Are you looking for Northern California Activities? Try Hot Air Ballooning!!

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!

Arrive at a Napa Valley Wine Tour In Style

One of the fun attractions available when you visit northern California is a Napa Valley wine tour. There are many different tours available, and some include different modes of transportation. One of the most unforgettable ways to arrive at your Napa Valley wine tour is in a hot air balloon.

Perhaps you haven’t thought about a hot air balloon ride as part of the Napa Valley wine tour. You may wonder what it would entail. This is how it usually works. You begin the day with fresh pastries and coffee or tea as you meet the others who will experience the hot air balloon ride with you. Then you are transported to the location where you will board your balloon in the early morning. While you wait for the flight to begin, watch the flight crew make final preparations and finish inflating the balloon. Once it rises, majestic, above the basket, and the flight crew is ready to go, you will enter the basket and the flight will begin.

Many passengers have commented that they are surprised at the quietness of a ride under a hot air balloon. Between bursts of the burner that keeps the air inside the balloon hot, there is only the stillness and quiet. Even though – or perhaps because – the balloon is moved by the movement of air, the air inside the basket is moving at the same rate, so the overall effect is amazing stillness, even though the balloon is moving.

From the balloon’s height, which varies between 1,000 and 3,000 feet, usually, you will be able to see the mountains surrounding the valley and vineyards below. You will see wildlife and the beauty of the surrounding landscape. You will almost certainly want to plan to carry your camera with you, to capture the amazing view from the balloon’s basket.

The flight may include changes of direction, involving increasing or decreasing the altitude of the Hot Air Balloon to take advantage of the movement of a different layer of air. The pilot will make these decisions during the flight in order you get you to a safe landing location.

A gentle descent to the landing location completes the idyllic ride. You will then be transported to the champagne brunch location hosted by Balloons Above the Valley. Your brunch will be followed  by a delightful Napa Valley wine tour and wine-tasting.

When you put it all together, you end up with an experience like no other. From the time you arrive until you head back to your lodging, you will have sights to see, tastes to enjoy, and an amazing memory to store away of your Napa Valley wine tour.

Hot Air Ballooning – One of the Fun Things to Do in Napa

One of the most often visited areas in northern California is the Napa Valley. Hot air ballooning is one of Napa Valley’s most unique activities for you and your family to enjoy while visiting. It is definitely one of the top Napa Valley tourist attractions. It is a great way to see the Valley, it can be an exciting mode of transportation, and it is always an experience you will be glad you didn’t miss.

Hot air balloons have been around since the 1700s. They were first invented in France. Since then, hot air ballooning has become a hobby as well as an attraction for both its participants and spectators. People love seeing hot air balloons floating above their heads, and passengers enjoy looking down from above at the people who look so tiny down below. If you are ready to experience hot air ballooning for yourself, contact Balloons Above the Valley at 800-464-6824 to schedule your adventure!

When you plan your flight, one thing to remember is that you will need to be there early. Because weather can affect ballooning, most hot air balloon rides are limited to early morning hours. At this time the air is more stable and the takeoff and landing are easier to maneuver. If it is a windy day, the balloons will not take flight, for the safety of all involved.

Usually hot air balloon rides will last about an hour and will soar to 1,000 to 3,000 feet in the air. This is high enough to see the countryside, but low enough to see the vineyards below. When planning your adventure, be sure to check the meeting time during the time of year you would like to book your reservation, as the meeting time changes throughout the year. We recommend allowing at least 4 hours for your adventure, this will include transportation time as well as time for your champagne brunch that follows your flight.

One of the most-often asked questions about hot air ballooning is how does the pilot steer? There is no steering mechanism on a hot air balloon. There are usually ‘layers’ of air movement, and these layers move in different directions, and at different speeds. The pilot will use altitude to change the direction of the balloon’s flight. Altitude is adjusted by adding or removing the hot air in the balloon.

The temperature of the air will somewhat affect the balloon’s flight, which may result in fewer passengers being able to enjoy the ride if the outside temperature is already very high. Balloons prefer cooler temperatures, so the balloon company will keep a close eye on the weather and schedule passengers based on what the weather will allow. Companies have different policies about their flights in higher or lower than average temperatures. Be sure you speak with Balloons Above the Valley staff to learn their policies about scheduling in different climates.

Hot air ballooning is a great way to spend time relaxing and enjoying a unique view of the Napa Valley.

How to Find Napa Valley Activities for Your Family This Summer

Often families traveling to wine country wonder, "What are some Napa Valley activities we can all enjoy together this summer?" The answer, of course, is there are many fun things to do as a family in Napa Valley.

Napa Valley may conjure up images of adult activities such as wine tastings, but the region can also be considered as a family-friendly getaway. Families will find, to their delight, that Napa Valley activities can also be geared for the children. Taking the kids along to the wine country will be a new experience for them to add to their summer vacation.

Let’s start with the food! There are plenty of culinary delights that Napa Valley has to offer for both adults and children. Be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the family will never run out of options. Napa offers local coffee houses, Michelin rated restaurants, and endless wine options for adults. Children will enjoy hotdogs, fries, smoothies, sandwiches & brick-oven Neapolitan pizzas from the many family friendly eateries scattered around town.

Families will tighten their bond as they enjoy cycling together on Napa’s picturesque hillsides, watching the geysers in the neighboring city of Calistoga, riding on the Napa Valley Trolley and even touring the famous Castillo De Amorosa winery that is an actual castle! While all of these options are very suitable for families, the number 1 recommended family activity in Napa Valley is a Hot Air Balloon Ride!

Riding on the hot air balloon during the summer months is not just a pleasant experience for the family, but it’s also a memory that the family will never forget. Come and see for yourself, the astonishing beauty visible from the balloon’s basket.

Children must be at least 40 inches tall to ride, but we suggest they be approximately 4 feet tall in order to see over the baskets. It is also helpful if they have a sense of adventure! If this describes your children, they will definitely enjoy the ride and relish the breathtaking views of the Napa Valley hundreds of feet below. Kids will excitedly describe the neat rows of the grapevines and the varying hues of green from the trees and foliage… and the overall majestic landscape of the valley.

Balloons Above the Valley is one of the first companies to provide such hot air balloon flights over the Napa Valley. As it is also licensed to provide such flights, you and your family can be assured of its customer-and-guest-oriented service and overall safety. Not only does the company offer hot-air balloon flights, but it also provides a pre-flight coffee-and-pastries breakfast and a post-flight champagne brunch for the whole family to enjoy. The kids really seem to love the waffle station! Balloons Above the Valley will also provide transportation services for guests staying in the Napa Valley.

If you and your family really want to experience a hot air balloon ride over the gorgeous expanse of Napa Valley, you must book a reservation in advance by calling 800-464-6824. A hot air balloon flight in the summer morning is one of the major attractions that will make Napa Valley activities fun and unforgettable for every family.

Enjoy Summer Fun by Hot Air Ballooning

Hot air ballooning is a unique experience that one will never forget. You feel like you’re flying up in the sky, touching the heavens, and looking at the magnificent views on earth. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a hot air ballooning adventure with Balloons Above the Valley.

Summer means a lot of fun activities for most people – like going to the beach, swimming or doing other outdoor sports. But if you’re looking for something different and seemingly magical to do this summer, try riding on a hot air balloon over the beautiful Napa Valley scenery.

Aside from the spring season, summer is time where the Napa Valley landscape is naturally beautiful and vibrant. So what’s a better way to appreciate Napa Valley in the glorious summer than viewing it from a hot air balloon up in the sky?

Napa Valley’s business is at its peak during the summer season. Vacationers want to experience the taste of Napa by visiting the local wineries, sampling wines, eating out and appreciating the gorgeous, unparalleled scenery.

However, the roads leading to Napa Valley during the summer months can be heavy and congested. Restaurants and tasting rooms are filled with crowds, winery picnics can be seen here and there in the region. Concerts and events such as the Summer Concert Series are attended by myriads of visitors.

If tourists are looking for a perfect escape from the crowds in Napa Valley, at least for the moment, one way is to ride on a hot air balloon. Fortunately, the summer months are perfect to ride a hot air balloon since it is sunny and clear.

When visitors ride on the hot air balloon, they will discover that the concrete jungle gradually fades away from sight. They will soon be greeted by the wonderful natural sights and magnificent agricultural architecture that the Napa Valley has to offer. They will gaze on the varieties of trees such as oak, bay and eucalyptus, as well as the well-arranged rows of green vines bearing precious grapes. Visitors will excitedly note the varying shades of green of the Napa Valley farms.

When tourists enjoy hot air ballooning in the summer sky, they will feel at peace with themselves and may become one with nature.

Are you ready to experience the Napa Valley from a Balloons Above the Valley hot air balloon? Consider the Balloon & Wine Tour Package, where you begin the summer morning with a breathtaking view of the Valley by a hot air balloon flight. Afterwards, a delicious champagne brunch awaits you to enjoy, while you can continue to celebrate and reminisce about the wonderful hot air balloon flight that morning. What better way to spend a summer day?

If you want the natural beauty of the Napa Valley to unfold before your very eyes, book a reservation with Balloons Above the Valley for summertime hot air ballooning. This is an amazing and unique experience that you will definitely remember for the rest of your life.

Discover Wine Tours in San Francisco

San Francisco neighbors the famous Napa Valley, one of the premiere wine regions not only in America but also in the whole world. Wine tours in San Francisco are one of the must-do things visitors should include when they’re in the region.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers tourists exciting hot air balloon and wine tour packages. These amazing packages are also within the tourists’ budget, a plus for them when they decide to include wine tours in San Francisco as part of their itinerary.

Here are BATV’s wine tour packages:

1. Balloon and Wine Tour Package

Visitors will not only enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the glorious Napa Valley, but they will also get to visit the wineries themselves. There, tourists will discover the process of wine-making from grapes to glass. A picnic-style lunch with a delicious menu will be served to the guests. The great thing about this package is that people can have the option to visit the wineries right after their hot air balloon flight adventure, or take their wine tours on the next day. Please see Balloon & Wine Tour Package for more details.

2. San Francisco Balloon and Wine Tour Package

For this package, tourists will discover wineries in Napa and Sonoma for two glorious days. On the first day, visitors will be taken from the San Francisco city proper to these wineries in the comfort of a limo bus. Once on board they will enjoy their breakfast along with a mimosa (a drink consisting of one part champagne and one part fruit juice, usually orange juice). This package also allows them the opportunity to have the photo op overlooking the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Visitors then tour the diverse wineries of Sonoma and Napa as well as have olive oil and wine tasting opportunities.

On the second day of the wine tour package, visitors will have the ride of their lives — on the hot air balloon! The tour plan is just similar to the Sunrise Balloon Flight and Champagne Brunch package. Visitors will be treated with coffee & pastries and a brief orientation before settling in for their hot air balloon flight. Once the hot air balloon is up in the clear, crisp morning sky, visitors will take in the sunrise and appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the Napa Valley landscape. After the flight, tourists head to the Champagne Brunch celebration where they share their just-concluded hot air balloon experience over a fresh seasonal brunch complimented with Domaine Chandon champagne.

Hot air balloon flights are one of the best ways to enhance the average wine tours in San Francisco that most visitors experience. Visitors will also appreciate the warm hospitality and service by the BATV staff that will make them want to come back again.

Napa Valley Activities – Try Balloons Above the Valley Flight for Fun in the Sky!

Napa Valley activities should be a pleasant, fun and memorable experience. You get to discover the grapevines, the wineries, and the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Valley. You even get to literally taste what the Valley has to offer.

However, nothing can equal the experience of hovering over the Napa Valley in a hot air balloon. This is probably the greatest way to discover the breathtaking expanse of the Valley and surrounding areas, and certainly one of the most fun things to do in Napa.

We recommend that visitors reserve their bookings ahead of time with Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) for the spring or summer season when the beauty of nature literally blooms right before your very eyes. Summer and spring are the best seasons where the Napa landscape brings out its most vibrant, seemingly untouched magnificence from the bird’s eye view on the hot air balloon.

Not surprisingly, summer in particular is a very busy time for Napa Valley, where roads lead to the region are usually congested; tasting rooms and restaurants become extremely crowded. Winery picnics dot here and there around the Valley. Summer concerts are often held and some events such as the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend allow people to sample food and wine for a fee.

Overcrowding is one of the downsides of going to Napa Valley particularly during the spring and summer. One way to get away from it all, at least for the moment, is to ride on the hot air balloon. Fortunately, summer and spring is the best time to do this because it’s sunny and clear.

As tourists fly over the Valley, they will instantly feel that they become one with nature. The concrete jungle and the roads fade away from sight, and nature begins to really stand out, beckoning them to further discover its own magnificence. They can see several varieties of trees such as oak, bay and eucalyptus just to name a few. Tourists’ senses begin to relax by seeing the various shades of green.

While on the hot air balloon, tourists will appreciate the amazing agricultural landscape of the Napa Valley. They will gaze at and admire the neat rows of grapevines in their full, verdant foliage as the balloons drift above them. Visitors can actually see that the vines are just starting to bear those precious grapes.

Irrigation pools not only mirror the cloudless, azure sky, but also other hot air balloons that are making their own celestial escapade. Tourists will take delight at the various colors and designs of the other hot air balloons that drift in the sky, making the scene camera-worthy.

Since hot air balloons float best in cool, calm and stable winds, a morning flight on the balloon is the ideal time. We understand that visitors have a difficult time waking up early while on vacation. But after some coffee & pastries and a short meeting with the tour guide, they’ll be energized and excited once they arrive at the launch site, raring to climb aboard the hot air balloon.

Napa Valley in the early morning is especially beautiful, and it does take your breath away. As the sun rises, the morning light dramatically unravels on the fields and vineyards, waking them up to display their bright, lush foliage. The summer sky will finally turn blue and clear after a moment of darkness. Once visitors are up in the balloon in the early morning, the whole atmosphere gives off a sense of freedom but also a peace of mind.

However, like the rest of San Francisco, the Napa Valley may also be enveloped in the summer fog, which lowers temperatures and reduces visibility all of a sudden. When this happens, Balloons Above the Valley will take their passengers to a valley a little further inland to Yolo County.

While the Napa Valley is the top destination for hot air balloons, the other side of the hills unpacks a delightful surprise. Visitors riding on the balloon graze the orchards that have several varieties of trees such as walnut, almond and pistachio. They will delight at the sight of huge fields of alfalfa, sunflower, and tomato that resemble a giant quilt. There’s just a very little visual difference between vineyards and crop fields when visitors view them from a thousand feet above. There are a lot of other things to see — on the east tourists can see the Sacramento skyline and the Sierra Buttes on the north. They might also get a decent view of the Lake Berryessa although there’s a good chance that it will also be enveloped by the fog.

Gliding over the Napa Valley (and its surrounding areas) on the hot air balloon during the summer and spring is an incomparable experience indeed. The region even offers some surprising attractions that are not usually visited, making the whole ride more interesting, dazzling and stimulating to the memory. Don’t miss out on the experience of "flying" in the sky during the beautiful and awe-inspiring Napa Valley tour. For those who have had fun riding the hot air balloons, it’s guaranteed that they will want to have that exhilarating Valley flight all over again!

Discover Napa Valley with the Balloons Above the Valley San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package

Many Visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area would like to add wine tasting and Hot Air Ballooning to their itinerary. These visitors are in luck, The Napa Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world to fly in a hot air balloon and is the closest place to San Francisco to do so. (see this article The wineries and vineyards in the Bay Area, particularly Napa Valley and Sonoma region, are among the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Visiting these wineries certainly is one of most recommended things to do while in San Francisco. However, how you arrive at the wineries can make all the difference. Balloons Above the Valley has partnered with Napa Valley Wine Country Tours to tailor a package specifically designed for guests who are visiting the San Francisco bay area and would like to venture out to wine country. Discover hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley with the Balloons Above the Valley San Francisco Tour Package.

One of the most popular and in-demand ways to explore the true beauty of the Napa Valley is through riding a hot air balloon. Imagine yourself floating above the valley in a hot air balloon at dawn, and looking down on beautifully arranged rows of grapevines — the experience is sure to be unforgettable.

You do have the option to drive all the way to the Valley in a rented car but that would be an inconvenient risk since you will do a lot of exploring and wine tasting while visiting. You may want to ride on the hot air balloon but you don’t wish to wake up ridiculously early to drive from the city to the Valley to make the early morning meeting time.

This is precisely why Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers this ultimate package that is more than just a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful Napa Valley.

Balloon’s Above the Valley’s San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour Package costs $836.50 per two passengers. For this price, visitors can experience the ultimate luxury and convenience that Napa Valley is known for.

This package includes luxury transportation inside a limousine tour bus that takes tourists to the Valley. They will be treated with lavish meals that include a continental breakfast (with mimosa drink) and a lovely picnic lunch at the winery. Sightseeing in and around the Valley lends endless possibilities: these itineraries include a stop at vista points in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a visit to two wineries in Sonoma and two also in Napa (but tasting fees are not included in the package), as well as a vineyard and production tour at one of the wineries.

Visitors can stay at any hotel of their preference — it can be a bed and breakfast establishment, or accommodation in nearby Downtown Napa, or even a larger resort. It’s all up to the visitors on where they’d like to stay. The following morning Balloons Above the Valley’s transportation service will pick them up from the hotel for their hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Following their flight, guests are treated to a champagne brunch. This brunch is a great opportunity for guests to mingle with their fellow passengers and reminisce on the experience they all just shared.

After the champagne brunch, tourists may return to their hotels. Or if they still have the time and energy to spare, they can also visit several nearby outlets or the Oxbow Public Market. Visitors then will be driven to the ferry terminal in Vallejo. The ferry sails the tourists back to the city. Ferry tickets are, of course, also included in the package.

The hot air balloon and wine tour package lasts for two days. Hot air balloon rides in Napa Valley have never been better if tourists avail themselves to our package. BATV endeavors to make every visitor feel privileged, and every hot air balloon ride we offer should be a breathtaking and unforgettable experience.

Balloons Above the Valley Launches New Website

Balloons Above the Valley is pleased to announce our new website! We have upgraded the website to include information about our pilots, the different adventures we offer, and a photo gallery. We’ve also added Tour Options/Pricing information and our new blog!

Discover the luxuries offered with each flight. You will enjoy freshly baked muffins and coffee or tea pre-flight, but it is the post-flight champagne brunch celebration that you will truly enjoy. Each champagne brunch is prepared by Chef Brian Whitmer and is a highlight for many of our satisfied customers.

You can look under the Tour Options/Pricing tab to find the hot air balloon ride that is right for you and your guests as well as your budget. If you would like to propose while flying high above the Napa Valley, just give us a call at 800-464-6824. We’re delighted to share in this special occasion with you. We even have pricing for those who would like to say their vows up in the sky as the sun rises.

We also offer Special Promotions. Right now we have a Spring Special that will be sure to please anyone. Throughout the spring guests pay $169 each during the weekdays, excluding holidays. Meet us bright and early during the week and we’ll take you on a hot air balloon ride you won’t soon forget! Included in the Spring Special are the pre-flight pastries and coffee, an hour long flight, and post-flight champagne brunch.

Learn about our pilots who have over 15,700 combined hours of hot air ballooning experience. All of our pilots are FAA approved pilots. They have flown in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Turkey and Africa. These gentlemen have gained a reputation for setting standards that others follow for safety, education and passenger service.

Check out of photo gallery on our new website. We show photos of our staff and our launch site as well as in flight photos. We also have photos from our champagne brunch in our photo gallery. Take a look and see what you’re missing.

Learn how the owner of Balloons Above the Valley Bob Barbarick began flying hot air balloons in 1976 and started Balloons Above the Valley in 1980. The company has become not only Napa Valley’s premier hot air balloon company but also one of the most prominent hot air balloon companies in the United States.

When you’re ready for an experience you’ll never forget, give us a call to schedule a hot air balloon ride. You can expect our staff and pilots to be caring, have high standards and an attention to details. Our employee relations and safety standards have enabled Balloons Above the Valley to maintain its standing with not only visitors but in the hot air balloon industry in Northern California.

Remember, we are proud of being able to procure and maintain the highest quality of aircraft and for having the most experienced pilots available. We are sure that we can provide you with an experience for all of our passengers that they will remember for the remainder of their lives.