Best time to go to Georgia, USA

Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race 2024

The only long-distance balloon race in the United States

Dates: May 30–June 1, 2024

Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race is the oldest ballooning event of the South that is held every June in the Alpine village of Hellen, North Georgia. Witness an incredible lift-off of over 20 hot air balloons competing in America's only long-distance balloon race. It starts in Helen, and the finish line could be anywhere on the coastal Highway I-95 (between Maine and Miami). The distance of 225 miles (362 km) can be covered in two days. Since balloons usually have fuel for just four hours, they have to land for refueling.

Helen to the Atlantic is not just an exciting event to watch. The public can participate in numerous activities on land like assisting with the inflations, trying tethered rides, and more. About 20 balloons will be offering rides locally. The picturesque Alpine village also offers many outdoor sights and attractions, including vast forests, mountain streams, and the waterfalls. The festival's program runs for three straight days from 7 am to 6 pm.

2024 Schedule

Competing balloons take to the sky at 7:00 am on May 30, 2024, starting their journey in Helen and finishing at I-95 (at any spot between Maine and Miami). The pilots have to cover at least 225 miles (362 km), and usually, the race takes two days. So the first pilot to cross I-95, or whoever is ahead at sunset on Friday, May 31, wins the race. Local ballooning events will also take place on May 31 and June 1. About 20 balloons are launched in Helen at 7:30 am and 6 pm. The flights last for 1-2 hours.


Helen is a beautiful Alpine village nestled in the mountains, with plenty of outdoor activities, lush woodlands, and waterfalls. The launch field is located in River Park, across from the Cool River Tubing. The first hot air balloon was inflated and launched in Helen back in the fall of 1973.

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