A few years ago I got a taste of ballooning and absolutely loved it. The thought of being lifted up. up, and away in a basket, led by a giant balloon, can be kind of frightening. After my first experience, I learned that hot air balloons are so relaxing, and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Last week, Keith and I got to experience hot air balloons over Napa Valley, and Keith is now a lover of ballooning too.
Napa Valley Balloons are an excellent choice for your ballooning experience. Every flight starts with coffee, juice and pastries and finishes with a full breakfast and mimosas, champagne (or sparkling cider in my case) and juice. They certainly make sure you won’t go hungry, which helps on these early morning flights.
I’m always surprised at how big the baskets are, as they hold about 20 people, plus the pilot! You can also opt to have a private flight for two, which would be extremely romantic.
I can’t think of many places that could be more beautiful than flying over Napa Valley. The vineyards below display a variety of colors, and neat and orderly beauty everywhere you look.
You’ve got mountains on one side and the San Francisco bay up ahead. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a clear day where you can actually see the city! Our pilot, Ken, says those days are few and far between, but we were lucky on our flight. We could just see the high-rises across the bay.
Riding with 15-20 other people could feel intrusive or not very private, but it really doesn’t. In addition to the pilot in his center section, there are 4 partitions, with each one holding 4-5 people. There is ample room to snuggle up against your loved one, and enjoy the scenery. I didn’t feel like others were invading my romantic time with Keith at all.
A bonus of having others on your flight is there are people to help take photos of you if you’d like. Some fun facts about this flight: We traveled at a max. speed of 12.7 mph, our max. altitude was 1855 feet, and we flew 7.4 miles! Because flights are early in the morning, you get to catch the sunrise.
The pilot has a camera attached a distance out from the balloon, where he can take several group shots throughout the flight. For $15 you can have an in-flight photo emailed to you. They actually email all of the photos they take, so you have options!
I can’t speak highly enough about Napa Valley Balloons and hot air ballooning. The staff and pilots are all extremely friendly and helpful, and willing to snap a photo for you if you’d like. Ballooning is quite early in the morning so get to bed early the night before and be sure to take a hat because the heat from the “hot air” can get to your head if you’re tall.
Dress appropriately for the season and have a blast!