The Memorial Day holiday kicks off the summer travel season, so it’s time to start planning a fun trip. Going to Vegas is always a fun idea, but you can make the trip even more memorable by taking a side trip to the Grand Canyon, but you need to buy your tour tickets soon.

Canyon Helicopter Tours

Helicopter tours of the West Rim depart from Vegas and the tours of the South Rim depart from Tusayan, AZ. If you go to the West Rim, you can book a landing tour that sets down on top of the rim or on the Canyon floor, but if you go to the South Rim, you’ll have to take an air-only tour since helicopters are not allowed to land at the Canyon in that part of the National Park.

When you fly out from Vegas, the sightseeing starts before you even reach the Grand Canyon. The helicopter route will take you over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, both of which are spectacles that you really need to see from the air. If you choose an air only tour, you will perform a scenic flyover of the Canyon before heading back to Vegas. If you choose to land, then you will have even more adventure waiting for you.

I recommend landing tours at the West Rim, because they allow you to take in much more of the area. There’s a landing tour that goes inside of the Grand Canyon, setting you down for a Champagne picnic. If you’re up for it, you can even book a boat tour along the Colorado River. At the top of the Canyon, you could take a number of hiking trails, or even step out on the impressive glass bottomed Skywalk, which is 4000ft above the bottom of the Canyon.

The South Rim has two helicopters on tour. The first is a 30 minute tour that goes to the North Rim and back again. However, I recommend the 50 minute tour, because for a small increase in price, you will go to the North Rim, and all the way out to the eastern boundary of the National Park. Both of these tours go through the Dragoon Corridor, which is a sprawling wide and deep section of the Canyon, and is the largest area of its kind within the National Park.

Canyon Airplane Tours

If you want to save some money, you can take an airplane tour instead. They fly along the same flight path as the helicopters, the only difference is that the airplanes fly at a higher altitude. You won’t get to hover in the air when you tour by airplane, but you’ll still get great views because the windows are huge and the wings are mounted on top of the airplane so they are out of the way.

The airplanes can land at the Canyon too, so you can take a landing tour when you fly by plane, however, your airplane has to land on top of the rim. You can do all the same things as you would with a helicopter tour including touring the Skywalk and taking a helicopter descent to the bottom of the Canyon.

The South Rim airplane tour follows the longer route that includes 75% of the National Park. This is the exact same route that the 50 minute helicopter journey takes. Although you’re flying higher in an airplane, tickets are much cheaper than helicopter tours, and planes also seat more passengers so they might be more suitable if you have a larger group.


Tickets are selling out fast, so you will need to make sure you book soon. Don’t book any later than 24 hours before the day you want to fly, and in my opinion, it’s best to book at least two weeks in advance. Book online and you will get the best prices, and using your credit card you can ensure that your seats are secured for when you arrive in Las Vegas.

There are many tour options you can choose from when you’re ready to book your tour, and that makes it easy to find something you’ll like at a price you can afford. So reserve your seats now and you’ll be set for your scenic and exhilarating Memorial Day tour of one of America’s most loved National Parks.

Grand Canyon National Park professional Erik Magnus suggests getting this free report since it can help you save lots of cash on these amazing plane and chopper excursions from Vegas and South Rim: