There are few sights as awe-inspiring and confounding as thousands of baskets being lifted hundreds of feet into the air by fire and colossal, brightly colored balloons. This vision is so enthralling that millions of spectators flock to hot air balloon festivals across the United States each year to marvel at this man made wonder.
For those that are up for rising before the sun, otherworldly “glow shows” can be enjoyed, which consist of pilots filling their balloons with the heat and light of massive burners before dawn. And, if you’re brave enough to say yes to the full magic of a hot air balloon, many festivals provide opportunities to go for a ride. If you’re ready to go on a journey that will awaken a giddy sense of fascination, check out one or more of these top-notch hot air balloon festivals.
1. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Albuquerque, New Mexico – Early October
A vibrant tapestry of balloons highlights the astonishing natural beauty of New Mexico’s high-desert landscape during the internationally renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. As one of the largest balloon celebrations in the world, this gathering features over 500 balloons, laser shows, live music, endless activities for children, and of course, millions of visitors.
Because there’s so much to do at this ten-day event, it’s recommended that you make a full vacation out of it and attend the festival over the span of a few days. Be sure to mix in other sightseeing excursions in and around Albuquerque, such as Petroglyph National Monument or La Luz Trail, as fall is believed by many to be the most visually stunning season in New Mexico.