Do you want to come up with something amazing for this year’s Mother’s Day? Well, here’s a suggestion: take your Mom on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. The choppers are flying on their normal schedules and you can visit either rim. That being said, wouldn’t the West Rim flight that lands on the bottom and includes champagne brunch be nice for this special day?
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12. You might think you still have plenty of time to reserve your seats on one of these tours, but in reality you don’t. Grand Canyon helicopter tours are always popular, but especially on holidays. They’ll sell out fast, so book as soon as you can.
I always suggest that travelers book their tours at least a week ahead, but two weeks is even better. There are several benefits of booking in advance:
1. More tours and flight times from which to choose;
2. A lower rate;
3. And, If you’re traveling with other folks, you’ll be able to get everyone a seat.
Because choppers only hold six passengers, book well ahead so your group can all fly in the same aircraft (your Mom wouldn’t want to be with strangers instead of her family!). Plus, the flight time you pick is important. I suggest morning departures because that’s when the visibility is best and the air is less turbulent.
Grand Canyon helicopter tours take off from two locations: Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCA) at Tusayan, Arizona (flights to the South Rim), and Las Vegas, Nevada (flights to the West Rim or the South). Which rim you choose depends on what Mom’s into. If she loves seeing spectacular natural beauty, take her to the South Rim. If she’s more into adventure and excitement, head for the West.
South Rim Tours
Travelers coming from Phoenix, Sedona, Scottsdale and other AZ locations should drive to GCA (it’s a scenic route). Once you’re there, you can take a 30-minute flight from the South Rim to the North Rim and back, or you can take a longer, 50-minute version. The longer flight includes everything in the shorter tour but also goes all the way to the eastern boundary of the National Park.
Important Note: If you’ll be based in Vegas but want a South Rim helicopter tour, you’ll have to jump through an extra hoop. Because the South Rim is outside the range of choppers from Vegas, you’d need to take a plane to GCA and then board your ‘copter there.
West Rim Tours
Remember the landing flight I mentioned earlier, the tour that includes champagne brunch at the bottom of the canyon? Well, those particular helicopter tours only happen at the West Rim (South Rim regulations prohibit landings on the canyon floor), so only Vegas-based travelers can take one. Along the way, your flight will pass over scenic Lake Mead and majestic Hoover Dam. After arriving at the canyon, you’ll fly 4,000 feet down to the bottom, where you’ll enjoy brunch and explore on foot.
The other West Rim tour that I think would be great for Mother’s Day includes VIP access to the fabulous Grand Canyon Skywalk (the “Glass Bridge”). Imagine the thrill on your Mom’s face as she’s standing 70 feet past the rim’s edge with the bottom 4,000 feet straight below!
A helicopter tour would be a terrific way to celebrate your Mom’s special day. But whatever you do, don’t scrimp. If you’ll be flying from Vegas to the West Rim, I suggest booking the champagne brunch landing tour. If you’ll be visiting the South Rim, book a tour that uses an EcoStar 130 helicopter. This particular aircraft is one of the best for sightseeing and it’s comfortable, too. Either way, your Mom will remember the day for a long time to come!
Tips from the Author
Travel expert Justine M. recommends using these resources when booking Mother's Day helicopter tours: