Few experiences in life are as magical as a hot air balloon ride. Seeing the landscape from hundreds of feet in the air is a breathtaking experience. In the US, given our geographic diversity, hot air balloon rides take on new meaning in one of the many locations listed below.
In New England, famous for its fall foliage, ballooning is a feast for the eyes. High 5 Ballooning, established in 1995 by Tony Sica, offers balloon rides in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire, which provide aerial views of the lush northeastern landscape. Experience the beautiful changing colors of the leaves.
New Mexico, which hosts the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, is a favorite for hot air ballooning. Held in October, the balloon fiesta attracts ballooning enthusiasts from around the globe and offers a unique chance to see the striking colors of the state’s desert landscape. For information on local rides, see Rainbow Ryders Albuquerque, which was founded in 1984.
Napa Valley, California’s wine country, provides majestic views of the San Francisco skyline and Mount St. Helena, as well as the lush vineyards that cover the valley. The perfect way to enjoy the beauty of the rolling vineyards with a glass of wine in hand, hot air ballooning is a favorite activity among visitors to the region.
Floating above Lake Superior offers unobstructed views of the Great Lake and the sprawling North Woods. Best enjoyed during the summer months when temperatures are warmer, sunset and sunrise balloon rides at 500 to 2,000 feet above ground level provide a singular view of the glacier-formed landscape of Minnesota, as well as its fields, vineyards and orchards. For more information, see Minnesota Ballooning.
Home of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado promises an awe-inspiring ballooning experience. Enjoy a sunrise ride with breakfast and champagne as you soar above the state’s mountain ranges. A favorite in the region is Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Flights in Lafayette, which offers unforgettable ballooning adventures.
Lake Tahoe with its stunning views of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada mountain range and Nevada desert is an ideal ballooning location, offering an unparalleled variety of the landscape. Check out Lake Tahoe Balloons, established in 1992, which will ensure a picture-perfect ballooning experience.
In the southeast, the Great Smoky Mountains are a sight to behold. With its rolling hills and lush forests, the region provides an exceptional ballooning experience. From Asheville, companies like Balloons Over Asheville or Asheville Hot Air Balloons provide daily flights over the spectacular Smokies.
Nothing beats the view of the Grand Canyon from a hot air balloon. One of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, the greatness of the Canyon can be best appreciated from high above. Though most rides in the area are provided by private charters, the extra cost is worth it. Reach out to Apex Balloons, which offers rides from November through March, for more information.