Best hot air balloon ride? Readers vote Napa Valley Aloft


Winner takes to the skies above California wine country

Hot air balloons take the act of travel to new heights, offering a fresh perspective while floating in the sky in a woven wicker basket. There’s no other experience quite like it.

  • Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides

    Napa Valley Aloft has been flying the skies of Napa Valley since 1978. Baskets are smaller than competitors which gives passengers better views and a more personalized experience as they float above the rolling vineyards.
    Photo courtesy of Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides

  • Black Hills Balloons

    Black Hills Balloons has been in business for more than 35 years, offering flights over the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. While floating over this unique landscape, passengers might spot whitetail deer amid the ponderosa pine forests and granite spires of Custer State Park.
    Photo courtesy of Black Hills Balloons

  • Grand Adventure Balloon Tours

    Grand Adventure Balloon Tours offers year round flights above the spectacular Rocky Mountain Range of Colorado, within easy day trip distance from Denver, Breckenridge, Grand Lake and Estes Park. Views include the Continental Divide and the edges of Rocky Mountains National Park, with the chance to fly low and spot local wildlife or splash and dash in a nearby pond or river.
    Photo courtesy of Grand Adventure Balloon Tours

  • Lake Geneva Balloon Company

    Thousands of guests have taken to the skies above Wisconsin with Lake Geneva Balloon Company since its founding in 2002. Guests can choose between sunrise or sunset flights, which include about an hour in the air and a post-flight champagne toast. Couples can book a romantic private flight for two.
    Photo courtesy of The Lake Geneva Balloon Company

  • Lake Tahoe Balloons

    Lake Tahoe Balloons takes guests on a journey high above the largest alpine lake in North America for unobstructed aerial views of its cobalt blue waters. It’s also the only balloon company in the world that launches and lands from the deck of a boat.
    Photo courtesy of Lake Tahoe Balloons

  • Balloons Over Letchworth

    Letchworth State Park, located in western New York about two hours southeast of Niagara Falls, is one of the most spectacular spots in the country to take a hot air balloon ride. Balloons Over Letchworth is the only company allowed to launch from within the park, offering stellar views of the Grand Canyon of the East.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / JimVallee

  • Sky Riders Balloon Team

    The Sky Riders Balloon Team takes passengers on hot air balloon rides over the rolling hills and forests of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Depending on the winds, it’s sometimes possible to see the Philadelphia skyline in the distance.
    Photo courtesy of Sky Riders Balloon Team

  • Rocky Mountain Hot Air

    Hot air balloon flights with Rocky Mountain Hot Air typically include an hour of air time above the Chatfield State Recreation Area in Colorado.
    Photo courtesy of Patsy Buchwal / Rocky Mountain Hot Air

  • Rainbow Ryders

    As home to the International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque is one of the world’s most popular spots for hot air ballooning. Rainbow Ryders offers daily flights throughout the year high above the high desert landscape of New Mexico, as well as the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. The company is also the official hot air balloon ride operator at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
    Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ryders

  • Arizona Balloon Safaris

    Passengers with Arizona Balloon Safaris begin their adventure with a chance to see a balloon inflation up close, followed by a launch from the Sonoran desert. Flights offer 360-degree views of the desert below, with panoramic views from high above the valley and close-to-the-ground opportunities to see local flora and fauna.
    Photo courtesy of Mel Zawadzki / Arizona Balloon Safaris

The top 10 winners in the category Best Hot Air Balloon Ride are as follows:

  1. Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides
  2. Black Hills Balloons
  3. Grand Adventure Balloon Tours
  4. Lake Geneva Balloon Company
  5. Lake Tahoe Balloons
  6. Balloons Over Letchworth
  7. Sky Riders Balloon Team
  8. Rocky Mountain Hot Air
  9. Rainbow Ryders
  10. Arizona Balloon Safaris

A panel of experts (listed below) partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning balloon companies!

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Tom Marchant

Tom Marchant

Tom Marchant

Lisa Niver

Lisa Niver

Lisa Niver

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

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