There are lots of ways to explore a new area. You could walk, for example, or take a taxi, a tuk tuk, a bicycle, or a boat. Us? We鈥檙e partial to the hot-air balloon. Balloon rides offer a double adventure 鈥 take in breathtaking sights and experience one of humanity鈥檚 earliest achievements of long-distance travel. They can be a solo adventure, a romantic trip, or a family affair. Some of them are located in the top destinations to visit this year (like New Zealand), while others might take you to regions you hadn鈥檛 considered before (we鈥檙e looking at you, Myanmar) or to your own backyard (hey there, New York!). Whether you鈥檙e already planning a trip abroad or you鈥檙e keeping your trips local, here are some stunning balloon rides to consider.

1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: Take an air safari with hot-air balloon rides in Serengeti National Park. You鈥檒l have the benefit of witnessing relatively untouched areas of the park where vehicles aren鈥檛 permitted, and if you鈥檙e lucky, you鈥檒l see wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles during the great migration. (Photo via Serengeti Balloon Safaris)

2. Napa County, CA: Even after the recent fires in the area, Napa Valley is a stunning place to view from the sky. Take in epic views of Mt. St. Helens, the Mayacamas Mt. Range and, if the morning weather is fair, the distant San Francisco skyline and Sierra Mountain range. (Photo via Napa Valley Aloft)

3. Sedona, AZ: Skip the crowded trailheads and get up close and personal with the stunning red rocks of Sedona on a three- to four-hour balloon ride. (Photo via Red Rock Balloons)

4. Queenstown, New Zealand: Take in the wonder of Mount Aspiring in the Southern Alps and Mount Tutoko in Fiordland National Park, as well as several gorgeous waterways, including Lake Wakatipu and the Kawarau river. And yes, you鈥檒l also get to see some of the spots where Lord of the Rings was filmed, such as The Gates of Argonath. (Photo via Travis Longmore Photography/Sunrise Balloons)

5. Ch芒teau-d鈥橭ex, Switzerland: Always wanted to see the Alps, but not much of a climber? A hot-air balloon is the way to go. On a clear day, you might get a panoramic view of the of the Alps, including Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. (Photo via Ballon Ch芒teau-d鈥橭ex)

6. Castile, NY: Fly through Letchworth State Park鈥檚 gorgeous gorge, known as the 鈥淕rand Canyon of the East.鈥 The highlight of this trip is The Middle Falls, standing at 107 feet high. (Photo via Balloons Over Letchworth)

7. Winter Park, CO: Few have ever taken the opportunity to see the Colorado Rockies like this. At higher altitudes, you can see as far as Boulder county, and when descending, you get close enough to pick pinecones right off the treetops. (Photo via Grand Adventure Balloon Tours)

8. Cappadocia, Turkey: After floating to an altitude of 6,000 feet, spend an hour taking in the stunning views of Red Valley, Goreme, and these incredible rock formations, known locally as 鈥渇airy chimneys.鈥 (Photo via Voyager Balloons)

9. Monument Valley, UT: One of the most recognizable desert landscapes in the world, Monument Valley is surprisingly remote, which makes a balloon tour even more stunning. As a bonus on the tour, you can learn local Navajo stories from your guide. (Photo via Monument Valley Balloon Company)

10. Bagan, Myanmar: What sets this flight apart are the views of the intricate Buddhist temples of Bagan, many of which were built between the 11th and 13th centuries. You鈥檒l also fly over villages where you can see locals going about their morning routines, like walking to the market or feeding their animals. (Photo via Balloons Over Bagan)

Want more gorgeous travel ideas? Follow us on Pinterest.