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Adventures in Adrenaline

Adventures in Adrenaline

Take it to the limit with some of California’s wildest extreme experiences, including everything from diving shipwrecks to 70 mph go-kart racing

Whether it’s river rafting, rock climbing, or racing, California offers more than its fair share of heart racing activities for the thrill-seeking traveler. Check out a handful of these high octane experiences that are sure to get the blood pumping on your next trip to the Golden State.

Get your motor running

Put your mettle to the gas pedal at Sonoma Raceway. The famous 2.52-mile course, which hosts NASCAR, drag racing, and GT events, lets you take to the track for dragging and drifting, as well as karting at speeds of up to 70 mph.

2023 California Visitor's Guide, Tahoe Via Ferrata

Beat gravity—safely

Learn the ropes as you ascend a sheer 800-foot cliff at Tahoe Via Ferrata. Combining hiking and climbing—with some scrambling mixed in—the route’s ladders, steps, and suspension bridges allow even beginners to reach breathtaking heights.

Paddle the Smith River

A designated National Wild and Scenic River, the Smith River is all that—one of California’s wildest, most beautiful rafting destinations Head out on the North Fork with Redwood Rides Adventure Outfitters and take on churning Class IV rapids that sometimes blow up to Class V.

Soar over the Bay

See the seashore from a seaplane as you take off from the water in Sausalito and glide over the Bay Area with Seaplane Adventures. Between that watery takeoff and a thrilling splash landing, you’ll get a heart-stopping perspective on such landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge.

Explore a shipwreck

Near San Diego, scuba dive Wreck Alley. Local dive companies, including Waterhorse Charters, lead trips to this artificial reef, where ships were deliberately sunk to create a habitat for marine animals and an incomparable diving destination.

Zip through a forest

If gliding amidst treetops 300 feet above the ground at 55 mph sounds like a good time, head to Ziplines at Pacific Crest. From 90-minute outings to all-day adventures, this San Gabriel Mountains destination outside L.A. lets you soar like an eagle.

2023 California Visitor's Guide, Kiteboarding

Fly the Delta

Maybe you’ve never heard of Sherman Island in the California Delta, but kiteboarders sure have. With strong winds and mostly flat conditions, many consider it North America’s top summer boarding destination, a place to cruise at 20 mph and catch major air for acrobatics.

Rock out in Idyllwild

A global rock-climbing landmark, Idyllwild has drawn the legends since the 1930s. The towering granite faces of Tahquitz Rock and Suicide Rock have 500 named routes, and guided outings with Vertical Adventures will help you get a grip on California’s Matterhorn.

Get down with Downieville

Mountain biking was born in California, and for all the advances since the sport’s beginnings, the Downieville Downhill remains a daunting test. Home to the country’s longest downhill race, the route plunges 5,333 feet over 15 miles.

2023 California Visitor's Guide, The Wedge

Go to the edge

The laid-back Orange County beach scene goes wild at The Wedge, a world-class bodysurfing destination in Newport Beach. With 30-foot waves rebounding off the jetty, The Wedge has been likened to riding an angry bull—in a washing machine.

California Winery

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