With just two weeks left until Labor Day, it's time to start making getaway plans. If you're looking for something different and fun to do, you should think about going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on a helicopter tour. You should also know that you're going to need to book within the next few days, as these tours are extremely popular and they will sell out before September 5.
Exploring The South Rim
The South Rim is not as touristy as the West Rim, plus, the area is a more remote wilderness. Helicopter tours of the South Rim all begin from the airport in Tusayan, AZ, which is a convenient drive from Williams, Sedona, Flagstaff and Phoenix. Even if you're in a city like Vegas, you could still drive to Tusayan (about five and a half hours), or you could take a one-hour flight from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon National Airport.
The park service doesn't allow helicopters to fly inside the Canyon or land there, so you'll be taking an air-only tour. The air tour is a fantastic experience because you will fly over some of the most remote and pristine wilderness areas left in the United States. You can book a half-hour tour or one that gives you 50 minutes of flight time. Take my advice and go for the longer tour, because this allows you to see so much more.
What To Expect On Your Air Tour
On the 30 minute tour you will fly from the South Rim, up to the remote North Rim, and back again. On your journey you will fly through some truly impressive sections of the Canyon, such as the Dragoon Corridor, the widest and deepest section of the entire Grand Canyon.
As good as this tour is, you'll find the longer tour to be even better, and you can take it for a reasonable price increase. It initially follows the same flight path as the shorter tour over to the North Rim, and then it adds on a leg over to the eastern border of the park. In all, you'll fly over 75 percent of the National Park, which is something you can't do on any other Canyon tour. You will witness wild Buffalo roaming and you will also see the Confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers from the air.
The Ground Tour Option
Your helicopter tour of the South Rim can be upgraded to include a Jeep tour too. This fun tour lets you see the park from the air on a 30-minute helicopter flight and from the ground on a two-hour Jeep ride through the National Park. Seeing things from the ground offers you a whole new perspective, and two hours allows you plenty of time for photos and marveling in awe at your surroundings.
There are both deluxe and basic tours available, with basic tours operating mostly from Bell helicopters, while the deluxe tours use newer EcoStar helicopters. Deluxe is the best choice if you can make it work with your budget. You will have a better view through a 180 degree viewing window, and the helicopter is larger, with the best seat layout in the industry.
A Few Concluding Tips
Remember it will be hot at the Canyon, so if you're taking a Jeep tour, dress light, and apply plenty of sunscreen. Also, take some extra bottled water and salty snacks for your trip.
Because Labor Day is coming up soon, you will need to book soon, and make sure you complete your booking online with your credit card. As a plus, you'll save money by using the lower Internet rate, but more importantly, your seats will be instantly reserved and confirmed.
Get your tour booked as soon as you can so you'll be ready to tour America's natural wonderland from the air and from the ground on a fun-filled tour of the South Rim.
Grand Canyon professional Lea Fallon is a big fan of these chopper excursions that leave every day from Grand Canyon National Park in Tusayan, AZ, outside the entrance gates of the South Rim: http://www.grandcanyonhelicopters.org/south-rim/