Best Scenic Plane Tours – 2017
1) Grand Canyon Plane Tours
It’s no wonder that the staggering size of the Grand Canyon demands a higher perch to view. Scenic Plane tours to the Grand Canyon vary from small planes to helicopters, depending on what you want to see, and how deep into the canyon you want to go. Some of the most notable landmarks worth sight seeing from an arial perspective include the Painted Desert of badlands, and Petrified Forest National Park, where you’ll find Imperial Point, the highest spire in the Grand Canyon. You’ll also find breathtaking Horseshoe Bend in Grand Canyon’s East Rim (pictured here). Regardless of how you get to higher ground, the Grand Canyon is definitely worth seeing from above.
Photo Credit: Christian Mehlführer (Source)
2) Alaskan Plane Tours
The options are endless in Alaska, whether you want to see Glaciers or wildlife. Each region and each season offers unique ways to observe whatever you want to see from the skies. Do your homework, you could spend days in the air and still not be able to take it all in. Popular cities and landmarks with plenty to observe include Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, as well as the Inside Passage, wildlife at Icy Straight Point, and all of Denali National Park.
Photo Credit: Talkeetna Aire (Source)
3) Hawaii Volcano Plane Tours
This tour is pretty specific, and totally depends on what is happening that day, but the active volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii is a sight to behold. Sure, you can hike out there and hope you don’t step into moving surface lava, but a much safer vantage point is from the skies. Helicopters are preferred as they can move slower, lower, and closer to the action, but it’s hard to go wrong touring the island from the air.
Photo Credit: TheBrockenInaGlory (Source)
4) Iceland Plane Tours
Don’t let the name fool you, Iceland is more than just ice. It’s known for being a place where glaciers and volcanoes converge, creating all kinds of interesting activity to observe with a scenic plane tour. Jokulsarlon or “glacial river lagoon” is a glacial lake filled with icebergs of various sizes that wraps around the glacier and flows into the ocean. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal body of naturally steaming water, famous as a natural outdoor spa. Multiple massive waterfalls, naturally occurring geysers, and active volcanoes should be plenty to draw you to Iceland’s beauty.
Photo Credit: Tillea (Source)
5) New York Plane Tours
Sure, you can see everything from the ground, or riding an elevator up 102 floors, but seeing the Empire State Building from King Kong’s view, or looking the Statue of Liberty in the face is an experience you’ll remember forever. Some of the favorites to get a bird’s eye view of include Central Park, Belvedere Castle, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, Governors Island, and so much in between.
Photo Credit: Yolirapp (Source)
6) Victoria BC Plane Tours
Whether you’re flying over from Vancouver, or taking an actual scenic tour of the island, there is so much beauty to take in around Victoria. Get an arial view of the famous Butchart Gardens, the architecture of the Empress Hotel, Craigdarroch Castle, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Fisherman’s Warf, and doc in Victoria’s Harbour with all the other cool sea planes bringing guests to and from the island.
Photo Credit: Randy Chambers (Source)
7) Australian Plane Tours
There is so much to see, you better know what you are interested in ahead of time. Plane tours last from hours to several days depending on where you want to go. Imagine hopping over to Kangaroo Island for a few days, visitng Admiral’s Arch, then coasting over Flinders Ranges, the 12 Apostles, Uluru, and Bungle Bungle. That’s just the beginning…
Photo Credit: Leonard Koh (Source)
8) Nazca Lines Plane Tours
There is only one way to observe the Nazca Lines of Nazca, Peru, and that’s from the skies. Fly over Paracas Reserve, Haucachina Oasis, Palpa and Nazca Lines, and observe the fascinating historical patterns that remain unexplained by scientists and archaeologists to this day.
Photo Credit: Diego Delso (Source)
9) African Plane Tours
There is so much to take in across the plains of Africa, and so many ways to do it. Are you a pilot? You can join a small air fleet and guided tour with a lead Pilot Plane, or you can charter your own adventure tailored to what you want to see the most. Famous landmarks worth visiting include Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls, The Ancient Pyramids of Egypt, The Great Sphinx in Giza, Timbuktu, and “The Big Hole” aka the Kimberley Diamond Mine.
Photo Credit: Zicaso (Source)
10) Mt. Everest Plane Tours
Find yourself on top of the world on a scenic plane tour over Mount Everest. Get eye-popping views of the Himalayas, including Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and more. Travel in small groups for a more intimate experience.
Photo Credit: The Top Ten Site (Source)
Scenic Plane Tour Guide 2017
Helicopters vs Planes or Seaplanes vs Classic Biplanes vs Hot Air Balloons
Rule of thumb:
- Helicopters can get slow, low, and close
- Seaplanes and planes are less expensive and quieter
- Biplanes are just cool if you’re a party of one
- Sky combat http://www.skycombatace.com/experiences/#aerobatics
- Hot air balloons are quiet
Key Factors for Selecting a Scenic Plane Tour
Animals – Season, wake cycles, eating habits, migration patterns, time of day/year matters
Landmarks – Season (is it covered in snow?), weather, location
Lava – Is it flowing? Where is it flowing to?
Geysers – Are they geysering?
Bodies of water – Pay close attention to season and of course, weather
Minutes or days? – Do you want to take a 45 min tour or a 3 day adventure?
Adventure/Experience – is it more about being in the plane, what you want to do in the plane?