By land, sea or air, adrenaline rushes abound in Atlanta. Thrill-seekers will find what they’re looking for thanks to the city’s bevy of bloodpumping activities. Georgia’s topography includes everything from massive mountains to rolling rapids, not to mention those wide-open plains that give sky-high adventures an unobstructed view. Follow in our footsteps, paddle strokes and cliff dives to make this a bucket list-conquering kind of summer!
Just the thought of plummeting out of an airplane that’s 14,000 feet off the ground gets our hearts racing. Skydiving has been around since the 18th century, and for good reason. While humans don’t have the natural ability to fly, we have the ingenuity to simulate the feeling. And that’s just the kind of experience Skydive Atlanta provides. Experienced instructors, a comprehensive training program and an open, clear landing area make this the best place to conquer your first (or 50th) jump. A tandem skydive for one to three people costs $219 (cash) or $230 (credit or debit). Group, student and military discounts are offered. Reservations strongly encouraged. 2333 Delray Road, Thomaston, 800.950.5867.
If jumping from a plane isn’t your idea of a good time (we couldn’t blame you), then try the unbelievable sensation of gliding through the air with Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding. These high-flying pros offer several experiences to accommodate varying skill levels. The daylong “Introductory Experience” is perfect for beginners (ages 12 and up) and includes five training hill flights, which launch you only five to 10 feet off the ground, followed by a tandem flight that soars to an altitude of either 1,500 feet ($249) or 3,000 feet ($299) above Lookout Valley. Lookout Mountain’s concrete radial ramp is one of the most advanced in the U.S., and launches gliders over 20 miles of ridge. Reservations required. 7201 Scenic Hwy, Rising Fawn, 800.688.5637.
If coming face to face with a 20-ton sea creature thrills you, then Georgia Aquarium’s Journey With Gentle Giants program is for you. The 2.5-hour experience allows scuba-certified guests to dive 20 to 33 feet ($334.95) in the aquarium’s largest tank, while non-certified guests can snorkel ($234.95) the tank’s surface. Part of the Ocean Voyager exhibit, the tank holds 6.3 million gallons of salt water that are home to four whale sharks, four manta rays and thousands of other fish. According to the aquarium, "No other aquarium in the world has ever attempted to manage the variety and size of fish in this major exhibit." Divers and swimmers must be age 12 or older. 225 Baker St. NW, Downtown, 404.581.4000.
Prefer keeping animal encounters to a minimum? The largest water park in the Southeast, Six Flags White Water packs a powerful punch with over 30 thrilling aquatic experiences. For a real rush, try the new 100-foot-tall Dive Bomber, a capsule water slide with a trap door that drops riders down nearly 90 degrees at more than 40 miles per hour. Tickets: $36.99- $41.99; kids 2 and under free. 250 Cobb Pkwy. N, 770.948.9290.
Adrenaline doesn’t rush as easily with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Treetop Quest gets your heart racing without taking you into the clouds or underwater. But you won’t find firm footing here. Instead, you’ll find intricate ropes courses, monkey bridges, Tarzan jumps and zip lines. And with over 70 obstacles of varying difficulties you don’t have to be a flying squirrel to traverse the treetops. Kids age 4 and up love the grounded “Chick Pea” course, while ages 7 and up enjoy the safely suspended “Chirpy on a Branch,” “Swing in the Trees” and “Fly through the Trees” courses. The most difficult courses, “Head in the Clouds” and “Your Place in the Sun,” are available to adventurers aged 12 and up. Tickets: $22-$49 for 2.5 hours. 2020 Clean Water Drive, 770.904.3547.