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Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride in South Carolina’s Upstate

Devyn Whitmire Devyn Whitmire
Devyn spends her days creating content to build an online community of travelers. She is a firm believer there’s always something new to Discover in the Palmetto State.
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For a relatively small state, South Carolina has a wealth of wonderful landscapes to enjoy. And one of the best ways to experience the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the mirrored waters of the state’s many lakes, the steady waves of the Atlantic Ocean and every breathtaking view in between is from above. Specifically, from the basket of a hot air balloon.

several colorful hot air balloons rise into the sky
Each October Balloons Over Anderson brings together people of all ages in a celebration of flight.

Roger Clark of Palmetto Sun Balloons has long loved navigating the winds to pilot his various balloons, a passion he developed as a kid when his family wanted to find a hobby to share and spend time together. “It takes five people to launch a hot air balloon,” Clark says. So, with the price right for his dad, a truly unique family pastime was born. A licensed pilot for more than 40 years, Clark now shares his hobby as often as he can through various events and private rides.

A family stands in front of a hot air balloon as it inflates
Taking an up-close look at a hot air balloon in South Carolina's Upstate.

Ready for a high-flying adventure? Here are five reasons why you should book a hot air balloon experience in South Carolina’s Upstate.

  1. Relaxing – It’s always a good idea to get away from the everyday chaos of life— even for just a moment— and being up in a hot air balloon is incredibly calming. Other than the firing of the balloon’s burner that the pilot has to occasionally do to navigate the winds, it’s totally quiet up there, a strange yet wonderfully welcome respite.
  2. Views – No matter what season you take flight, you’re going to love the views. Fall is an exceptional time to balloon as you can see the varying colors of the trees as the backdrop to the balloon’s wandering shadow. And the mountains just beyond Greenville’s city limits are the peak—pun intended.
  3. Trying Something New – While hot air balloons aren’t exactly new, they’re definitely niche, and not something the average person gets to experience very often. This is certainly a unique activity worthy of your bucket list. For those hesitant, rest assured the flight is very gentle and Roger explains that, even though he himself is scared of heights, the height has never bothered him or any of his guests.
  4. A Special Occasion – From first dates to proposals, important milestones or even just spur of the moment celebrations, what better way memorialize an occasion than experiencing a sunrise (Roger’s personal favorite) or sunset from the sky?
  5. Hospitality – The Palmetto State is renowned for its charm and hospitality and Roger and his team at Palmetto Sun Balloons take that to heart. You’ll not only feel welcomed, but part of the crew.

If the hot air balloon ride is the main event, here are some other musts to build out an epic visit to South Carolina’s Upstate. A morning at Unity Park in Greenville is fun for all. Grab a drink and a snack at the various restaurants in The Commons—Methodical Coffee is always a great choice—and take a walk across the sweeping grounds.

aerial view of Unity Park, Greenville SC
Located in the area west of downtown Greenville, Unity Park offers visitors 60 acres of greenspaces with art, playgrounds, trails and more to explore.
Devyn Whitmire
Devyn spends her days creating content to build an online community of travelers. She is a firm believer there’s always something new to Discover in the Palmetto State.