Great Heights

Flying High in the Hamptons

Great Heights

The summer season may be winding down, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a summertime “high” in the Hamptons. The view from the beach is always a good one, but sometimes, adding a little altitude can truly take your weekend to new heights. Here are four of our favorite ways to take to the sky while visiting the East End:

Drift Away in a Hot Air Balloon

For the most peaceful vistas and a dreamy sense of perspective, nothing compares to the gentle lift of a hot air balloon. These colorful, slow-moving globes navigate by the wind, something each pilot is expertly trained to do; as a result, no two rides are ever exactly the same, and views can vary from the coastline to the mainland to the ocean beyond. The rush of being up so high is mitigated by the soothing sensation of being lifted through the air by nothing more than a breeze, and unlike some of the other high-flying adventures described here, a hot air balloon is a tranquil, almost meditative experience. We won’t call the unbelievably romantic setting the perfect place to propose, but boy is it close. (balloonridesovernewyork.com; 800.611.1298)

Surf the Sky on a Flyboard

Closer to earth and a whole lot wetter is Flyboard, a relatively new extreme sport worthy of Marty McFly: yes, we’re talking hoverboards. Water-powered hoverboards, to be precise, tethered to a 60-foot hose and propelled both above and below the surface of the water in wildly acrobatic twists, spins, arcs, and dives. The pros at Hampton Flyboard have been in the game longer than most, and as native Long Islanders, they’re also intimately familiar with the area, meaning that their flyers get some of the most comfortable settings possible for this boundary-pushing sport. Flyboards look difficult to maneuver, but Hampton Flyboard asserts that most flyers are up within a matter of minutes—then back down, beneath the water, then back up, twisting into the sky, then diving back down again. (hamptonflyboard.com; 631.604.8867)

Soar Above It All in a Glider

If water-powered aircrafts don’t get you enough height, consider a ride in a glider. They look like planes, but gliders are engineless aircrafts, towed to altitude by a plane and then untethered for a smooth, sloping descent back to earth that relies on air currents and the navigational prowess of the pilot. Sky Sailors’ Soaring Seagull and Golden Eagle gliders are in top-notch condition, and a flight includes your first lesson in glider navigation, in case you’re considering working towards your solo license. Packages are available for solo flyers and tandem rides; many include the option to take the controls under the supervision of the pilot and really get to know the feel of navigating these silent, surprisingly zen-feeling aircrafts. (skysailors.com; 631.288.5858)

Experience the Unparalleled Rush of a Sky Dive

Since 1986, Skydive Long Island has been flying jumpers as high as 13,500 feet, the highest altitude jumps on Long Island, and letting them leap from the plane. Their two turbine aircrafts operate from Calverton Enterprise Airpark, and are the only aviation use of the massive 10,000-foot runway, offering jumpers both reliability and an intimate setting. Each jump includes all necessary equipment; for first-time jumpers, that also means a certified USPA tandem instructor. Video packages to document the experience are available, and include a professional videographer who accompanies the jumpers into the sky and records key moments throughout the pre-jump, the jump itself, and the exhilaration of landing safely back on earth. When it comes to getting as close as possible to the sky in the Hamptons, this is the way. (skydivelongisland.com; 631.208.3900)