If you are planning a trip to Napa Valley, one thing you must consider is taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. For the wine buff, you'll get a unique view of the vineyard from above. For the thrill seeker, sights that will take your breath away. And for those with a little vertigo, you can take your love of adventure to new heights.
Living in such close proximity to Napa Valley, I've frequented there many times. But this trip to Wine Country was one for the books! If you've seen my Bucket List, then you know a hot air balloon ride has been something I've always wanted to do. And I'm so glad my first flight was with Napa Valley Aloft!
The hubs and I left San Francisco around 4am and drove to Yountville the morning of our flight. We were greeted with hot tea, coffee and pastries as we checked in and waited with excitement! When the time came, we watched as the crew quickly prepped for take off. The baskets attached to the vibrant balloons slowly started to rise, one by one. We finally hopped into our basket and, before we knew it, we were up in the air!
Gaining altitude, everyone was mesmerized by the panoramic views of the valley. After awhile, we simply floated around, up in the sky and watched the other balloons pass above and below our own. It was so serene.
Our hot air balloon ride lasted about an hour and we reached a total altitude of 2,500 feet above the valley floor. When our flight had come to an end, we landed among a vineyard and waited as the crew came running towards us to help us unload. We shuttled back to V Marketplace and toasted with a champagne brunch. It was a lovely end to an amazing adventure!
About Napa Valley Aloft
Napa Valley Aloft is a family-owned hot air balloon company that has been operating since the 1970s in Yountville, a quaint little town near Napa Valley. After doing a bit of research, I was extremely impressed by Napa Valley Aloft's knowledge and professionalism, and I could not wait to experience one of their hot air balloon tours first hand! One of the OG hot air balloon companies in Napa Valley, all their pilots are equipped with the experience needed to ensure a safe and fun ride! Flying high over Napa Valley for years, they are the only hot air balloon company with exclusive rights to fly over Pope Valley as a secondary launch site in times of inclement weather. This means you still get the beautiful vineyard views as opposed to flying with the other competing hot air balloon companies!
Choosing A Hot Air Balloon Ride
Napa Valley Aloft offers 3 different flight options:
- Adventure Aloft Hot Air Balloon Ride (8 - 14 passengers)
- Exclusive Flight for Two
- Exclusive Flight for Four
You can also choose to add on a post-flight champagne brunch for an additional charge. It's a fun way to spend some time getting to know your pilot and other passengers from your balloon!
Things To Know Before You Take Flight
Reserving your flight 1-2 weeks in advance is recommended. However, sometimes a last minute booking can be accommodated -- just call and ask! You can reserve by phone or via their website.
Book It: Napa Valley Aloft
WHAT TO WEAR & BRING
- Dress comfortably and in layers. The morning can be quite chilly, but as the morning progresses it can get pretty warm, so you'll want to adjust accordingly.
- Wear pants and closed-toed shoes -- you'll have to climb in and out of the basket!
- A hat & sunglasses are optional (just make sure you don't drop them!).
- Leave purses, backpacks and other large objects at home -- the less you bring, the less you have to worry about.
- Most importantly, don't forget your camera. You'll want to capture all the stunning views from above!
THE MORNING OF YOUR FLIGHT
- Don't forget to call for the weather decision about 1 hour prior to your flight time, in case of inclement weather! Pre-Flight Weather Briefing #: (707) 935-9880
- Check in at V Marketplace: 6525 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599
- Parking is available in an attached lot, outside of V Marketplace.
- Shuttle service is complimentary to those staying in the Yountville area, and shuttle shuttle services are offered for an additional fee for those staying in Napa, Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena.
- Hot beverages and pastries are served as you check in. This was perfect, since no coffee shops were open yet!
- Meeting times vary throughout the year, but you will receive a couple of email reminders from Napa Valley Aloft with arrival and start times. We got there bright and early, before sunrise!
No matter if you're visiting for the first time or the tenth, I highly recommend taking a hot air balloon ride to explore Napa Valley from the clouds! Overlooking the vineyards below from a bird's eye view was unlike anything I've ever experienced before.
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This post was written in partnership with Napa Valley Aloft.
As always, all honest opinions are my own.