Flying in a hot air balloon is truly a magical experience that everyone should enjoy. Nestled safely in the wicker basket, floating gracefully hundreds of feet above the earth, the quietness is deafening and the views are spectacular. Hot air balloons use a heat source, usually a large torch to warm up the air inside the balloon and off you go. The pilots masterfully use wind currents to move and change direction by altering elevations to find different flows.
It’s all pretty rudimentary and amazing at the same time, how these massive balloons and their pilots can navigate as well as they can. Without an actual motor, these pilots are so skilled it continuously amazes me.
If you are not a fan of heights then maybe this isn’t for you, but for us daredevils, it is the ultimate experience.
I compiled a list of some of the best hot air balloon organizations and businesses in the country, so float away friends and find your freedom hundreds of feet in the sky.
Albuquerque is home of the world famous Balloon Fiesta, a gathering of thousands of balloon enthusiasts every October. Rainbow Ryders is a FAA certified organization that operates 300 days a year and flies along the Rio Grande River. They have baskets that fit up to 12 people, so bring the whole family and experience the majesty of flight.
Napa Valley Balloons
Napa Valley, CA
What better vantage point to soak in the magnificence that is the Napa Valley Wine region than with Napa Valley Balloons. Their beautiful balloons will drift above some of the world’s best vineyards and the guides will keep you informed the entire trip. Book an all day tour with them that includes wine tasting, guided bike tours and dinner at the acclaimed restaurant Etoile.
Arizona Balloon Safaris
Cave Creek, AZ
Fly through the stunning Sonoran Desert just north of Phoenix. I would take the sunrise tour where the balloon flies just feet above the ground and you can see wildlife and the world famous Sonoran Cacti. Their balloons also get as high as 5,000 feet where you can see for miles and in the distance you can spot the Grand Canyon.
Vista Balloon Adventures
Located just a mere 40 miles outside of Portland, Vista Balloon will show you the splendor of the Willamette Valley and even give you a “splash and dash.” This is when they literally touch the basket down to the Willamette River for a quick second. Finish the tour with brunch and mimosas, a real hipster way to end anything.
Asheville Hot Air Balloons
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville is an artist community and the guided tours showcase the area’s gorgeousness. The launching points change daily according to the wind and weather, so each tour is unique.
Balloons Over Letchworth
Float high above the Letchworth State Park and view over 20 wonderful waterfalls and humongous gorges that are over 600 feet. The Letchworth State Park is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East, so where better than up in a hot air balloon to see the majesty. They operate tours from April to October, so catch a ride when you can.
Lake Tahoe Balloons
Lake Tahoe, CA
Lake Tahoe is one of America’s most beautiful places and the largest alpine lake in the country, so a balloon is perfect to check out the entire lake. Spend hours in the thin and crisp mountain air as you glide above the California and Nevada border. They fly every morning, so book a trip soon to soar with the birds and see the heavens while still on earth.
Hot air Balloons are a magical experience and I hope you get to enjoy it soon.
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