For perhaps the most unusual views of northern San Diego County you can get, go Sky Sailing (31930 Hwy. 79, Warner Springs, 760/782-0404, www.skysailing.com, daily, scenic trips from $70/person, lessons from $110). In a silent glider or “sail plane,” you’ll catch thermal updrafts, see Palomar Mountain and Warner Springs Ranch, and feel the wonder of birdlike flight. If you’re interested in sightseeing, make a weekday reservation or just drop by on the weekend for a flight flown by an FAA-certified pilot.
If it’s actually flying a glider yourself that lights your fire, book a lesson or rent a glider of your own. (Hand-controlled gliders are available for pilots with special needs.) And if you’ve got a strong stomach and great faith in your ability to survive, ask about the Sensational Aerobatic Rides.
If you prefer the notion of gliding off a sea cliff into the air above the Pacific Ocean, your destination is the Torrey Pines Glider Port (2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr., 858/452-9858, La Jolla, $150–175 for a 20-minute tandem flight). Here you can book a tandem flight on either a hang glider or a paraglider with only 20 minutes of pre-flight instruction. The specialty of the house is paragliding, and you can sign up for lessons and get certified to paraglide all on your own.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition