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The Best Places to Hot Air Balloon in California

The Best Places to Hot Air Balloon in California

Love is in the air, literally, and the Golden State is a pro when it comes to elevating your romantic getaway.


5 min read

June 09, 2021

Love is in the air, literally, and the Golden State is a pro when it comes to elevating your romantic getaway. A bucket list-worthy experience for almost every thrill-seeker, going on a hot air balloon ride is the closest you’ll get to reaching the skies without having any prior experience of flying. And when California is your destination of choice, you know you’re in for a good time. This one-of-a-kind experience is made even more euphoric when it’s paired with unbeatable vistas, glimmering coastline, and miles of twisting vineyards. 

As for people who aren’t too keen on taking risks, you have nothing to worry about. Hot air ballooning is extremely safe—some even call it the safest means of flying. As long as the weather is good, there’s nothing keeping you on the ground. Float over miles of rolling hills, and hold your loved one close as your relationship reaches new heights. And who knows? You just might even pop the question

Searching for romance in the skies? The best places to hot air balloon are right under your nose. 

Where to Go for the Best Hot Air Balloon Rides 

You don't need wings to fly at the magnificent San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Soar high in the sky to get the best views of rhinos and giraffes.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Similar to a journey to Africa, the spectacular San Diego Zoo Safari Park allows you to see some of the world’s most impressive and endangered animals. While you can view the wildlife via a tram ride, the best way to see them all at once is by going on one of the most beautiful hot air balloon rides in the state. Float above roaming groups of rhinos, gazelles, and giraffes, and treat yourself to 360-degree views of the majestic herds in the wild.

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The Balloon Safari is modeled after the hot air balloon tours of the Serengeti, rising silently up to 400 feet. Marvel at the animals moving from the distance with San Pasqual Valley peeking at you. And while you’ll only spend around 12 minutes in the sky, the memories will last forever. Enjoy unbeatable panoramas of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park shared only by the birds that soar up above. 

Find yourself in the sunny skies of Coachella Valley as your float among the clouds in Palm Springs. Never stop looking up!

Palm Springs 

What better way to appreciate the panoramic desert of the Greater Palm Springs area than from a bird’s-eye view? If you’ve been meaning to see palm tree-lined streets, mid-century modern architecture, and the best golf courses in the area all at the same time, then you’d better get over your fear of heights. Soak in the panoramic view of the idyllic Coachella Valley on a romantic outing with your boo with Eichler homes and luxury resorts dotting the entire area.

Balloons Above and HavNFun Hot Air Balloons are the places that offer the best hot air balloon rides while providing refreshing snacks and beverages after your voyage. You’ll be floating in the clouds anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes. Some of the operators let you get pretty hands-on too—HavNFun, for instance, lets passengers help set up and take down the balloon before and after their flights. At Balloons Above, you can also take lessons on how to fly the balloon yourself. Adventure is out there, so let your dreams take flight. 

Want to take the scenic route? Aim high and get carried away by the Temecula clouds. Adventure is out there.


A striking historic town surrounded by mighty mountains, vineyards, and rolling hills in the distance—Temecula proves that the sky’s the limit. Speaking of, this is the place to feast your eyes on California’s most spectacular landscapes from 1,500 feet above. Temecula is only about an hour from San Diego and 90 minutes from Los Angeles, making it an easy visit for a spontaneous outdoor date

At dawn, head out for a fabulous escapade in the skies and join hundreds of balloons rising above the curving vineyards. Book your journey with California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures, Magical Adventure Balloon Rides, or A Grape Escape, and watch the sun emerge from the horizon. Your balloon ride will let you bask in the hues of citrus groves, vineyards, and towering peaks in the distance. Don’t just fly, soar… 

You know it's going to be a good day when you're spending your morning having breakfast with the clouds in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley

There’s so much to explore in Napa Valley, and it certainly helps to know your way around the winding country roads and steep mountain drives. And yes, you’ll come across an abundance of activities that don’t include sipping on vino, and the best one is getting carried away literally. So for an extra relaxing experience, why not venture out with one of the best hot air balloon rides in the state and view the Wine Country region from the top? 

Fly over grand estates, quaint towns, and several Napa Valley attractions, many of which line the scenic Silverado Trail. Make your journey as exciting as your destination and book a ride with Napa Valley Balloons. Hop into a colorful balloon, adjust your altitude, and soak in the swoon-worthy vistas.


If you want to take the road less traveled, the laid-back Calistoga is an excellent option located within Napa Valley. Step inside a bright yellow balloon and let the backdrops of the towering Mount Saint Helena melt your worries away. Float above the morning mist and look out across the still valley as the sun peaks over the neighboring hills—there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

Have the ultimate experience with Calistoga Balloons, and you’ll be soaring effortlessly over the Petrified Forest and the picturesque California Old Faithful Geyser. You won’t be needing wings to fly anytime soon. 

There's something beautiful on the horizon. Is it the sun? Is it a hot air balloon? Or is it the eternal beauty of Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe 

You’ve seen Lake Tahoe from both the north and south shores, so why not view the iconic alpine lake from yet another perspective? Here to help you with flying is Lake Tahoe Balloons. Established in 1992, this company proudly guides you through one of the best places to go hot air ballooning. Launch and land from the “Tahoe Flyer,” the world’s first and only U.S. Coast Guard certified balloon launch. The azure waters of this mighty lake are mostly likely to be your prime attraction, but history buffs may want to keep a lookout for Emerald Bay’s Vikingsholm Castle and the famous Pop-Baldwin Estates

Start your journey shortly after sunrise and glide over the “Jewel of the Sierra” in one of the company’s brand new, state-of-the-art balloons. Enjoy a deluxe continental breakfast while feasting your eyes on all the surrounding beauty. Couple your morning atop with the astounding alpine setting, and you got yourself an adventure of a lifetime.

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