While available for about 20 years, hot air balloon rides have grown in popularity across Florida as a unique sightseeing adventure. If you were traveling in Central Florida around dawn you might see colorful hot air balloons floating across the morning sky, glistening against a spectacular Florida sunrise... beautiful and graceful. It's enough to evoke a chorus of The Fifth Dimension's hit, "Up, Up and Away!" For we can fly we can fly... Up, up and away... My beautiful, my beautiful balloon... Balloon....
Hot air balloon adventures can be enjoyed by every age (although children must be accompanied by an adult). Whether you're looking for an over-the-top romantic gesture or an usual adventure, you will get a fabulous birds-eye view of Florida's landscape... and, did I mention the spectacular sunrise?
You may be interested to know that balloons are inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and pilots are licensed by the same agency. Of course, as with any adventure activity, hot air ballooning carries some risk of injury. Most commonly passengers get jostled upon landing, when the basket may tip over; but, the pilot and ground crew will do everything they can to keep you safe.
What Can I Expect?
Expect to report for your hot air balloon experience very, very early in the morning — usually an hour or so before sunrise. The reason for this is that winds are the calmest around sunrise and gradually increase as the sun rises, so pilots prefer to fly as early in the day as possible. If your meeting place is a hotel or business, you will be transported to the balloon launch area — usually a large empty field. It takes about 20-30 minutes to unload, unpack, inflate and begin the ascent. Balloons may travel from tree top heights to several thousand feet and your flight will last about an hour. Wear comfortable clothing and close-toed shoes suitable for the time of year. Costs per adult runs from $160 upward with some companies offering one child free with a paid adult.
Florida Hot Air Balloon Adventures
- Aerial Adventures - Tampa
- Balloons & Beyond in Central Florida
- Big Red Balloon Sightseeing Adventures - Tampa
- Blue Water Balloons - Orlando
- Bob's Balloon Charters - Orlando
- Bums In Paradise - The Villages and Lady Lake
- Captain Morgan's Balloon Rides - Orlando
- Celebration Aviation - Tampa
- Crystal Magic Balloons - Tampa
- Guru Balloon - Kissimmee
- Miami Balloon Rides - Miami
- Orange Blossom Balloons - Orlando
- Thompson Aire - Orlando
Also, for those who might want to "test drive" a hot air balloon experience, you might try the Characters In Flight tethered hot air balloon at Downtown Disney. The balloon ascends to 400 feet — far enough to get an eye-in-the-sky view of Disney World — but has no free-flight capabilities, thus staying tethered to the loading dock.