My Mom and I have always wanted to go hot air balloon ride. On one of her visits to see me in California we decided it was time to cross this off our bucket lists. I had already been skydiving so the idea of going up in the air in a basket didn’t scare me one bit. If you are on the fence on whether or not to go hot air ballooning I highly recommend it. It felt like we were gently gliding through the air and was a surprisingly relaxing experience. The views are incredible and it really is an unforgettable experience. Taking hot air balloon rides in Southern California is one of the most fun things that you can do.
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link and buy something, I will earn a small commission from the advertiser at no additional cost to you.
Originally, I was interested in doing a sunset ride because I am not a morning person. I loved the idea of watching the sunset from a hot air balloon. We picked the California Dreamin’ company because they offer both a sunrise and sunset balloon ride. The sunrise balloon ride takes place in Temecula and the sunset ride takes place near Del Mar. Weather conditions play a huge role in whether or not an air balloon ride with be enjoyable or safe.
On the dates that my mom was visiting the weather conditions were not great so we were unable to take a sunset ride. We ended up booking a sunrise balloon ride which meant we got up around 3:30am. It was November when we went so we made sure to layer up before we left. If you are not familiar with Southern California weather you will at least want a warm jacket for the sunrise and sunset rides as it will be cool.
It was so dark when we got to Temecula and there are not many street lights so it was a bit difficult finding our check-in location. Be sure to leave early so that you have extra time in case you get lost. We checked in and got into a van to head over to where the balloon would leave from. Watching the process of the balloon rising is really cool and a great chance to take a lot of pictures. For the particular balloon that we were in, there were four compartments that held two people each comfortably.
I was very surprised by how spacious it felt considering the baskets are not huge. Our pilot was very friendly and informative and kept his ground crew informed on where the wind was taking us. The van that dropped us off tries to figure out where we will land based on the information the pilot provides so that they can be there to help detach the balloon from the basket when we land and give us a ride back to our cars.
We had a gorgeous view of mountains and a lake and it was really fun to see quite a few other balloons out as well. If you would like to see some of the videos I took from our balloon look for the youtube links below. I spent so much time looking down at the ground and it didn’t make me feel nervous or sick. I just kept thinking this is so cool over and over again. In Southern California, we are so blessed to have pretty great weather year-round which means that hot air ballooning happens year-round.
This means that you can decide to go on a whim or after planning for it for a while. California Dreamin’ costs $148 M-F or $168 S-S and advanced reservations are required. Tipping your pilot is encouraged but not required just make sure to have some cash on you if you think you would like to tip. If you have any questions on hot air ballooning just ask below.
Are you looking for other cool things to do in Southern California? Check out this post.