A lofty view of San Diego

San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in the country—with its lush foliage, rolling hills and ocean views, one of the best ways to experience this coastal community might be in a hot air balloon. If you’ve never been in a hot air balloon before, let me encourage you to put it on your bucket list. Even if you say you’re afraid of heights, I can almost guarantee that you won’t have any fears about ballooning.

I’ve been ballooning in many cities around the country, this was my second time to do it in San Diego. I would go so far as to say that hot air ballooning in San Diego might be one of the best places that you could do it. The temperatures are nearly perfect and the scenery is simply stunning. You’ll see rolling hills, mega-mansions in one of the richest communities in the country (Rancho Santa Fe), and, the ocean views from high above are awe-inspiring.

I was lucky enough to go on my ballooning excursion with my sister Susanne, which was actually her first time. It’s fun going up with someone who has never done it before…the look of pleasured excitement is priceless. We met our balloon company in Del Mar, from there we were shuttled north to a launch area in Rancho Santa Fe. After a brief intro from our pilot, we watched the balloon being readied, then boarded the basket what held twelve. Moments later we began to rise…as if on a magic carpet gently lifting us high above the terrain below.

The mostly clear skies provided us with long range views that only height can provide. We saw how the 1% live as we flew over massive estates. About twenty minutes after take-off, we were treated to an in-flight beverage service, which consisted of sparking wine and sodas. This was actually the first balloon ride I’ve been in where refreshments were served in the air.  This was also one of the longer flights I’d been on, maybe consisting of slightly more than an hour in the air.  We also had some wonderful views of the ocean. The last time I ballooned over San Diego, we got to go skim the water, which was a pretty cool experience. Apparently the balloon companies no longer take flights over the water…I’m sure it’s because of litigious reasons.

Just as the sun was setting we came in for our landing, which was very graceful and uneventful. As the ground grew stabilized the balloon and laid the protective material down, the pilot released a vent to let the hot air escape. The balloon gradually fell to the ground where the crew packed it up. Shortly thereafter we boarded our van that took us back to our meeting area.

If you’ve ever been on a hot air balloon before, please leave a comment below and share your experience. Let my readers and me know where you’ve done it, and perhaps your favorite destinations. If you’ve never been in a hot air balloon before and have any questions, feel free to ask away. If you liked the video, please share this post with your friends and family by clicking one of the buttons below.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.


    1. Hey Robert…I’ve been to Napa, but not done a balloon ride there…I bet it would be amazing though. Hope you get a chance to do it. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Mike

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