Hot Air Balloon Rides in San Diego

Take in San Diego’s rugged coastline, colorful hills & vibrant skyline in the distance during a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon ride you won’t soon forget.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
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Things to Know About Hot Air Balloon Rides in San Diego

Hot Air Ballon Just About to LandHot Air Ballon Landed at Sunset

Hot air balloon rides are a fun and exciting way to see San Diego from the air. Soaring high above, you’ll see views of the city, coastline, and mountains that you just can’t experience in any other way.

Hot air balloon tours take place north of Downtown San Diego near Del Mar. This area is known for its dramatic hilly landscapes and preserved open spaces, making it a great place to launch hot air balloon tours.

Hot air balloon rides usually last several hours to give you a full aerial tour of the San Diego area. During the ride, your pilot and other members of the flight team will be available to answer any questions you have and keep you safe.

San Diego balloon rides usually depart at sunrise or sunset for the best possible views of the surrounding landscapes.

Local Tips
Ready to Make New Friends?
If you’re taking a group ride, prepare to make friends while on your trip. Hot air balloons are quite small, so you will likely end up in close proximity to other tour members.

Best Time of Year to Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot Air Ballon Ride Over San Diego
Hot Air Ballon Ride Over San Diego

The weather in San Diego is consistently incredible no matter when you visit the area and thus, you can take a hot air balloon ride on most days throughout the year. However, there are some seasons that are going to provide a better experience than others.

Late summer and fall are generally the best times to take hot air balloon rides in San Diego. The weather is very warm with minimal precipitation, and the winds are generally quite calm.

As an added bonus, prices during this time of year are often cheaper than earlier in the summer, as kids are back to school and there aren’t as many tourists visiting.

The coldest and rainiest times of year in San Diego are usually January and February, so these are typically not going to be the best for hot air balloon rides. Additionally, May and June are often the cloudiest months with May Gray and June Gloom, so you may not get the best visibility for your hot air balloon ride.

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San Diego Harbor Cruise on San Diego Bay at Sunset
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What You Will Experience on Your Hot Air Balloon Ride in San Diego

Hot air balloon rides can be a memory that will last a lifetime. Here’s what to expect on your hot air balloon ride in the San Diego area.

Hot Air Ballon Firing Burner

Sunrise or Sunset

When booking your hot air balloon tour, you will typically be given a sunrise or sunset option. Both tours offer beautiful views, so the best one for you will depend on your preferences.

The San Diego area is known for its stunning sunrises and sunsets, so going at either time should be a great choice.

Del Mar Coastline from Above

Del Mar Coastline

You can expect to see a good bit of Del Mar from your hot air balloon which is a luxurious area known for its beaches and beautiful landscapes.

Throughout the tour, you’ll see some of the San Diego area’s most stunning beaches. You’ll also observe luxurious San Diego golf courses as well as rugged nature preserves. Your team will point out all of the key landmarks to check out along the way.

Downtown San Diego

Of course, you’ll be able to see Downtown San Diego’s beautiful skyline from the air!

You’ll also be able to see other key landmarks like Balboa Park and Torrey Pines. On a clear day, you may even be able to see all the way to Mexico!

Snacks and Drinks

Depending on which hot air balloon provider you choose, you may be served small snacks and drinks during your tour. Hot air balloon tours can last for several hours, so these refreshments are available to keep you comfortable and enhance your experience.

Some tours may even include champagne for a truly luxurious experience.

Hot Air Ballon from Below in San Diego

Private Tours Available

While group tours are the most affordable option for hot air balloon rides in San Diego, there are also private tours available.

These private tours are perfect for special occasions like birthdays, weddings, engagements, anniversaries, and more. Private tours offer a much more intimate experience and are a great way to enjoy aerial views of San Diego in style.

Popular Hotels Nearby
Popular Hotels
Price
DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego - Del Mar
$135
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Glorietta Bay Inn
$219
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Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport
$180
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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
$171
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Best Place to Take a Hot Air Balloon Tour in San Diego and How to Save

Hot Air Ballon Landing in North County San Diego
Hot Air Ballon Landing in North County San Diego

Best Place for a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hot air balloon rides in San Diego lift off a short drive to the north of Downtown San Diego from the Rancho Santa Fe or Del Mar area. The area is beautiful and offers amazing weather that several reputable San Diego companies that host hot air balloon tours hope to offer you during your tour.

Hot air balloon tours are often not full day adventures and thus offer more time to explore other attractions in San Diego on the day of your hot air balloon ride.

Sun Begining to Set with Hot Air Ballons
Sun Begining to Set with Hot Air Ballons

How to Save on Tours

While the Go San Diego Pass does not currently include hot air balloon tours, it does include many other San Diego attractions at steep discounts in the Del Mar/North County area, so you can save money on your trip overall.

Discounted admission on many of San Diego’s top tours, attractions, and equipment rentals are offered as part of the pass. You can save even more by using our exclusive discount code!

Hot Air Ballon Ride Coming to An End
Hot Air Ballon Ride Coming to An End

The Best San Diego Hot Air Balloon Companies

One of the most well-known is Compass Balloons, which offers a variety of private and group tour options. Other popular companies that offer hot air balloon tours in the Del Mar area include Magical Adventure Balloon Rides and Sky’s The Limit Balloon.

All of these companies offer both group and private balloon tours of the San Diego area. If you’re taking a private tour, you can customize it to suit your needs.

For example, some providers offer bachelor/bachelorette packages or graduation packages that are designed for large groups. It’s even possible to get married on a hot air balloon!

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USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Explore the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum with your All-Inclusive Go Pass! Check out the hangar deck and flight deck, plus over 60 exhibits, displays and interactive experiences. Enjoy an authentic tour narrated by Midway sailors!
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Local Tips
What attractions are included with a Go City pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go City San Diego pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

Want to save more? Use our exclusive discount code GVSD5OFF to save an extra 5%!

Tips For Hot Air Balloon Rides in San Diego

Two Hot Air Ballons Over San Diego
Two Hot Air Ballons Over San Diego

Hot air balloon rides are an incredible experience, but it’s important to be prepared before you go. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your San Diego aerial adventure.

Dress Accordingly

One of the most important things to keep in mind on any hot air balloon ride is to dress appropriately. Even if you’re on a luxury tour, operators still typically recommend casual attire to keep you comfortable.

Temperatures can fluctuate in the air, so it’s always helpful to bring a lightweight jacket that you can take on and off. Even if it’s warm on the ground, the wind might make things a bit more chilly once you depart.

Additionally, you may want to wear a hat or some other type of head cover to protect your hair and keep it in place. Finally, be sure to bring sunglasses, as the sun can be very bright when you’re up in the air.

Be Flexible

Your hot air balloon ride will need the right weather in order to launch. While San Diego has consistently good weather, it is still possible to get rained out. Being flexible with your tour dates can help if you end up needing to reschedule.

Booking a Tour

The easiest way to book is directly through your hot air balloon provider. Be sure to share your preferences and ask questions ahead of time so you make the most of this once in a lifetime experience.

Keep Your Belongings Safe

It’s incredibly important to keep all of your belongings safe and secure while you are up in the air.

All valuables should stay securely attached to your body in some way to make sure that they don’t fly away. Crossbody bags or fanny packs are great ways to ensure that all of your essentials stay secure.

If you’re bringing a camera, consider using a neck strap to keep it in place.

Plan Transportation Ahead of Time

When booking your flight, you’ll want to consider how you’ll get to the Del Mar area. Driving is the quickest option - if you’re coming from Downtown San Diego, it should take just 30 minutes to get there. It’s also easy to get there using a ridesharing app like Uber or Lyft.

If you prefer to take public transit, the Coaster commuter train runs from Downtown San Diego through to Del Mar and other North County towns. Keep in mind that you may still need to take a public bus once you get off the commuter train, depending on which hot air balloon provider you are working with. This option also takes a bit longer, sometimes as long as an hour.

Prepare To Make Friends

If you’re taking a group ride, prepare to make friends while on your trip. Hot air balloons are quite small, so you will likely end up in close proximity to other tour members.

Luckily, these tours have a very social atmosphere, so it’s quite easy to get to know your fellow passengers.

Safety Comes First

Throughout the hot air balloon ride, be sure to listen to your pilot and other crew members. Their instructions are for your safety and can also help you feel more comfortable up in the air.

You should also be sure to check your provider’s safety regulations before you book. It generally isn’t safe for pregnant women to ride, and most providers will require children to be at least 5 years of age as well.

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Stay Nearby

DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego - Del Mar
Near Torrey Pines
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego - Del Mar
from $135 / night
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Glorietta Bay Inn
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Glorietta Bay Inn
from $219 / night
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Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport
Near Airport
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Airport
from $180 / night
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Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
Bayfront
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa
from $171 / night
View Hotel
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