You have? Great! We have you covered with all the best information on where to park your rig so you can realize your balloon dream.
You haven’t? Well, we recommend it. Unless you suffer from globophobia (a fear of balloons)…in which case you should probably stay far away from this balloon-centric post.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the world’s largest hot air ballooning event and is held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Considered one of the world’s most photographed events, over 500 balloons attempt to take flight before the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains each year. Held in the beginning of October, this delightful festival spans nine days. While it is an extremely popular “Bucket List” destination, if you plan wisely, Balloon Fiesta can be low stress and action packed.
There is plenty to be discussed in terms of hitching rides on balloons, breakfast burritos, and boxes (wind patterns – it’s a ballooning thing). However, here on Campendium, our focus is to help you find a great place to stay during your Balloon Fiesta experience.
On Site Options
If you’re looking to minimize stress and maximize balloon interactions, consider staying on-site at the Fiesta Grounds in one of The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s four rally-style RV camping areas.
Crowds for some Balloon Fiesta events exceed 80,000 people and morning events begin before sunrise. To put it concisely: traffic is a nightmare. If you’d like to hit snooze in the morning and still make it out to see sunrise balloon glows or launches, staying on Fiesta Grounds in your rig will help you achieve that goal. That is, so long as “sleeping in” equates to waking up around 5:30a.m.
While you can expect to be cozy with your neighbors and will need to be in a self-contained unit, the proximity to the Fiesta action while camping on-site is unparalleled. Plan on tolerating some dust, the persistent hum of daytime generators, and a high probability of hot air balloons landing feet from your rig.
The four rally-style camping areas vary not only in distance from the balloon launch field but also in price. You can opt for a space within walking distance to the launch field for as low as $40 per night, or you can choose to live ‘presidentially’ on a bluff overlooking the launch area for $250 per night. The South Lot offers the option of electrical hook-ups, with the President’s Compound lot offering water as well as electric. Both the VIP East Lot and VIP West Lot are dry lots.
Fiesta Grounds RV Camping Area Tips:
- Book your spot early. The Fiesta has become extremely popular, especially with the RVing community. Reservations for RV slots on Fiesta Grounds open 9 days after the close of the previous year’s Fiesta.
- You can book your site online at the Balloon Fiesta Website.
- These lots are temporary facilities owned by the city of Albuquerque and used for RV parking during Fiesta only. The lots open the Monday before Fiesta begins, and close the Monday of the final scheduled balloon launch. There is a 3-night minimum when making RV camping reservations.
There are a limited number of ‘first-come-first-served’ sites available during the Fiesta. There is no minimum stay for these slots.As of the 2019 Balloon Fiesta Season – all sites need to be reserved/booked in advance. There is no ‘first-come-first-served’ any longer. Again, you can book your site online at the Balloon Fiesta Website.
- Each lot is organized “rally-style,” meaning placement in the RV lot is first come, first parked. You will be parked very close to your neighbor – whether you know them or not. Sites are less than 20 feet wide and 50 feet long.
- You will be sardined next to the rigs you arrive with. So, if you’re looking to park near a friend or group of friends, be sure to arrive with them.
- Balloon Fiesta attendants do not park rigs after sunset (7 PM) for safety purposes. You will be staged for parking in the next morning if you arrive after this time.
- Many RV clubs (Escapees/Xscapers, Airstream, Monaco, etc.) reserve sections of Fiesta lots for club members. If you are a club member, check to see if your club is holding a Balloon Fiesta convergence.
- While there are portable bathrooms strewn throughout the RV parking lots, there are no shower facilities available. There is a 3rd party vendor available for pump-outs and water fills for an additional cost per service.
- Pets are permitted in Fiesta RV Lots, but are prohibited from entering the balloon launch field.
Off Site Options
Maybe you prefer somewhere with few more amenities than are offered at the Fiesta Grounds RV lots. We’ve got you covered!
Off-site RV Park Tips:
- Be ready to get up (very) early and fight traffic to get the Fiesta Grounds. Fiesta traffic is notorious for causing folks to completely miss launches and events. Morning launches are at dawn, with balloon glows preceding sunrise.
- Free Bike Valet service is available on Fiesta Grounds if you stay within biking distance, want to bypass traffic, and are thinking of off-setting a few of the calories you’ll be consuming while eating that famous Fiesta breakfast burrito.
- Vehicle parking on Fiesta Grounds is $15 per session (there are two ‘sessions’ per day). Park and Ride locations are set-up around town.
- Book early! Local RV parks fill up just as quickly (if not more quickly) than the Fiesta RV Lots.
If you’ve daydreamed about attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the RV Parks at Fiesta Park and in the surrounding Albuquerque area can provide you with great opportunities for making the most of your experience. Here’s to hoping for 10 days worth of balloon filled skies – and the luck of a balloon landing near you!