Many people have ridden in hot air balloons over the centuries. Before there were planes and hang gliders, there were hot air balloons. When humans first began to take to the skies with any regularity, they used hot air balloons. In fact, many early parachute dare devils performed their feats out of hot air balloons, since there were no planes for them to jump from. There have even been around the world flights in such balloons. The famous book, Around the World in Eighty Days, makes use of a hot air balloon
for the hero.
Today, there are hot air balloon races that combine the wonder of flying in the sky, open to the air, with the excitement of a race. One the most famous hot air balloon races takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, every year. Smaller races, like the one in Driggs, Idaho, also take place all over the country. Such races are usually accompanied by games on the ground, spectacular views, and good entertainment. Many locales turn the entire day into a hot air balloon festival, with the race as the focus. But many of these festivals are more than just places to race. Most festivals also have the opportunity for rides. Attendees can pay money to be taken up in a hot air balloon. For many people, this is a thrilling adventure. It is safer than sky diving hang gliding, but it allows you to feel a real sense of flight. It is not like being in a plane, where you have no contact with the air, and you are removed from your experience by a barrier of steel and glass.
However, one does not need to wait for a hot air balloon festival to enjoy a ride on a hot air balloon. Many companies are cropping up all around the country that offer hot air balloon rides for a variety of occasions. You can sight see in a hot air balloon. There are hot air balloon tours that can take you out over the Grand Canyon. Imagine interacting with nature in such a manner! Or, if colored leaves are your cup of tea, you can take fall leaf sight seeing tours over various New England states in hot air balloons. And many of these companies do not limit themselves to simply providing tours. They also offer a surprising amount of amenities. You can fly over the Grand Canyon at sunset, and then have the balloon set you down at a specially prepared romantic picnic, complete with champagne. Companies in the east offer similar options for fall leaf tours. You can be set down in the midst of a local vineyard and enjoy a wine tasting before floating back to your car.