Sunday, January 24, 2016

Grand Canyon Tours: Helicopter, Airplane Rides For Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)

By Beth Adams

Planning to be in Las Vegas for Valentine's Day? You can make your trip even more memorable with a Grand Canyon helicopter or plane tour. These tours are the perfect romantic adventure, but you'll have to book soon, because Valentine's is one of the busiest touring seasons of the year.

You can fly to the West Rim near Vegas, or even Arizona's South Rim. Flights operate daily, and depart every hour. You can choose from air-only tours, or landing tours that take you right down to the Canyon.

If you choose a West Rim tour, your helicopter is allowed to descend into the Canyon and land on the bottom near the Colorado River. As you can imagine, these tours are popular, so they sell out fast, and that's why you need to go online and buy your tour as soon as you can. It's a good idea to book your tour when you make your hotel reservations so you don't put it off and forget. Waiting too long means you risk paying more for your seats if you can find any available.

Helicopter Tours Of The Canyon

Helicopters fly over Lake Mead and the mighty Hoover Dam on the way to the Canyon. Once at the National Park, you will complete a scenic flyover, before heading back to Las Vegas. If you choose a landing tour, you will have some more time to explore. I prefer landing tours because they offer more adventure. My favorite is the one that goes to the bottom of the Canyon, and it even includes a Champagne picnic, which is perfect for Valentine's Day. There's even the Skywalk at the West Rim - an impressive glass platform that is 4000ft above the bottom.

If you want to tour the South Rim by helicopter, you'll have to fly there by plane first, and then you'll transfer to a chopper for a thirty or fifty minute flight. The shorter flight tours the North and South Rims. The longer tour includes the eastern area of the park, and will have you gazing at over 75% of the entire National Park. The longer tour costs a little more, but it is definitely worth it because you get to see so much of the park.

Airplane Tours

Airplanes take the same routes as helicopter tours, with the differences being that they fly at higher altitudes, and they can't land at the bottom of the West Rim. Planes also seat 19 passengers, while helicopters can only accommodate 6. If you're travelling in a group, an Airplane may be the best option.

Airplanes can't fly to the bottom, but they can land on top of the rim, so you can still enjoy all the fun activities at the Canyon including taking a helicopter ride to the Canyon floor. When you take a plane tour of the South Rim, your airplane follows the same path as the longer helicopter tour. If you want a land experience at the South Rim, you can add on a scenic 2 1/2 hour bus tour through the park.

Airplane tours are more affordable, but you do have the tradeoff of diminished visibility as compared to a helicopter tour. When you take a tour on a deluxe helicopter, you get panoramic views from a wraparound windscreen on the chopper, but when you fly on an airplane, your views are limited to the sights you can see outside the window by your seat.


Valentine's Day is the perfect occasion for a trip to Vegas and a tour of the Canyon. The tours are available at different price ranges, so to have the best experience, you'll want to spend as much as your budget allows. When it comes to adding on tour options, you get what you pay for, so the more, the better. The Champagne picnic landing tour is my favorite at the West Rim, while the 50 minute helicopter tour is my recommendation for the South Rim.

Choose one that suits you, and make this Valentine's Day the best one yet.

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