It’s no secret that zip lines are an easy way to get an adrenaline rush on vacation—with the added bonus of seeing a place from a completely different vantage point. And these days, they’re all trying to outdo each other. From flying high above a volcanic crater to hanging on for dear life on 10 miles of lines, we’ve got the top five largest, fastest—and craziest—zip lines ever:
1. Icy Strait Point ZipRider - Hoonah, Alaska
Bigger is better, right? The longest zip line in the world features six separate lines, each a mile long. The adventure begins before you’re strapped in—with a 45-minute tour and an eight-mile bus ride to the mountain top, where you can see Hoonah’s tree-covered peaks and the ocean below. You and five other riders simultaneously zip down the mile-long, 1,300-foot vertical drop at speeds of up to 60 mph.
2. Haleakala Skyline Tour - Maui, Hawaii
Soaring above waterfalls is no longer just for the birds. Perched over the summit of Haleakala Crater, thousands of feet above the ground, this 3,300-foot aerial runway is the closest you can come to flying. If this isn’t enough air time to get your heart pumping? Try the pendulum line, which reaches speeds of 40 mph. Or dare to walk on the swinging bridge (Indiana Jones-style) before leaping into the valley below.
Heart-pumping adventure on the Haleakala Skyline Tour. (Courtesy: Haleakala Skyline Tour)
3. Zip2000 - Sun City, South Africa
The view from the top of the world’s fastest line is a little like looking out an airplane window. But there’s no need for a parachute on this jump, where you’ll plunge at top speeds of 115 mph. For the full-flying effect, you’ll lie flat on your stomach, with a rudder placed between your legs to keep you heading straight down the 1.2-mile line.
On the Zip2000: the closest thing to flying. (Courtesy: Zip2000)
Secret spots and killer waves are a surfer’s dream. Now take that up a couple thousand feet and you’ve got yourself an extreme adventurer’s idea of paradise. Proclaimed as the world’s longest zip line above water, this 50 mph ride passes over a secret beach cove, with the waves crashing just below your feet.
5. Screaming Eagle Tours - Banning, Georgia
If flying at 60 mph on almost 10 miles of lines isn’t enough of a scare factor, how about adding an actual ghost town? Zip back in time over the Lost Gorge and the abandoned 19th-century buildings of Banning, where spirits are just a bonus attraction. Verified by two Guinness World Records in 2012 as the longest and largest zip line in the world, you’re guaranteed to have more screams than a haunted house.