If you are visiting, or live within driving distance of northern California, activities you can enjoy are endless. Consider doing something outside of the box by taking a hot air balloon ride with Balloons Above the Valley. There are many other activities to choose from including (but are not limited to) national and state parks, vineyard tours and wine tastings. You can also consider skiing in the winter, beaches in the summer, photography tours and bicycle tours, and even a visit to the infamous Alcatraz. However, hot air ballooning remains a favorite northern California activity.
Because this activity is so popular, you will want to contact Balloons Above the Valley, Northern California’s premiere hot air balloon company, ahead of time to make sure you can schedule your flight ahead of time. Keep in mind, however, that hot air ballooning is a weather dependant Northern California Activity, which may result in the flight being changed to another date. This is for your safety and for the safety of the hot air balloon flight crew.
Even if you are uncomfortable with heights, or afraid of flying, you should consider trying out a hot air balloon ride. Unlike many northern California activities, hot air ballooning is relaxing and peaceful. Even people who normally dislike heights often find that hot air ballooning does not bother them. This may be partly due to the slow liftoff and the fact that the balloon rises gently to its final height, and is generally very stable. Motion sickness is not usually a problem because the balloon moves with the wind, rather than being buffeted by it.
Your hot air balloon ride will generally stay between 1,000 and 3,000 feet in the air. The highest altitude achieved by a hot air balloon was 68,986 feet, with the help of oxygen masks, but that is a record that hot air balloon rides are not attempting to beat!
The advantage to the height at which you will fly is that you can see for a long distance; however you can still see the endless rows of vineyards on the ground. The views are beautiful and you will definitely want to plan to have a camera with you to capture some of the vistas that unravel before you as you float along with the breeze.
Traditionally, a hot air balloon ride is followed, upon landing, with a champagne brunch. This is tradition based on an old superstition that says that farmers once thought hot air balloons were dragons coming down from the sky. The pilots offered champagne to the farmers as a way to calm their fears. Even though the superstition has fallen by the wayside, the tradition continues.
When you are planning on being in Northern California, you want to find activities that you will enjoy. It is easy to see why, among northern California activities, hot air ballooning is one of the all-time favorites!