I recently took the first of what I hope to be many hot air balloon rides; Longview TX does them right!
Longview, Texas plays host to the Great Texas Balloon Race every July, and I had a sneak peek into the festivities when I visited the area as a guest last month.
I took my first ever hot air balloon ride (tethered) with none other than Dr. Bill Bussey, the world record hot air balloon pilot who started the balloon fest in Longview, Texas all those years ago.
It was incredible!
The most surprising thing about the hot air balloon ride was that when the balloon rose into the sky, it was so smooth and gentle that if I hadn’t been paying attention, I never would have known we were going up.
There’s no climbing sensation at all. And because the hot air balloon travels at the speed of the wind, you don’t feel the wind.
It’s so serene, calm and completely peaceful as you glide through the sky.
The only pause in the peacefulness is when the burners fire, and that’s a fascinating and welcome interlude.
If you’ve ever considered taking a hot air balloon ride, I highly encourage you to try it. It really wasn’t scary at all (to me;) I absolutely loved it!
The next Great Texas Balloon Race Festival takes place June 12-18, 2023, and if you’d like to take a hot air balloon ride, contact Balloon Adventures USA to make a reservation. Rides aren’t available during the balloon fest itself (as the crew is racing), but you can book a ride before or after.
Have you ever taken a hot air balloon ride or gone to a hot air balloon festival?
Comments & Reviews
I’ve always wanted to take a ride in a hot air balloon. I love looking at those colorful balloons from the ground too. I’m glad that the ride is smooth and gentle. Looks like so much fun!
I think I’d be too scared to go up in a hot air balloon but I think I would of been okay going up with Dr. Bill Bussey? This would surely ease any fears – Liz you’re really lucky girl!
Sarah Bailey says
I’ve always fancied going up in a balloon (I’ve been in a tethered one but that’s not quite the same). I can only imagine it is a beautiful site travelling across the skys. x
I have seen pictures and watched a tv show about this once. Love to see all the different and colorful hot air balloons floating in the sky.
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
I love how colorful they are, too! I think they must be so magical in real life.
I’ve been terrified to try this and recently passed on an opportunity to give this a go. I’m so glad to find a first hand account! And I imagine that the perspective must be so interesting.
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
Can you believe that I have never seen a hot air balloon in real life. I want to, but I have never been in the right place at the right time.
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy says
This is my dream to be able to do that. I know I would be scared, but it would so be worth it!
Paula Schuck says
That sounds like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. I think it would be magical.
Dia All The Things I Do says
I’m in San Antonio but I’m not familiar with Longview. Where is that? This looks like fun. I am on the fence about if I’d ever ride in one of these or not, part of me thinks it’s be fun but another part of me thinks I’d be freaking out.
Rhian Westbury says
I’ve only ever been on a hot air balloon one and I was really young and it was pretty scary. I’d love to give it another try though x
Julie Syl Kalungi says
That sounds so fun! I’ve never tried it, but I would love to do this.
Rachel Mouton says
Oh my goodness! This looks like so much fun. We are going to Pigeon Forge next month and want to try a hot air balloon ride 🙂
Sarah Bailey says
Ohh I hope you manage to get to try the hot air balloon ride they look so amazing! x
This does look like a lot of fun and I don’t know whether or not I would enjoy it x
Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says
I would love to see a hot air balloon race. Although, I wonder how they race, since hot air balloons don’t actually have an propulsion.
Amy Scott says
It’s one of those things I am dying to do but so fearful of. You can trust me to be there in the background risk assessing. I’m like that cartoon from the 90’s SAFETY QUEEN! I’d the views offered by a balloon ride are unparalleled!
I have never been up in a balloon ride but I have wanted to. I am a little nervous about how it all works so that has held me back but I think it would be a once in a lifetime even to happen.
I am the same way! I am semi-afraid of heights so a balloon ride has always fascinated me at the same time it sort of scares me!
Cathy Glynn says
It looks a fabulous experience, although I my fear of heights is definitely a stopping point for me. Great photos x
I have never been on a balloon ride but my hubby keeps insisting it is on our bucket list. You make it look so exciting! 🙂 P
tara pittman says
I go to the Albuquerque Balloon fiesta every year. I think this will be the year that I go up in a hot air balloon.
MJ. L says
I have always wanted to go in a hot air balloon! However I do have a fear of heights but I still think it would be an amazing experience for sure!
I’ve never had the opportunity to attend an air balloon festival before. I’d LOVE to go on a hot air balloon ride.
Catherine S says
This looks like so much fun. I have never been in a hot air balloon, but I would love to do it.
Lindsey @ Redhead Baby Mama says
My brother was born during a hot air balloon race! I’d love to go on a ride, but I’m not sure I can get over my fear as easily as you!
Harriet from Toby & Roo says
This looks awesome. I always love spotting hot air balloons in the sky 🙂 H x
Catherine S says
I agree, it does look awesome. I have always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon.
If I ever make it out to that side of the country, I’ll be checking this out.
I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon but I am so scared of heights I don’t know if I ever could… haha!
Janell Poulette says
That looks so amazing! I love watching hot air balloons float through the sky.
I went to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival last October. It was a very cool experience, that almost didn’t happen, because there wasn’t enough wind. I have a fear of heights so I’m not sure if I could actually go up in a balloon but I do imagine the feeling and view is amazing.
Sidney Aldaine says
Yes. We had something similar happening around here. And it`s just the most amazing thing seeing hot air ballons floating above green lands somewhere in between the sky and ground.
Angela Toslma says
I have always wanted to go up on hot air balloon! I’ll have to see if there’s anything like this near me, as texas is too far 🙁
Ana De- Jesus says
I have always wanted to go on a balloon ride as I imagine the view would be beautiful! The balloon race festival sounds like my cup of tea!
Christine - The Choosy Mommy says
This is a bucket list item of mine! Can’t wait to someday check it off. I remember chasing hot air balloons for miles in our fields when I was younger and this brought back great memories. Thank you!!
Attachment Mummy says
Wow, stunning shots of the balloon and that beautiful blue sky. Hot air ballooning looks and sounds amazing, but not sure I’m brave enough!
I am SO jealous! One of my dreams is to go up in a hot air balloon! They just look so serene and peaceful as they float over the landscape. How exciting for you that you got to experience doing this. Your pictures are wonderful! Thanks for sharing!
Cindy Ingalls says
I’ve never been up in a hot air balloon, but I’ve always wanted to go. Fear has mostly prevented me from trying, but from your description it seems not so scary after all.
Marcie W. says
Riding in a hot air balloon is something I have yet to do, but it is totally on my bucket list. While I am not the biggest fan of heights, I can see how it would be super peaceful.
Lisa Joy Thompson says
Riding in a hot air balloon is totally on my bucket list! I’d love to go to a hot air balloon festival too! I think picture of hot air balloons are super cool and a festival would give you lots of opportunities to take amazing pictures. Wish I lived closer to Texas!
I’m sad now that I realize we will back here in Georgia during the festival. But I’m so happy you had this experience! Wow! I bet it was incredible!
This is amazing. My daughter wants to go up in one for her Birthday this summer, so daddy said he would look into it. This looks amazing, and like something worth doing a few times in life!
Elizabeth O. says
Hot air balloons are always nice, they are great to watch and it’s even better when you’re riding one of them. It’s so nice to know that you got to experience that and I’m glad you had fun. Not everyone has the chance! I’m glad you took yours.
Amy Jones says
Looks so fun!! i havent been in one in ages, i wish my bf would take me on a balloon sometime =)
There are hot air balloon that come around our neck of the woods but this is gorgeous!
I have always wanted to take a ride in the balloon. They offered them in our area a few years back, but they sold out before we got tickets. Glad you had a good time!
So beautiful and looks like so much fun! This has always been a dream of mind. On the bucket list for sure 🙂
Bonnie @wemake7 says
I have always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. Maybe someday I’ll be able to. =)
Amber Starr says
Eow, how fun! I’ve always been intrigued but it freaks me out.
That sounds so awesome! I remember when I was about 10 someone set up a tethered hot air balloon in a nearby park and I went with my mom, aunt, and uncle. My mom wasn’t brave enough to go up, but I did with my aunt and uncle. I’m not so sure I’d be brave enough to take a ride in an untethered one, though. I am so afraid of heights!!!
I have a friend who lives in Kilgore and my mom is in Shreveport, so we may just have to make plans to see the balloon festival (I had absolutely no idea there was one at all before reading this!)
Bernadette Callahan says
That looks AWESOME! I bet you had a great time. All those views and being up so high. We have a balloon ride in Orlando but we have not been on it yet, not sure why but want to eventually. I love hot air balloons up in the air, they make for some great pics.
I need to find out how far away this is from my home. I would love to go to this festival!
Hot air balloon ride is in my bucket list. Hope to do it soon. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Have pinned your post for my reference! 🙂
That looks like it would be such a fun outing. I can’t believe I’ve never seen the hot air balloons in person. Not sure I could get my husband up in one, but seeing them would be a thrill.
With my fear of heights not sure I can survive a hot air balloon ride at all lol
Bella B (xoxoBella) says
I would LOVE to do this one day. I don’t think we have balloons around here. I will have to check into it. I love the colour of the balloons.
Oh my goodness how fantastic would this experience be? I want to do this!
Fashion and Style Police says
I need a ride in a hot air ballon. Never had the opportunity.
Franc Ramon says
I haven’t tried riding a hot air balloon. It does looks relaxing being in a such high vantage point to appreciate the views.
I have never been in one but it looks fascinating. One of these days I will try it.
You’ve ride an air balloon? Wow! I thought that was scary, specially to those who are afraid of heights. We have a similar annual event in the Philippines, I guess I need to plan ahead if I want to try it too.
You’ve ridden an air balloon? Wow! I thought that was scary, specially to those who are afraid of heights. We have a similar annual event in the Philippines, I guess I need to plan ahead if I want to try it too.
Lexie Lane says
I would love to go there with my family! That looks so fun and exciting.
Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche says
I love the idea of a hot air balloon ride but I think I’d be scared if I ever actually did it! It does look peaceful though.
Tanya Brannan says
I am not great with heights at all, but funnily enough I have always wanted to go in a hot air balloon! One day!!!
Nat Jones says
Wow it looks like great fun! I would love to go up in one I’ve not been yet
Valerie Gray says
I have never been on a hot air balloon ride. I am scared of heights, but I might give it a try.
I , personally, hate heights but I have always wanted to do this! I would love to be up close and personal with the Big Air Balloons. It makes me think of the Wizard of Oz. Amazing pictures and great posting! Thank you for sharing!
Laura H says
What a beautiful balloon!! I’d love to take a ride in one of these but to be honest I’m a little afraid. Glad to hear that the rise is actually pretty smooth!
Bella B (xoxoBella) says
I have never been to a balloon festival but it is very high on my list to do. Actually I would LOVE to go for a ride in one. I love all the colours of the balloons against the blue sky. I haven’t seen a festival in my area ever. I will need to research to find one.
Life as Mum says
Oh wow. What an amazing experience. Looks like fun! I have never been in a hot air balloon before, I think i would be too scared haha.
Kristen from The Road to Domestication says
That looks like such a wonderful time! I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride…
That looks so fun and colorful! I would love to go there and have a nice experience!
This looks like so much fun! I have only been up in a tethered hot air balloon but it was still a blast!
Up Run For Life says
I have always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. The balloons are so pretty too. My uncle lives in Longview too. I will have to check out the festival.
Jennifer Williams says
Wow, I bet your views were amazing when you were up in the air – glad you were not afraid! I am to terrified to ever do something like that. I would love to go to the festival though and see all of them. I had a friend go a couple years ago and the photos she shared were so beautiful.
Travel Blogger says
Ive never been in a hot air balloon but the views always look so incredible and I’ve never heard anyone have a bad experience.
Tori Gabriel says
I have been lucky enough to go up in a hot air balloon on a couple of occasions and I loved it. It is so smooth and quiet. I remember looking down at what I thought was a clump of grass but it was actually the top of a tree! We had risen without me even realising.
Ana Fernandez says
It would be such a fun activity! i would be scared for a couple of weeks obviously but I would love it haha
KRYSTLE COOK says
Sounds fun and scary. I am not a heights person at all. It would probably freak me out.
Melissa Lawler says
Hot air ballooning is popular in South Dakota as well. It makes for a great photo op!
Jenna Wood says
We have an annual wine and balloon festival we go to EVERY year- it is truly something I look forward to. For $5 you can go up and ‘hover’ in the balloon- the feel of the flames is really wild!
Melanie Edjourian says
They look lovely but I’d never go in one, I’m scared of heights.
Kylee from Kylee Cooks says
I wanted to go in Albuquerque during the festival there – but never did it (too busy). I often see HABs in the skies in AZ and have never been in one.
Kathy Kenny Ngo says
I envy you but I might literally die of a heart attack if I get into one of those things. I never could. My heart would just stop.
I have been in a hot air balloon ride and I’m telling you it is the funniest thing ever. I’m glad you were able to go once I think everybody should try it once it is such a wonderful way to travel around the city.
I’ve never been on a hot air balloon ride but these photos are beautiful. You must feel like you are flying when you are up there.
Ann Bacciaglia says
I would love to take a hot air balloon ride. The view from up in the sky is so gorgeous and I can imagine what it would be like on a clear day.
Although I would probably chicken out, this is one thing I have always wanted to do. I think hot air balloons are beautiful. Maybe one day I will try.
Georgina Ingham | Culinary Travels says
I always think hot air balloon rides look really exciting yet calming but I don’t think I’d be brave enough to try it as I have a real fear of heights.
Travel Pockets (Crystal) says
Part of me wants to ride hot air balloons, but part of me is afraid to go so high up in the air! But maybe I can do a tethered version 🙂 Beautiful photos!
Louise Bishop says
I actually was just watching a hot air balloon gliding across the sky this weekend. It seems like it would be such a peaceful, relaxing ride to just float and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Wow this experience seems so therapeutic! I don’t understand how it wasn’t windy or rocky! I have a minor fear of heights but I think I may have to put that aside and try this!
Oh my goodness, those pictures look like something out of a magazine! I’ve always wanted to ride on a hot air balloon.
Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen says
I am scared of heights so I don’t think I’ll be able to ride a hot air balloon! Great photos!
Stephanie of The TipToe Fairy says
We live just a couple hours away from there. I’m not sure I could ever be brave enough to go in a hot air balloon. It looks so scary, lol.
This looks like such a fun time, I have never faced my fear of heights enough to get in a hot air balloon but these look like a lot of fun!
Amy @ Marvelous Mommy says
Awesome pictures! I have never been on a hot air balloon ride, but it is definitely on my bucket list!
Seattle Travel Blogger says
Hot air ballooning is lots of fun and meaningful to my husband and me.
He proposed to me during a hot air balloon ride.
Nicole Escat says
This is so cool and awesome. I would to experience this hot air balloon together with my family. It would be really fun!
Toni | BoulderLocavore says
I love hot air ballooning! It has to be one of the most peaceful ways to fly. Though we did have on situation when we almost landed in some power lines. That was not so fun!
This looks like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to ride a hot air balloon – so thrilling and exciting! Also, what beautiful photos you have posted.
Jennifer H says
I was lucky enough to take a hot air balloon ride last year. It was very peaceful. I didn’t realize they offered races…pretty neat! 🙂
Marielle Altenor says
I’m actually terrified of heights but I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. LOL Will have to get over my fear if I want to go.
Nicole B says
I’ve never been on a hot air balloon ride. I think it looks fun and scary in a good way. 🙂
Not sure if I would be brave enough. A beautiful view though!
Lisa Rios says
My goodness this looks so much of fun. Though it looks a bit scary for me, I am sure it could be so exciting to go for a hot air balloon ride.
brianna george says
someday I will ride in a hot air balloon.
Michelle Blackwood says
Sounds breathtaking! Better than an airplane ride because there is no turbulence.
Angie Scheie says
Lucky you! This has been on my bucket list for a long time. Someday!!
The London Mum says
I’ve always wanted to do it, but I’m petrified of heights…! I’d love to one day though for sure. x
Mardene Carr says
Oh hell no…LOL..I barely want to go up in a plane much less a hot air balloon. I like my feet firmly planted on the ground, thank you mam…Hhahahahahaa
Ryan Escat says
That looks so fun and great event! How I wish I was there.
Ryan Escat says
That looks so fun and great event! How I wish I was there.
A hot air balloon ride is on my personal bucket list! I’m so scared of heights thought, but wow your pics are awesome
This looks amazing! I have always wanted to go on a ride, it would be a new experience for me.
Never! But I soooo want to. It would have to be during the same weather as these pictures though!
Cara (@StylishGeek) says
Wow! That looks awesome! The first time I rode a hot air balloon was in Napa Valley. A friend was celebrating a milestone birthday and she wanted to do something uncanny! This was indeed an incredible experience!
I always get so excited when I see a hot air balloon I don’t know know why!!
Becca Wilson says
I remember my first hot air balloon ride. It was so much fun!
Janeane Davis says
I have never been in a hot air balloon. It is on my bucket list and I would like to try it.
I’ve always wanted to go in a hot air balloon. Looks like a good time.
Ashley - Embracing Homemaking says
Oh, wow, that looks incredible! Every since Uncle Jesse had a hot air balloon on Full House I’ve wanted to take a ride in one. 🙂
Jolleen Ruiz says
Amazing! I’ve always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride!
Ann Bacciaglia says
I have always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride. The view would be amazing. They look so beautiful in the sky.
Jennifer L | Modern Chic says
Wow this looks fantastic! I’ve always wanted to see the hot air balloons and ride one. Hopefully someday soon!
i’d love to have a go! I’ve no problem with heights etc but I’ve always found the thought of hot air balloons scary!
Looks amazing, every year I love going to clark pampanga and see the Hot air balloon.
Alissa Apel says
I want to try it! This looks like so much fun! I was bummed when we went to New Mexico, and missed their release on Tuesday nights.
I always wanted to fly but If I was given the chance, not literally but for example have a hot air ballon ride I would say no cause I’m way too scared 🙂 lol glad you enjoyed
This looks so fun and I love Hot Air Balloons. I don’t think I could ever ride in one, but they are beautiful!
Christina Aliperti says
I would really love to take a hot air balloon ride. It just seems like a very peaceful and beautiful experience. Every time I see hot air balloons I can only imagine what it would feel like to be overlooking everyone below.
Mhaan A says
We also have hot air balloon festival in our country that happens every February. I was able to attend last 2013 and it was really hell of a fun.
Going up in a balloon is something that I have always wanted to do. I should look into seeing if they offer it around here.
Colette S says
I’ve always wondered what the ride would feel like.
That’s amazing that it is so smooth.
What a fun adventure. I would love to do this sometime.
Edwin Lao says
I always wondered how does balloon rides work. Is it safe? What are the precautionary measures we should do before riding one. Who controls it, do you have a pilot with you?
Jessica Anderson says
I’ve been on one once years back in Tucson for a sunset ride and it was so amazing. Something I’ll never forget 🙂
noelle d says
I have ALWAYS wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride.
Maybe one day?
Jennifer Tammy says
I’m so glad you mentioned the climb and wind – I’ve always worried about those! I think this would be a wonderful treat for an anniversary or special birthday. (I’d be too nervous to bring the kids on it, though!)