Summer is here, and it's shaping up to be a good one. If you want to make yours something to remember, then it's time to start planning some activities. Even a weekend getaway can give you a much needed break from the stress of daily life, and there's no better trip than a Grand Canyon tour on a plane or helicopter. I've put together three of the best tours available, so that you can save time when planning your adventure.
The Best Tour from Las Vegas
Vegas is a stone's throw from the Grand Canyon, so it's no surprise that most of the best tours depart from the bright city in the desert. One of my absolute favorite tours departs from Las Vegas every hour, and that is the landing helicopter tour that goes inside and to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This tour is unique to the Vegas operators.
On this tour, you will fly over the impressive Hoover Dam before reaching the Grand Canyon, once there, it will be a 3500ft scenic descent to the bottom of the Canyon, where you will set down next to the Colorado River. There's a Champagne Picnic so that you can celebrate the occasion, and you will have the time to explore the trails around the area.
If you're keen for more adventure, you can even add a riverboat ride to this tour, allowing you to see more of the Canyon from a unique vantage point.
Flying to the South Rim by Airplane
I couldn't talk about the best air tours to the Grand Canyon without mentioning the South Rim, and from Vegas, you can fly directly to Arizona on an airplane. There are two of these tours, both of which round out my top three options at the Canyon.
The first tour is one where you take a 60-minute flight from Vegas, before boarding a helicopter for a 30-minute tour that takes you to the remote North Rim, and back to the South Rim. That's not the end of the tour, because after that you will take a two-hour bus ride that will show you all of the best landmarks from the ground.
My final favorite includes a longer helicopter tour at the South Rim. It covers the same areas that the 30-minute tour does, but it also adds on an extra 20 minutes that takes you to the eastern boundaries of the Grand Canyon National Park. This is hands down my favorite option at the South Rim. You will fly through the deepest and widest part of the Canyon, known as the Dragoon Corridor, and by the time you are finished you will have flown over 75% of the entire National Park.
Basic or Deluxe?
Now that you know the three best tours, you'll also need to know whether you should choose basic or deluxe. Before we go any further, it's important to note that both options will provide you with a phenomenal experience. Basic helicopters are usually AStar and Bell Ranger models, and they're some of the best sightseeing helicopters in the world.
However, if you do choose Deluxe, then you can expect an experience that adds some extras on top of the basic package. Most importantly, you will fly in an EcoStar helicopter that has a huge 180 degree viewing window, a stadium style seat configuration, and a larger cabin with better sound insulation. It makes for a more comfortable flight with better views than the basic helicopters, so if your budget allows for Deluxe, then it's my recommendation that you go for it. Deluxe tours from Vegas also include a limousine pickup, allowing you to feel like a real VIP as you begin your Grand Canyon tour.
If you're ready to start booking, then you just need a couple more tips. First, make sure that you book online using your credit card, and secondly, book in advance of your tour. I recommend booking two weeks prior, because the closer you get to the flight date, the higher the ticket price will be. Last minute bookings come with a significant increase in price, so planning ahead will save you some money. Booking online is the only way to lock in your seats with the best price, so always choose this option rather than going through a traditional booking agent that adds fees onto the transaction.
South Rim or West Rim? The choice is yours. At the West Rim you can land inside the Canyon, while the South Rim allows for more aerial sightseeing at some of the most remote areas of the Canyon. Whichever of my three recommendations you choose, I can guarantee that you're going to have a great time, and you will take away memories that will stick with you for your lifetime.