything from beaches to WWII battlefields.
6. Hawaii: Waialua
You’d be hard-pressed to find a dive spot in Hawaii that isn’t epic. Still, Waialua stands out for its scenic views of O’ahu’s North Shore. Through Skydive Hawaii, you can make tandem jumps at 12,000, 14,000, or 20,000 ft., which is Hawaii’s highest tandem dive. Obviously, if you’re a surfer, you can add some of the world’s most-famous waves to your trip as well. After, if you want to check out O’ahu’s southern hotspot, Honolulu, check-in at The Surfjack, the state’s cutest boutique hotel.
7. New Zealand: Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier is an 8-mile-long stretch of snow and ice located in the remote Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast along the Tasman Sea (about 4 hours north of Queenstown). The dive down to the glacier, offered through Skydive Fox Glacier, has been on many a “best of” list for its scenic views of rainforest, mountains, lakes, seas and, of course, glaciers. Jump from either 13,000 or 16,500 ft.—but know that the latter option offers 70 seconds of free fall.
8. Arizona: The Grand Canyon
If you’re looking for a dive site that’s a bit closer to home than many of the rest on the list, this Grand Canyon jump, offered through Paragon Skydive, might fit the bill. It’s the second-highest dropzone in the world after Nepal and, perhaps, a more interesting way to check this natural wonder off of your must-see list than, you know, simply staring at it.
9. Belize: The Blue Hole
If you made it through this entire story without wanting to jump out of a plane, this epic dive might be the one to change your mind. Through Skydive Belize, you can jump over and into The Blue Hole, a giant sinkhole in the middle of the ocean off the coast of Belize, which is also a world heritage site (AKA an universal landmark). Then, you’ll hop onto a boat, get geared up, and dive again—this time, into the ocean’s depths. After, the tour will take you to Half Moon Cay for lunch and a second (scuba) dive. Now that is epic.
Ready to book your tix? Find out when they’ll be cheapest. If you’d rather stare up at the sky than jump from it, however, try these dreamy getaways, perfect for stargazing, instead.