Hot air balloons allow people to get a new perspective on nature, gliding high over rolling landscapes and drifting through flocks of migrating origami swans. Lazily fly the coop with today's Groupon: for $195, you get a 50- to 70-minute sunrise balloon ride for two from Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning in Rancho Murieta (a $390 value). Guests meet at the Rancho Murieta Airport's office at sunrise.
Sky Drifters' hot air balloon rides, which were named one of 10Best's choice attractions in Sacramento, are captained by guides who invite four to six guests into an untethered balloon that drifts over the sloping Sierra Nevada foothills. After pilots and crew greet guests with hot coffee in the airport office, groups file out onto the tarmac and into cozy baskets. During 50- to 70-minute flights, pilots vaults vibrantly striped balloons skywards, soaring high above lush green forests climbing mountainsides, gently bubbling brooks cutting through stone, and crystal-clear waters reflecting the silhouettes of clouds mimicking Rorschach blots. Wind flits through hair as the balloon returns to the patchwork landscape of amber, russet, and emerald below, before the pilot uncorks a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider for a celebratory toast among new friends and old imaginary ones. Sky Drifters suggests calling the day before to verify favorable weather conditions, as well as showing up early dressed in cellphone-free layers, closed-toed shoes, and sunscreen. A thorough FAQ page answers any burning questions that guests may have, such as "How could I learn to fly a balloon?" and "Where do balloons come from?"
Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning
If you've ever tried to beat rush-hour traffic by tethering your car with helium-filled balloons, then you know that hot-air flight should be left to the professionals. The Federal Aviation Administration–certified pilots at Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning embark on journeys from the Sierra Nevada foothills daily, and their company has been named one of the 10Best attractions in Sacramento. Whether piloting a small group or private flight, the balloon captains show passengers a bird’s-eye view of the rolling hills, winding rivers and finely crafted comb-overs whose majesty can only be truly appreciated from above. Their aerial transports also play host to weddings in the sky and can provide a lift to those who enjoy BASE jumping from the clouds.