There are some destinations, attractions and vistas so awe-inspiring and vast that you cannot get the full impact of them from the ground. Other destinations are well-known from the inside, but the bird’s eye perspective from the air of these iconic places brings with it a whole new appreciation. It’s one of those rare opportunities in a lifetime that is not to be missed. So, if you have ever asked, “What are the some of the best helicopter tours near me?” We may have your answer.
What are some of the best places in the United States to see from a helicopter?
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon makes everyone’s “must see by air” list. Exploring the Grand Canyon from the ground is a powerful experience. Whether you have taken a horse in, walked the South Rim or bravely walked out on the glass Skywalk, you’ve probably been amazed by the beauty that surrounded you. But, you cannot get a complete measure of the astounding beauty and scope of this landmark until you have seen it from the air. There are a number of companies that provide helicopter tours, and each will take you on a specific course, so be sure to choose the one that will hover over your favorite spots. However, most will take you over the Dragon Corridor (the deepest and widest section of the Canyon), the densely forested North Rim, the Colorado River (the confluence is considered sacred by the Hopi) and the South Rim.
The Las Vegas Strip
This suggestion might seem a bit surprising given that you can get some overhead visual of the Las Vegas Strip from the top floors of some of the taller hotels. However, the glossy shine and neon lights of Sin City are even more mesmerizing from the air than they seem when you are in the midst of them all. You can get short seven-minute rides that allow you to sip champagne as you fly over The Strip itself (at day or night), or you can get longer combination luxury rides. Those combination rides are pricier, but they run about two-and-a-half hours long. For instance, Maverick Tours begins with a flight toward Las Vegas and Lake Mead with a fly-over of the Hoover Dam, followed by a flight over the Mojave that stops with a Grand Canyon landing. Snacks and champagne are offered before the return sunset flight over the “flaming” Red Rocks and Las Vegas Strip.
The power of Niagara Falls is hard to dispute, whether you are standing on one of the overlooks with a view of the water below, or taking a boat ride under the falls. But the experience of hovering over the thundering water, or experiencing that aerial perspective is an opportunity not to be missed. Most tour companies will offer at least a 20-minute ride that allows you to take in both the panoramic views and the Falls below you. Get your cameras ready!
New York City
New York City is one of the most visited cities in the world. From the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building, millions of travelers every day explore the city’s landmarks. But the beauty of the skyline cannot truly be appreciated until you’ve seen it from a seat on a helicopter tour. You can pick your flight duration and destinations, but they typically run from 15 to 30 minutes long and include places like the Hudson River, and Central Park.
Big Island, Hawaii
There are so many places on the Hawaiian Islands that deserve the heli-tour treatment, but if you only have time for one, try taking a helicopter tour around the Big Island. Because it is so much larger than the other islands, it really is the best way to get a sense of the entire island in one go. Pilots are said to monitor the lava flows of Kilauea Volcano so that passengers get the best views. Tour companies like Blue Hawaiian Helicopters offer tours that include the volcano, the tropical rain forests and awe-inspiring waterfalls while giving you a background on the culture and history of Hawaii.
If you have ever driven the hairpin turns of San Francisco’s Lombard Street and wondered what that must look like from the air, you can find out. Travelers with a side of adventure can take a helicopter tour that reveals overhead looks of the city streets, as well as up-close-and-personal views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Other landmark tours include views of Alcatraz Island, as well as romantic looks at the ocean and nearby mountains.
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