-by Susan Bissonnette
ouring the Grand Canyon is a great way to celebrate the Christmas holiday season, but you need to start planning now. Whether you tour by helicopter, bus, or airplane, visiting the Grand Canyon is an adventure you’ll always remember.
The North Rim closes for the winter, reopening in March. But you still have to rims to choose from. The West Rim or the South Rim. For these tours, you’ll need to decide if you’d like to begin your tour at the South Rim or in Las Vegas.
Tours out of Vegas go to the West or the South Rim. However, when you are at the South Rim, you can only visit the South Rim.
Beginning your tour in Vegas has its benefits, because that way, you have the most tour options. You’ll find a variety of tours by bus, chopper, or airplane. However, the only tours that operate on Christmas day itself are the airplane tours.
Helicopter tours originating in Las Vegas head only to the West Rim, because the South Rim is too far from the city. The choppers that go to the West Rim can land on top of the rim and on the canyon floor. One of the more popular tours is the one that flies to the canyon floor where you enjoy a champagne picnic before taking a raft ride on the Colorado River.
Helicopter sightseeing packages from Vegas come in basic and deluxe packages. The basic tours take off from Boulder City, which is about thirty minutes outside of Vegas. Deluxe packages include a limousine service and begin in The Strip. These tours will also give you a view of The Strip on your way back from the Canyon.
When you tour the South Rim, you’ll have the chance to decide between a half hour flight and a 50 minute one. The short trip covers many interesting landmarks such as the Dragoon Corridor. The longer tour does cost a little more, but you get a lot more air time, and you are treated to many fantastic views including the Dragoon Corridor.
The airplane tours follow the same flight paths as the helicopter tours, they just fly at a higher altitude. This is best for people on a tight budget. There is a tour where you take a plane, fly to the West Rim, take a helicopter ride to the bottom, and have a ticket for the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
The airplanes that fly out of Vegas can tour the South Rim too, and these are great opportunities for sightseeing. You can upgrade your plane tour to include a 2 1/2 hour bus tour of the Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim. You can also add on a helicopter tour if you want some added adventure and sightseeing.
You can also find a South Rim flight that mimics the 50 minute tour by helicopter. It leaves from the local airport in Tusayan. Airplane tours are also a great option if you’ll be traveling with a larger group, since it will be hard to find seats for everyone on the same chopper.
Touring By Bus
Finally, your bus tours from Vegas to the South and West Rims. Grand Canyon bus tours are the most affordable way to see this wonder of nature. They depart early in the morning from the Vegas Strip and last all day, because they include many fun things to do. It will probably be after 9 pm before you return, so you won’t want to schedule dinner and show plans for the same evening.
Fly Grand Canyon this winter! The author is an expert on the National Park and advises these terrific airplane tours and these awesome heli rides: http://www.grandcanyoncheap.com/helicopter-deals.html
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Image Source: “GrandCanyonWinter2008″ by Pescaiolo. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
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