Asheville Hot Air Balloons
901 Smoky Park Highway, Candler. 828-667-9943. www.ashevillehotairballoons.com.
Hours: At sunrise, Asheville Hot Air Balloons will have one flight per day from April until New Years.
Activities: Guests to Asheville Hot Air Balloons will meet at daybreak at the balloon port to begin their adventure. Once on board, visitors will spend about an hour overlooking Western North Carolina Mountains and Pisgah National Forrest and traveling at speeds of about 5 mph. Most flights reach heights between treetop and 6,000 feet. When it's time to descend, the balloon pilot will land in locations such as ballparks, fields, yards, streets, roads, schools and even boat docks. Each landing destination is an adventure because balloons cannot really be steered. Balloons can accommodate private flights of two passengers, up to the largest balloon holding 12. Visitors can make flight reservations online, or by calling the company. Aside from flight trips, the company is also offering a summer flight camp for teen ages 14-18. During the summer camps, participants will log 20 hours per week of ground school, partake in 10 flights, learn the physics of flight, navigational skills and more. They will also enjoy activities like zip lines and hiking. The camp costs $1,295 per week and includes all meals and overnight accommodations.
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Cost: Shared flights cost $225 per person and private flights cost $600 per couple. Groups of six receive 10 percent off, while groups of 10 receive 15 percent off.
Target Audience: The company asks guests be older than 8 years to participate.
Directions: Take Interstate 85 S. toward Gastonia/Spartanburg. Take exit 10B to merge onto U.S.-74 W/Andrew Jackson Highway toward Kings Mountain/Shelby. Continue to follow U.S.-74 W. Merge onto I-26 W. Slight left onto U.S.-74 W. Merge onto I-40 W. Take exit 44 for U.S.-19/U.S.-23 toward W Asheville/Enka-Candler. Turn right onto U.S.-19 S./U.S.-23 S. Destination will be on the right.
Travel time from Charlotte: About two hours.