Sometimes flying over skyscrapers, waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes is exceedingly more rewarding than experiencing them from ground level.
With helicopter flights becoming more accessible (and slightly more affordable), it’s getting easier to catch extreme aerial views of your vacation spot. Because there are just some sites throughout the world that you can’t fully appreciate with your feet on the ground. Here are 12 locations around the world that are definitely worthy of you getting in the backseat of a helicopter.
GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA
Who wants to experience the Grand Canyon from way down below when you can see one of America’s greatest landmarks from a helicopter? On some tours, you’ll be able to see everything from the forested North Rim to the slightly terrifying Dragon Corridor within an hour. Check out Papillon if you need somewhere to start.
AMALFI COAST, ITALY
You can’t look at the picturesque Amalfi Coast and not want to circle over it in a helicopter. The stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula is dotted with villas, vineyards and lemon groves, perfect for sightseeing from the clouds.
I’ve already gushed about how surprisingly cheap it is to get to Juneau, one of Alaska’s coolest towns. So it’s no surprise that the mountain town, complete with the famous Mendenhall Glacier and several gorgeous lakes, is a bomb place for a helicopter tour.
BIG ISLAND, HAWAII
You should definitely invest in an hour helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian, the only company serving sweet trips to all four major Islands. Besides the fact that you can get really close to volcanoes without the fear of being melted by lava, who doesn’t want to fly to Kauai or Maui for the day?
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
It’s Rio — of course it’s going to look that much better from the sky. And the best part about flying around the beaches is that you don’t have to be inundated with men’s speedos.
Sometimes the best way to experience a bustling city like Tokyo is from above. With its super futuristic skyscrapers and buildings and all of its up-and-coming neighborhoods, Tokyo would make a great place for a helicopter tour.
COLUMBIA MOUNTAINS, CANADA
Summer days are best spent in this mountain range in southeastern British Columbia, especially from above. Want to do some extreme heli-skiing or get dropped off to do some hiking? Canadian Mountain Holidays offers both and will take you to remote locations you can’t get to without their expertise.
TURKS AND CAICOS, BRITISH OVERSEAS TERRITORY
If flying around in a helicopter over snowy mountains doesn’t sound appealing, seeing turquoise water for hundreds of miles from above in the Turks and Caicos might do it. You can jet from island to island as you fly over palm trees and white sand beaches.
LAIKIPIA PLATEAU, KENYA
As if going on a safari in Kenya isn’t cool enough, you can hop on a ‘copter flight with Original Travel and fly across the savannah. They even offer tours around Mt. Kenya and Mt. Ol Lolokwe, two of Kenya’s most stunning mountains.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
This is one helicopter ride I can actually vouch for from personal experience. Take a ride on Maverick Helicopters if you find yourself in Vegas and want to blow some blackjack money. And uh, if you need a quick way to get to EDC Las Vegas at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, this is quite the extravagant and ravey way to do it.
GREAT BARRIER REEF, AUSTRALIA
Considering one of the Seven Wonders of the World is starting to actually disappear, now would be a good time to get a ridiculous helicopter flight over the stunning oceanic ecosystem. If you can see something all the way from outer space, it’s probably worth getting an aerial view of it.
FOX GLACIER, NEW ZEALAND
Take a ride with Glacier Helicopters over Fox Glacier, one of New Zealand’s stunning attractions. There are even guided, extreme heli-hikes that let you forge your own sort of trail.