Woodinville, WA for a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

It was one of the most confusing surprises my mom has ever given me for my birthday. She was completely secretive for weeks, but just told me to be free early in the morning and into the afternoon on my birthday. So the day came, and she picked me up at my apartment in Seattle. We drove east, to Woodinville, and landed in a McDonald’s parking lot. McDonald’s? We got out of the car and wandered over to meet a mystery group of people standing next to a van. And the surprise was revealed! The leader of the group started explaining how hot air balloons work, gave us the rules of the ride, etc. Then we all hopped in the van and cruised to the launch site.

When we got there, the balloon was deflated and laying on the ground. These things are massive. It was so cool to watch them inflate it. We even got to help a little! Once it was safe, we hopped in the basket – me, my mom, and about 5 other people, including the “driver”. We ascended I don’t even know how many feet, and it was the craziest experience, seeing the sunrise over mountains, the wine country, the Snohomish River Valley from so high up. The ride lasted about an hour. They shuttled us back to our cars, and my mom and I went to Maltby Cafe for breakfast. Such a great birthday surprise!

Insider Tip

Go to Maltby Cafe, and order a cinnamon roll. Oh my god.

Where I stayed / started

Woodinville, WA

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