Take to the Skies: These 5 Hot Air Balloon Rides Let You Soar Over Virginia

Take to the Skies: These 5 Hot Air Balloon Rides Let You Soar Over Virginia

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Aila Boyd

August 3, 2023

Virginia is an expansive commonwealth with many unique and visually captivating landscapes. However, it can be difficult to appreciate its beauty from the ground. This is why you should consider going on a hot air balloon ride. 

If you’re looking to slow down and take a meandering ride, we’ve got you covered with this list of five VA hot air balloon rides. 

Valley Ballooning

Location: Woodstock

If you’re wanting to take in the rolling hills of the Shenandoah Valley, Valley Ballooning is for you.

“Flying over the Shenandoah is truly rewarding and offers spectacular views,” the company said. During your ride, you’ll likely get to see the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, the seven bends of the Shenandoah River, eastern white-tailed deer, and plenty of vineyards. 

A Tripadvisor review noted, “I took my mother up for a ride over Woodstock and it was superb! The pilot was very experienced and in control. Unforgettable experience.” 

Rides range from 30-60 minutes and start at $250. If you’re going with a group, keep in mind that the maximum number of riders at one time is four. Sensible shoes are encouraged. 

Star Ballooning

Location: Bridgewater

Star Ballooning also flies out of the Shenandoah Valley. “We fly for the love of this sport and put safety and customer service above all else,” the family-run business says on its website. “Every flight is an opportunity to offer an unforgettable experience for our passengers.” 

To commemorate your flight, you will get a complimentary in-flight photo taken with a mounted GoPro camera. You’ll also get to celebrate with a customary Champagne toast at the end of the flight. 

One Google reviewer wrote: “One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Mark took amazing care of us while flying and stitched the whole trip together like the true professional he is. Would fly with Star Ballooning any day of the week.” 

The company only flies on Saturdays and Sundays. Shared flights with no more than six passengers cost $325 per person. Private flights with only two passengers cost $1,200.

Blue Ridge Ballooning

Location: Charlottesville

It’s hard to go wrong with Blue Ridge Ballooning considering it traces its roots back to Liberty Balloon Company in the late 1970s in western New York. The multi-generational family who runs Blue Ridge Ballooning decided to follow the family tradition in 1999 and started ballooning full time. 

Today, the family offers balloon rides that feature the Blue Ridge Mountains around Charlottesville. The company’s fleet consists of eight balloons, including a Kubicek 120, Lindstrand 105, and Lindstrand 120. Ask to ride in the Majestic, which features a traditional rainbow swirl pattern.

The packages include the $295-per-person sunrise flight, a private flight for $1,195 per couple, a $1,495-per-couple romance package, and a $2,500 tethered balloon ride. The romance package is a great option for anniversaries or couples looking for a fun night out. It’s all-inclusive and comes with a custom souvenir certificate, digital photos, post-flight Champagne toast, and romance souvenir gift basket. 

The average flight time is around one hour.

One Google reviewer wrote: “We went on a sunrise flight as an early birthday present and I have to say, it was AMAZING! Liana and Nicole were very friendly and did a great job of explaining the process and I love that we were able to assist with the set up and take down. Everything was perfect, we were able to see the sunrise, clouds, mountains, farm lands, the river and even other hot air balloons. It was better than I could have imagined, so beautiful and peaceful. Highly recommend!” 

Monticello Country Ballooning

Location: Albemarle County 

Monticello Country Ballooning is owned and operated by Mandy Baskin, who has more than 20 years of ballooning experience under her belt. 

“Nothing is as peaceful as drifting over the tree tops in beautiful Albemarle County, Virginia with a hot air balloon ride,” the company says on its website. 

Pricing varies depending on when you fly, with sunrise flights costing $275 per person and sunset flights costing $325 per person. Private flights for couples range from $1,100-$1,400. 

Packages are all-inclusive, meaning they come with digital photographs and a celebratory Champagne toast. 

A Tripadvisor reviewer wrote: “Mandy, at Monticello Country Ballooning, could not have been friendlier, more helpful, supportive (to those of us a little scared!), timely and a pure delight to have as our pilot.” 

Balloons Over Virginia, Inc.

Location: Ashland

If you’re in the central part of the commonwealth and looking to go on a hot air balloon ride, check out Balloons Over Virginia, Inc. It’s been flying balloons since 1988. Fun fact: The company officially represented the commonwealth from 1998-2001 by flying a “Virginia is for Lovers” balloon throughout the continental United States and Canada. 

“As your hot air balloon ride begins, the dew-covered grass sinks silently away and the earth kaleidoscopes into a masterful mosaic of color and texture,” Gilbert E. Martin, president of the company, said of the experience. “Your senses will explode with the sweet aroma of pine, oak and magnolia. Your hot air balloon ride has launched you on a magical flight.” 

Flights are launched either at sunrise or two hours prior to sunset and last approximately one hour. Non-private flights of two to six passengers cost $300 per person. Private flights for two passengers cost $1,050. At the end of the flight, you’ll receive a certificate, color photo of the balloon you flew in and Champagne toast.

A Google reviewer wrote: “Wonderful experience! Our party was able to be hands on and help with both set up and tear down of the balloon; we learned so much! The ride was smooth as silk and Gilbert put everyone at ease. I would encourage anyone and everyone to take a flight with Balloons Over Virginia!”

 

READ MORE: Five of the Coolest Vacation Rentals for a Virginia Fall Getaway

 

  • Aila Boyd

    Aila Boyd is a Virginia-based educator and journalist. She received her MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.

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