Extreme tourism in Florida
A certain kind of delight resides in anticipated terror.
When you’re about to plunge out of an airplane from two miles high, fly a contraption fashioned from Dacron and aluminum, or race a redneck’s dream vehicle, your mouth gets dry, your palms sweat, and standing still becomes arduous. Your heart beats faster, and every sense is heightened.
Then there’s the adventure itself, when you breach the line from ordinary into extraordinary, living an experience that most only dream about.
The afterglow is just as sweet, a feeling of power, of conquest, of unadulterated joy.
Check out these three Sunshine State escapades. They’re bound to make you feel truly alive.
Leap into Freefall Fun
Try tandem skydiving at Skydive City in Zephyrhills, America’s busiest drop zone. After about 20 minutes of training, you will ascend to 13, 500 feet in a turbine-engine aircraft. Wearing a harness connected directly to the tandem parachute system, you and your instructor will jump together. You’ll accelerate to a blistering 120 mph, freefalling for about 60 seconds before the instructor deploys the chute at 5, 000 feet.
You can assist in steering the parachute during the ride down. You’ll practice the landing and have a roller coaster ride – if you like that – before touching down in the drop zone. And it will all be captured on video!
Snag a Bird’s eye View
Tandem hang gliding at Quest Air in Groveland is as close to being a bird as you can get without being hatched. There’s no cockpit to separate you from nature and no roar of an engine. You’ll be able to feel the air on your face, to carve your wings through it and, often, to share it with eagles, ospreys and vultures.
Quest’s highly qualified instructors will tailor your flight around your wishes. If the weather is right, you can see both Florida coasts, Downtown Disney and Epcot, Universal Studios, Orlando and Tampa. On special days you might even see a missile launch from Cape Canaveral.
You’ll be paired with a USHGPA-certified tandem instructor, and will be attached together as well as hooked into the glider. Tandem hang gliders are specifically designed for the job and are certified by the Hang Glider Manufacturers Association. There’s no running involved, either. Quest’s tandem hang gliders have heavy-duty landing gear, so your take off and landing will be on wheels.
Embrace the Bumps
Off-road riding is all about natural terrain and not tarmac. Embrace the bumps at Revolution Off Road in Clermont. You can choose from ATVs, buggies, or 4x4’s. Test your skills at driving through water, climbing slippery steeps and slithery descents. You'll also tackle gullies, creeks and mud, as well as log piles and a testing set of manmade steps. Or scream around the lake in a Mucky Duck. Off Road also offers archery and fishing.