Looking at Southern California, you can easily see why it is one of the best places to start your journey as novice skydiver or continue your road as an expert skydiver. Skydiving in California is a past-time that can be enjoyed by anyone, and with more than a dozen drop zones featuring some of the most stunning geographical views, one is spoiled for choice.
Drop zones in Southern California offer various events, skydiving lessons, skilled skydiving instructors, video and photo services, and much more besides, which makes the choice an easy one. Whether you are interested in solo skydiving, tandem jumping, or freefalling; whether you are a novice looking for your first skydiving thrill or an experienced skydiver, skydiving in Southern California is eminently accessible to all. Whatever you pleasure, you are sure to find it at one of the following drop zones, renowned for the best skydiving in Southern California.
Skydive Perris is a family-owned skydiving resort which has been in operation for more than 33 years, and is located just outside of Los Angeles. The drop-zone averages in excess of 100,000 jumps annually and is internationally recognized as a premier facility for students who want to go skydiving in California.
Skydive Perris is favored by Hollywood studios, who have filmed a number of movies at the drop zone, and it counts many celebrities amongst its loyal customer base.
Skydive Perris offers 12,500-foot jumps with nigh on a full 60 seconds of freefall, which is 25% more freefall time than offered by most other drop zones. This is achieved because Skydive Perris maintains the largest fleet of turbine powered planes on the West Coast; a Skyvan, a Super 300 Twin Otter, two Super Twin Otters, and a DC-9 jet.
The use of large aircraft means that Skydive Perris can accommodate large groups without a problem, which is fantastic for groups looking to jump together and also facilitates the thrill of large formation skydives being a distinct possibility.
The facilities at Skydive Perris are unrivalled and include:
- A Restaurant – The Bombshelter Bar and Grill is open every day from 8am to sunset and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Relaxing over a meal, taking advantage of the fully licensed bar and watching jump videos is a favorite pastime after a jump.
- A Pro Shop – Adventure Sports Loft, Inc is a full service rigging facility located on the DZ. It is open whenever skydiving is taking place.
- A Swimming Pool – Skydiving customers are free to use the pool, lounge around the pool area and take in the ambience and sites before or after a jump.
- Accommodation - There is no shortage of accommodation available; from Tent City, which is free, to the Bunkhouse which is situated behind the Skydive Perris School and is perfect for the very, very budget conscious to the International House of Parachutists (IHOP), located on the DZ and suited to the very budget conscious, to the many local hotels and other accommodations nearby that offer skydiver discounts.
Apart from some of the best skydiving in California, Skydive Perris also offers an on-site indoor skydiving facility, and tandem skydives with experienced instructors. Various packages such as the Sensory Overload package, which consists of two flights in the indoor wind tunnel followed by a tandem skydive, complete with various video packages. There are also Senior Sundays, and Military Mondays packages.
Skydive Elsinore was established in 1959, and lies about an hour’s drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego’s metropolitan areas. The scenic Elsinore Valley in which Skydive Elsinore is located is the home of the largest natural lake in Southern California, alongside the splendid Ortega Mountains. Elsinore is a premier center for skydiving in California and offers Tandem Skydiving and First Jump Skydiving courses given by professional skydiving coaches such as multi award-winning owner/operator, John Hamilton, who has in excess of 18,000 jumps under his belt.
Skydive Elsinore is known for having the friendliest staff in the industry, a small drop zone vibe with every amenity a large drop zone can offer, and amazing year-round views. It is also the home of cutting-edge research and development in parachute drop testing and serves as an Edwards Air Force Base remote test parachute facility.
This friendly, professional team is led by a Management Team consisting of Owner/GM, John Hamilton, who has been jumping since 1986 and has won many skydiving awards; Owner / Chief Pilot, Karl Gulledge, and School Manager, Laurent Lobjoit. All of the instructors at Skydive Elsinore have been skydiving in California for many years, have between 700 and 13,000 jumps, and are USPA qualified. All the riggers at Elsinore are FAA-certified. All camera personnel responsible for taking both Digital Video and Digital Still Photographs are professionals.
The facilities at Skydive Elsinore include:
- Over two acres of beautiful luscious lawn, located next to the loading and packing areas
- An enchanting oasis in which to relax, complete with bubbling fountains and shade trees
- A full-service snack-bar which is open 7 days a week
- Barbecue lunches are offered every Saturday and Sunday
- Onsite bunkhouse and camping facilities and hot showers
- Air-conditioned video and team debriefing areas
- Packing Area – 8,000 sq. ft. area, covered and carpeted, with cool misters
If you want to go skydiving in California, then Skydive Elsinore is the place to learn. It has one of the best training facilities in the world, and offers skydiving training in the form of their United States Parachute Association (USPA) accredited Accelerated Free Fall course. Skydive Elsinore’s Skydiving School has the most up-to-date equipment; the most current USPA approved learning progression programs, and the friendliest USPA instructors. Instruction and coaching is available in Freefly/Canopy, Tandem, Canopy and Wingsuit jumping.
Skydive Elsinore also offers the Elsinore Elevate program, which is designed for one-on-one formation skydiving coaching. This program is aimed at the novice who wants to learn formation skydiving and those who already have thousands of jumps under their belt but who want to brush up on their skills in order to earn their AFF-I Rating. This program is overseen by professional skydiver Barry Williams, who has more than 6, 000 skydives under his belt.
Skydive San Diego
Skydive San Diego is situated just 25 miles from San Diego‘s city center. Many individuals who go skydiving in California choose Skydive San Diego because of its easy access from the city. The other reason they do so is because of the magnificent views. On a clear day one can see over 50 miles, and can take in the magnificent vistas of the San Ysidro Mountain Range, downtown San Diego, the Salton Sea, and Coronado Island.
Skydive San Diego is the training ground of the US Navy SEALs. The West Coast teams do their initial skydiving training next door at Tactical Air Operations before doing their continuing training and currency jumps at Skydive San Diego. Some of the individuals from the Navy Special Warfare community also skydive for fun at Skydive San Diego, and some of them are instructors there.
Skydive San Diego has a fleet of the newest, safest and largest jump ships of all those used for skydiving in California. Their flagship craft is the DeHavilland Twin Otter (DHC-6), which is versatile and highly maneuverable, and can take up to 23 jumpers. The Twin Otter is known as a “bush” plane, and can be flown slowly and in tight circles, which is perfect for lifting skydivers.
The smaller Cessna Caravan holds 12 jumpers, which is great for groups of friends who want to jump together. The Caravan is very versatile, which is one of the reasons that it is the choice of many skydiving in California drop zones. It sets the standard for flexibility and performance, and is the perfect partner craft for the Otter.
Skydive San Diego is a full-service skydiving facility, and offers the following amenities:
- Multiple training buildings are available for the various forms of training offered at the drop zone
- Deluxe packing lofts where skydivers can pack their equipment in comfort
- A BBQ deck and patio where one can relax whilst waiting for friends to finish their jumps or after your own thrilling skydiving in California experience
- A grass landing area which serves for take-offs and landings, which allows your friends and family to watch you land safely
The Revolution Freefly and Canopy School, which was established in 2007, is hosted by Skydive San Diego. Matt Lewis, a member of Precision Aerodynamics Team Xaos, previous member of US Team for canopy piloting, and a multiple award-winner, leads the school. The school teaches basic RW, sitflying, tracking, headdown flying, backflying, camera flying, and also conducts progress team training.
Skydive San Diego’s Accelerated Freefall (AFF) Training program is the most highly developed and advanced first-jump training program in the world. It is possible for an individual undertaking the Solo Freefall program to get solo-certified in just seven skydives with Skydive San Diego’s USPA-certified program. The Solo Freefall Certification enables one to self jumpmaster and Skydive from 7000′ minimum, without direct supervision.
Wherever you choose to go skydiving in Southern California, one thing is for certain; you are guaranteed of great jump craft, highly-qualified instructors, friendly staff, great facilities and some of the most magnificent views Southern California has to offer. This is truly one of the best places to go when skydiving is at the top of your to-do list. Make sure you take full advantage of this experience as it is worth every second.