Up, Up & Away
Take flight on a hot air balloon
Hot air ballooning is a quintessential, all-season Temecula experience—and photo op. Nearly every morning, a flock of brightly hued balloons can be spotted floating above the vineyards. It’s a sight to behold from the ground, and the view is even better from the sky. Three trusted outfitters can get you up there: A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure (hotairtours.com), California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures (californiadreamin.com) and Magical Adventure Balloon Rides (hotairfun.com). All offer public group flights and private flights can also be booked.
Please don’t let a fear of heights prevent you from this serene, bucket-list-worthy activity! The pilots and their crews are highly-skilled with impeccable safety records. Plus, flights never take off when conditions are unsafe. The sunrise flights typically last an hour and reach heights of up to 3,000 feet. Motion sickness won’t be an issue either—it’s a very smooth ride.
Please don’t let a fear of heights prevent you from this serene, bucket-list-worthy activity! The pilots and their crews are highly-skilled with impeccable safety records.
• You’ll receive a confirmation call the day before your booking with instructions on where to check in for your flight, what to wear and bring. If the flight is cancelled due to weather, you will be notified in advance of the check-in time.
• Day of, wear comfortable, flat shoes and dress casually in layers with a jacket for cooler mornings (shorts and open-toed shoes are not allowed). Keep large bags locked in your car and be sure to bring sunglasses and your camera or mobile device for photography.
• When you arrive at the designated winery location, you’ll be asked to sign a mandatory liability waiver and then get assigned to a pilot. Once all passengers are checked in, a briefing is delivered to the group before boarding vans or mini-coaches to relocate to the nearby field where the balloon will launch.
• It takes the pilot and crew about 15 minutes to inflate and heat the balloon. Then you’ll be instructed to climb into the sturdy basket using the footholds, which requires a bit of agility at 48 inches high.
• The balloon will slowly rise and you’ll gain elevation, which will change throughout the flight. Now, it’s time to enjoy the ride and get snap happy capturing the views! The pilot will point out local landmarks and provide insights along the way.
• When it’s time to land, the pilot will communicate with the crew on the ground who meet you at the predicted landing location, which is influenced by the way the wind is blowing.
• Once on the ground, it takes the crew about 15 minutes to deflate and pack up the balloon. You’ll hop back in the vehicle and be driven back to your starting point at the winery.
• Post-flight celebrations may ensue, such as a sparkling wine toast. You might even witness a surprise marriage proposal!