Calling all adrenaline junkies! Summer is just around the corner, and whether you prefer to climb high in the sky just minutes from downtown or want to get lost in cool caves and along rushing rapids in the hills of Laurel Highlands, there are plenty of ways to explore your thrill-seeking side and make amazing memories all summer long.
Pack a cooler with some snacks, reapply that sunscreen and get ready to tackle a new challenge that’s sure to get your heart racing. Here are six of our favorite local spots where you can get your adventure on, rain or shine.
Dragon’s Den (Homestead)
The Dragon’s Den is a custom-designed indoor suspended obstacle course inside the former St. Mary Magdalene Church in Homestead, which makes it a great adventure activity for those rainy summer days that would otherwise be a washout. In addition to the heart-pounding thrill of navigating an obstacle course suspended 17 feet above the floor, adventurers can admire the dazzling architecture of the former church, which features classic woodwork and terracotta details you can experience up close.
Families with little ones will love the “Floating Dragons” course, which features 25 crossings and bridges just three to five feet off the floor, and thrill-seekers will want to be among the first to try the new “Dragon’s Peak” 20-foot climbing wall — which opens soon!
Laurel Caverns (Farmington)
With over four miles of twisting, turning underground passages, Laurel Caverns is Pennsylvania’s largest cave, and it’s just about an hour from Pittsburgh. Throughout this natural sandstone cave, most passage ceilings are between ten and twenty feet high — though some are as high as 50 feet! (So no, you won’t get stuck.)
Standard tours take about an hour and are very family-friendly, but more experienced spelunkers can choose their own adventures with the help of self-guided tour maps and helpful staff stationed throughout the caves to assist in choosing the best path for your ability level.
Go Ape Zipline & Adventure Park (North Park)
Go Ape is a hidden gem for urban-dwelling thrill-seekers. This zipline and adventure park is conveniently located in North Park, but when you’re safely suspended 40 feet in the air navigating their Treetop Adventure course, you’ll feel like you’re deep in the wilds of the forest!
Plan to spend two to three hours on Go Ape’s course, which includes heart-racing tree-to-tree crossings, 39 unique suspended obstacles like swinging rope bridges and ladders, and a zipline that sends you sailing through the treetops for 440 feet. While the course may sound intimidating to less-experienced adventures, it’s definitely friendly for amateur explorers and even for children 10 and up.
Wilderness Voyageurs (Ohiopyle)
Based at Ohiopyle State Park, Wilderness Voyageurs offers so many types of active adventures that you’re sure to find something for everyone! Every summer, Wilderness Voyageurs leads groups of adventurers through whitewater rafting tours, kayaking trips, guided bike tours, stand-up paddleboarding tours, and even fly fishing.
Wilderness Voyageurs truly lets you build your own adventure, so whether you’re looking for the hands-on support and knowledge of an expert guide or want to set off on your own with a rented bike or river raft to discover the Laurel Highlands region solo, they can get you set up at their outfitter store conveniently located along the Youghiogheny River.
Steel City Jet Ski Rentals (Station Square)
Get ready to hit the water with Pittsburgh’s first jet ski rental company Steel City Jet Ski Rentals! Featuring a fleet of brand-new 2021 Yamaha WaveRunners, up to three people at a time can enjoy one of Steel City’s premier jet skis for as little as half an hour or for up to an entire day.
Once you rent your jet ski, you’re free to roam long stretches of the three rivers between McKees Rocks, Lawrenceville, and the South Side — a 10-mile zone that offers countless stunning views of the city and its many attractions along the banks of the rivers. The best part is that all the prep work can be done online, including completing your rental agreement and getting your temporary boaters certificate to safely enjoy your outing.
SurfSUP Adventures (Sarver)
Ready to put those at-home core strength workouts from last year to the test? Stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) is a cult favorite summer pastime that you can enjoy at a leisurely pace or at a more intense speed — as long as you don’t mind getting wet!
SurfSUP Adventures offers guided stand-up paddleboarding adventures at several rivers and lakes throughout the region. Whether you’re interested in an educational eco-tour or a more challenging whitewater ride, their expert guides can get you started on a paddleboard (even if balance isn’t necessarily your strength). Be sure to check out their popular GlowSUP classes, which feature light-up paddleboards for a one-of-a-kind nighttime adventure!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.