Hot air balloon rides shatter the stork community's monopoly on carrying humans in baskets. Democratize the skies with today’s Groupon: for $209, you get a hot air balloon ride for two from Balloons Over Georgia (a $450 value).
Balloons Over Georgia owners Daryl and Lynn began their flirtation with flotation as a hobby, which then grew into a full-time family business. Helmed by certified FAA pilots and holding up to 16 passengers, the colorful, inflatable vessels haul groundlubbers up and over the skyline, at times skimming treetops or sailing at thousands of feet, depending upon wind, weather, and amount of gravity on launch day. On days when the clouds cooperatively part, the 40–50 miles of visibility incorporate stunning vistas of downtown Atlanta's skyline, Stone Mountain’s carved façade, or the vast, glittering puddle of Lake Lanier. Low-altitude riders occasionally spot deer frolicking beneath the craft or observe the grace of a red-tailed hawk hunting unsuspecting prey such as a mouse or a senator's toupee.
Balloons Over Georgia's stringent safety experts monitor local weather closely, rescheduling flights at the slightest sign of safety risk. The sky baskets launch between 35 and 40 miles north of downtown Atlanta and use several different sites to make the most of wind conditions, lifting off before sunrise or sunset.