9 Destinations Best Explored Via Helicopter

See recent posts by Stefanie Waldek

While it’s wonderful to fully immerse yourself in nature via a hike, you can have a full different experience with a landscape via a helicopter tour. Until you’re up in the air, it’s difficult to truly understand how vast nature is. And the benefits to a helicopter tour aren’t just for nature -- it’s incredible to look down upon the urban sprawl, too. Here are nine destinations that are prime spots to take a helicopter tour.

1. Hawaii

The king of all helicopter destinations, Hawaii’s unspoiled paradise is the perfect landscape to see from above. Whether you’re looking to get a close-up view of its active volcanoes, it’s jaw-dropping waterfalls, or its lush jungle landscape, a helicopter tour will bring you right to the sights so you don’t have to hike through the wilderness.

Where to Stay in Hawaii:

2. Mount Everest


Though you can’t get a ride to the summit — the air is too thin to support a helicopter’s blades — you can still be choppered around the mountain for amazing views, without the mountain climbing. It’s sure faster than a 20-day trek to base camp, though visitors should note they likely won’t be able to land on Everest.

3. Grand Canyon

One of the most popular helicopter sightseeing destinations in the continental U.S., the Grand Canyon has localized tours that take off from nearby locations in Arizona, but also tours that originate in Las Vegas, which make for an interesting day trip!

Where to Stay at the Grand Canyon:

4. Faroe Islands


Helicopters aren’t just for tours here — they’re actually used by residents to get from island to island, as some, like the picturesque Mykines, are only accessible via ferry or helicopter. Tourists are able to hitch a ride, too, if there’s extra space on these daily shuttles. It’s a lovely way to see these mountainous islands in the North Atlantic.

5. New York City

Times Square/Oyster

Though most destinations on this list feature natural landscapes, cities also make for a fun helicopter tour. It’s not often you can see an entire city from above — your typical bird’s-eye view is limited to the tops of skyscrapers. But helicopters can get even higher, plus, you can tour different parts of the city. Other cities with popular helicopter tours include Chicago and Tokyo.

Where to Stay in NYC:

6. Victoria Falls


Sitting between Zambia and Zimbabwe is the world’s largest waterfall — Victoria Falls. While some of its features should be enjoyed on the ground (Devil’s Pool, for instance), its vastness is best experienced from above.

Where to Stay Nearby:

7. Okavango Delta

Botswana’s Okavango Delta has an incredible array of wildlife, and while safaris are typically taken on the ground, a bird’s-eye view might be helpful when observing large herds.

Where to Stay Nearby:

8. Great Barrier Reef


If scuba diving isn’t your thing, you can always take a helicopter tour of the Great Barrier Reef to experience its massive size. Helicopters are a great way to get to a more remote site to snorkel or dive, too.

Where to Stay in Cairns, Located Nearby:

9. Alaska


While cruising is a popular option for touring Alaska’s shores, get up close and personal with icebergs, mountains, lakes, more via a helicopter. Some helicopter tours even including landings on glaciers, and others are combined with dog sled tours.

Where to Stay in Juneau:

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