Skydiving is not for everyone. If the idea sounds too petrifying to be exciting, or if you faint easily, then just move along. There's no reason to throw yourself out of a plane if you're not going to enjoy the ride. But if it seems compelling, exciting, or just plan fun, then do it.
The easiest way to start off is with a tandem jump, where you are physically strapped to an instructor. This does more than keep you safe. It ensures that you will, in fact, leap out that gaping port into the wild blue yonder. Even if you are brave and logically prepared, when your feet are dangling above 15,000 feet of nothing there's a reptillian part of your brain that screams at you that this really is not a goot idea. Luckily, the large man you are buckled to makes that decision for you. And when you are falling down at 100+ mph, you don't have to stress about when to open your 'chute. You just enjoy the ride and wait for the professional to do all the work.
When you go, you'll watch an instructional/promotional/legal-notification video with a spokesman who is almost as memorable as your jump. Then they'll give you some more instructions, suit you up, take you up in a plane, strap you to them, throw you out, fall for one of the longest minutes of your life, open the chute, and then float gently but inexorably to the ground. No problem.
There's a couple skydiving places near the Bay — all involve at least some driving, since you'll be taking off from a small municipal airport. I was taken to* NorCal Skydiving, which gave you beautiful views of Napa/Sonoma in both your ascent and your descent. I've also heard good things about Bay Area Skydiving, further east near Byron.
When: 7 days a week. Weekends can fill up, so reserve ahead.
Where: Cloverdale or Byron
How Much: $170 to $200, but there are discounts