Dating can be challenging, especially when you need to come up with fresh new date ideas to keep a new romance humming. Whether you’re looking for something a bit more exciting than dinner and a movie, or you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, a hot air balloon ride is guaranteed to impress.

Picture it: the wind in your hair, the endless horizon, the sunset within reach. Hot air balloon rides are as romantic as it gets, especially if you choose a private ride at sunset with a champagne toast. If you want to plan an event your significant other will never forget, here’s the ultimate guide to hot air balloon dates.

How to book 

Hot air balloon rides aren’t the kind of date you can plan at the spur of the moment. You’ll need to make reservations well in advance. It’s important to choose a reputable company like Compass Balloons to ensure there are no unfortunate surprises, like booking a private tour only to show up with a crowd waiting to board. Also keep in mind that rides depend on fair weather conditions, so be prepared to reschedule if the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse.

When to ride

Late spring, summer, and early autumn are the busiest time for hot air balloon rides because the weather is typically ideal, so you’ll need to factor the season into how early you book your reservation. Additionally, most hot air balloon companies offer either sunrise or sunset rides. Sunrise rides offer the clearest views of the landscape below, while sunset rides offer unparalleled views of the sun setting from above. 

What to wear

Whether you choose a sunrise or sunset hot air balloon ride, you’ll need to dress warmly—the air is much cooler at 3,000-foot elevation. Even if the temperature is mild on land, you’ll likely need a sweater or jacket in the air. It’s also important to dress comfortably and wear sensible shoes, as most hot air balloons depart and arrive on a field of grass or dirt. 

What to bring

You’ll definitely want to bring binoculars on a hot air balloon ride to enhance your 360-degree views, plus a camera to capture your memories. You’ll may also want to bring along some refreshments. Some hot air balloon companies provide drinks and snacks as part of their ride package, but if they allow you to bring your own, select romantic options like chocolate-covered strawberries, an assortment of cheeses, and champagne. 

What to do

Hot air balloon rides are a perfect excuse to unplug from the rest of the world and enjoy the tranquility of nature surrounding you. Cell service might be spotty anyway, so keep phones tucked away except for taking photos, and let the conversation about your shared experience flow. Of course, if you’re planning on popping the question, a hot air balloon ride is the perfect venue for a proposal. At Compass Balloons, we can ensure your proposal goes off without a hitch—our pilot can even tell you the perfect moment to drop down on one knee.

Private and group hot air balloon rides in Southern California

Whether you want to book a private, romantic hot air balloon ride for two or a group tour with friends, Compass Balloons offers both options, for sunrise and sunset rides. We also offer two location options: the breathtaking San Diego coastline, or the gorgeous rolling hills of Temecula’s wine country.  Fill out our contact form or call us at (760) 704-7407 for more information or to schedule your ride.