Dec 03

Heli Tour of Seattle

On my recent trip to Seattle my friends and I wanted to channel a little bit of Christian Grey, so we did a helicopter tour, not that I need much encouragement since I love helicopter tours. As an extra added bonus it was Fleet Week and we were flying during an opening of the TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction).

The downside of the TFR is that we were held on the tarmac for quite a bit waiting for clearance. The upside is that we got to see tons of different planes (Blue Angels, Harriers) taking off and landing, so at least the sights were good.

The helicopter tours fly out of Boeing Field which is to the South of Downtown Seattle.  Our tour started over East Seattle, moved over the water between Seattle and Bainbridge Island, than returned back over the city.  It’s offered fantastic views of the city, naturally.  It helped that it was a perfect day, blue skies, warm temperatures.

While the views don’t quite compete with locations like Hawaii (not that many places do), the mountains framing the city, and the water ways that surround it do make for great scenery.  And the iconic Space Needle looks great from that close up.

I’m almost always going to tell you that if you have a chance that you should do a helicopter tour, and this is not exception.  One thing I particularly liked was that we took a 4 seater helicopter, and there were 3 of us and the pilot. It was nice to have a private tour and be able to joke around more freely than when you’re on a big helicopter with strangers.

Aug 21

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour

Many years ago (or in 2003) on a family trip to Las Vegas, My Mom, Dad, sister and I took a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. That trip was from McCarren Airport, flew us by the Hoover Damn and down to the Grand Canyon, I believe the north rim.  We flew around inside the canyon a bit and then headed back.  On the trip back we did a nice sweep of the strip.  I think that trip was an hour and a half in the air.  It was absolutely fabulous.

When I returned to Las Vegas last year I had the option of taking another helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, this one even included lunch (or brunch in our case) in the canyon.  I decided that after 9 years, and a different experience it was worth it.

This tour was quite a bit different though.  First we went from Boulder Airport, which meant two things: we had a longer driver to the airport and we were not going to see the strip on this trip.  Not seeing the strip was a bummer and something I would tell others to seriously consider this when picking a helicopter tour.

But, we had a shorter flight to the Grand Canyon. At the airport everyone was weighted and asked if there was anyone they had/wanted to fly with, then everyone was assigned to a helicopter and pilot. And then we waited, our group had 6-8 helicopters so it did take a little while to call all the groups and load them up.  My helicopter was one of the last to depart.

We flew into the canyon, flew for a bit and landed. Our landing area reminded me a bit of a scene from M*A*S*H.  Our lunch/bunch consisted of sandwiches, chips, soda, water, and champagne.  Lunch felt a little bit rushed being the last helicopter, it might have been in my head, but I felt like the earlier groups might have had a big more time.  Either way we had enough time to eat and take photos, about a half hour.


 Then we boarded up and flew back home, the good thing about being the last helicopter was that we were able to watch all the other helicopters take off from inside the Grand Canyon, made for some great photos.

Overall this was a great tour, and I highly recommend a helicopter tour to anyone who is visiting Vegas and wants to see the Grand Canyon with limited hassle.  The question is did I prefer a tour where I saw The Strip instead of the lunch?  Well, they’re both very different things and both were cool. If you’re more of a nature person, then lunch in the Grand Canyon might be better.  If you like the bright lights and big city, or just the overhead view of a city – then the fly over the The Strip is the way to go.

Feb 05

Youtube is your friend…

Once deciding to take the cruise on the Pride of America it was time to start thinking about what to do on the cruise. I printed out a copy of all 8,000 excursions they offer and my brain almost exploded. I read some of it, but it just wouldn’t stick so I bought a guide book – Hawaii By Cruise Ship. The book is pretty good for someone taking a cruise. It gives an overview of cruising, the options in Hawaii and general info on Hawaii. It also breaks down the islands and the things to do on each. But the book only spent a little time on places to eat and hotels, which is fine for my purposes.

But after getting a feel for each island I was still left wondering, which island should we take a Heli Tour on? The first island I read about was Kauai and the Heli tour there sounded amazing. But, wouldn’t a helicopter be a great way to see an active volcano? Isn’t that what all the cool people do? I did some more research online and it sounded like Kauai was the place to do it, but I still wasn’t sure. I decided to try Youtube.com. Someone must have a video on their heli tours – and yes, they do. The ones from Kauai were amazing – Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali coast are GORGEOUS! The ones of the Kilauea on the Big Island just were not all that exciting. A little red lava oozing out just did not look like what I pictured all the cool people doing. So, with a hesitant Tara in tow I will be doing the Heli tour over Kauai.