Luxury Hot Air Ballooning in California
Are you looking for a new, inspiring way to see California? A breathtaking experience to surprise a special person in your life? A hot air balloon will lift you into the realm of wonder, where you can see forever and anything in the world feels possible.
Hot air balloons were first invented in France in 1783, and lighter-than-air craft enjoyed a long period of popularity. After airplanes were invented in the 20th century, however, ballooning was largely confined to research purposes. In the 21st century the development of extra-tough nylon and a safe efficient burner system has caused a renaissance of interest in ballooning.
What you should know
Touring by hot air balloon is extraordinarily peaceful because without the vibration of an engine, you don’t feel as if you’re moving at all. Since you are drifting with the air currents, there is also no sensation of wind blowing. Comfortable, layered clothing is recommended, and women should avoid skirts; (they make climbing in and out of the basket difficult). Also, if an individual weighs more than 250 lbs, they may encounter a request to pay for an extra ticket, since even small increments of weight make a difference. Most commercial hot air balloon flights last for about an hour.
Wine country from the air
Balloons Above the Valley offers tours of Napa Valley’s wine country from the magic comfort of a balloon basket. Guests assemble at dawn, while the air is cool and winds are calm, and watch the magnificent spectacle of inflating the balloon while enjoying muffins and coffee. After a fresh morning ride over the rolling hills and vineyards of Napa Valley, offering views of the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, the balloon descends and everyone enjoys a luxury champagne brunch. Up to 24 people are present in a typical ride, in the largest baskets of any hot air balloon company. Packages including wine tasting tours and local hotel stays can also be arranged, along with transportation to and from the hotel. The balloon rides alone are $209. per person, and the balloon ride and wine tasting tour package together is $603 for two.
Wine Country Balloons also serves the Napa Valley area, but has a variety of balloon sizes and privacy options. If you want an balloon experience shared only with your family or private group, they are happy to accommodate your wishes for a $350. surcharge. For a unique romantic experience, consider their smallest balloon, which has a basket just big enough for two people and the pilot. Base prices for balloon rides with Wine Country Balloons, including luxury champagne brunch at a local restaurant, are $225. per person. Wine tasting tour packages are also available, as are wedding options if you’re planning a midair wedding.
Sky Drifters offers balloon rides over the Sierra Nevada foothills, launching the balloon from a lovely setting beside the Consumes River. During the quiet early morning ride, you can watch wildlife in the Deer Creek Hills Preserve ; the balloon floats above oak forests that cannot be reached by ground vehicle, and so are rarely seen. For $550. (weekdays) to $659 (weekends), Sky Drifters offers private charters for couples. They also offer aerial wedding packages which include catering, limousines, photography, and other services. For the extra-brave (and experienced), Sky Drifters also offers a chance to parachute out of the balloon from a requested altitude.
Del Mar coast
For a sunset adventure, Hot Air Flyer launches from Del Mar, just north of San Diego on the coast. Sipping complimentary champagne, passengers can watch the sunset while floating above pine-covered cliffs and sand beaches. Private charters are available for any size group between 2 and 12 people, for prices ranging from $900 for two to $1500 for six. Hot Air Flyer places the main emphasis of their business on “sweetheart” couples flights. Hors d’oeuvres are served during the post-flight celebration.