Editor's Pick: Our 10 Favorite Spots to Skydive in the U.S.!
Blame that mythical dude, Icarus. He wanted to fly like a bird, so he made himself a pair of giant wings. Fly, he did - until he went too close to the sun and plummeted to earth. Call it the first accidental case of skydiving.
Since that epic fail, real people have experimented with balloons, crude parachutes and even umbrellas. There are records of primitive parachuting dating to 10th century China.
In more modern times, skydiving really took off after WWII. With excess government parachutes lying around, many former paratroopers started jumping for the fun of it. Commercial schools began popping up in the '50s and '60s.
As of 2015, Dylis Price of Wales is considered the world's oldest female skydiver; she took it up at age 54; at 82, she's still at it, doing jumps for charity.
These days, Price and other adrenaline junkies leap out of planes at heights up to 18,000 feet (or more, for some super-extreme types) and plunge to Earth at speeds over 120 mph. Because of the wind, you won't hear much - including your own screams. But if you're up for the rush, check out ten top places in the U.S. for skydiving.
1. The Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
Sure, the Poconos may not be as massive as say, the Rockies, but the scenery in this neck of northeast Pennsylvania is pretty gorgeous. You'll spot Sugarloaf Mountain and rolling forests and fields.
2. Titusville, FL
Forget those guys blasting off INTO space - you're going the other way. Diving in this area gives you a great view of the "Space Coast" of Florida. You'll be able to catch a full view of Kennedy Space Center launch sites, plus a pretty sweet gander at the Atlantic Ocean.
3. Key West, FL
You'll pick out a panorama of islands, all linked by Route One - with plenty of coral reefs and marine life thrown in for good measure. The variation in water colors is something you'd never see at sea level.
4. Longmont, CO
Talk about a "Rocky Mountain High" - skydiving in this area puts you right up against that famous range. It's a view you won't see by any other means - unless, maybe you're a mountain goat.
5. Zion National Park area, UT
The weather is excellent all year round, so skydivers are pretty much guaranteed blue skies. As you're plunging to earth, take in gasp-inducing views of one of the most gorgeous national parks in America. FYI, it's illegal to land a parachute on any national park property, so go with a guide who knows the sky-terrain.
6. Molalla, OR
You'll be plunging towards a sea of deep green forest that stretches in every direction. That view is offset by stunning glimpses of Mounts Hood, St. Helen's and Rainier in the background. Just amazing.
7. Monterey Bay, CA
This area of California is simply gorgeous. As you free-fall, you'll be treated to an incredible view said named bay, as well as the Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz and the Salinas Valley are also within view, as is world-famous golf course Pebble Beach. Fore!
8. San Diego, CA
From this drop zone, you can spot not one, but two countries (the second being Mexico). Contrast the urban landscape of San Diego with the nearby desert l and Pacific Ocean views.
9. Oahu, HI
Sure, the Aloha State is pretty breathtaking when you're at ground level: try seeing it as you freefall from 13,000 feet up. You'll spot Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, rainforests and the entire island of Oahu - all from some of the most pristine blue sky anywhere.
10. Anchorage, AK
Alaska is one of the most beautiful, wild places in the country - not to mention, the world. Strapping on a parachute in this part of the state will give you views of Denali, the largest mountain in America. You'll likely spot wildlife roaming below, and get a birds-eye view of the Knik glacier.