Here’s my suggestion for you if you find yourself in Vegas and you hit the jackpot: don’t spend your winnings on the jewelry stores that flank the casinos. Go make a call and reserve a helicopter ride along the Las Vegas Strip, Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. The jewelry can wait.
I was treated to a helicopter ride by Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours and loved it from the very minute I stepped into the black stretch limousine that carried me to the airport. I mean, who wouldn’t?
After a short safety video, we boarded the helicopters and I found myself in the front seat next to Brandon, my pilot. He explained how to use the headsets and microphones and we set out across the desert, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and into the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Along the way he pointed out things we might not have otherwise noticed: a swanky community outside of the city where a number of celebrities own houses. He showed us which parts of the land were owned by the Native Americans and then we landed at the small helipad they own where we stepped off of the helicopter to re-fuel.
Once we re-boarded I mentioned to Brandon that I would be writing about the tour and we started talking about travel. He suggested other places in Vegas I should see (if only I had time!) and he pointed out things we could see from the helicopter that I might have otherwise missed: cattle grazing on Native land. The Nellis Air Force Base. A Wheel-of-Fortune painted into the desert floor near an old mine.
He suggested I visit Red Rock Canyon, which was a little too far out of his radius to travel, but flew over the red rock formations that he could: The Bull and The Valley of Fire. He said that the producers of “Total Recall” had thought to shoot parts of the movie in the Valley of Fire outside Las Vegas. My son would have loved it.
All in all, it was an incredible tour of natural wonders: the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead and the massive accomplishment that is Hoover Dam. We could see everything from the glass-sided C150 helicopter as it flew 150 mph across Nevada and into Arizona. This particular tour cost upwards of $389, but once you learned that the helicopter itself cost $3.2 million, you understand what a big deal it is to view the desert and Grand Canyon this way.
And who doesn’t love a bird’s eye view of the iconic Las Vegas Strip?
I want to thank Papillon Travel and Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours for arranging such a fantastic tour. I feel like I hit the jackpot!
If you hit it big in Las Vegas, what would you spend your winnings on?
Perfect jackpot-hitting! 🙂 Thanks for providing detailed info about the ride. This will help when we will plan for a trip to Vegas. Have a wonderful weekend.
Yes, definitely include this! And ask your pilot lots of questions. Let him show you what he knows. After all, he’s viewed the terrain hundreds of times.
Fun thing to do, Juliann! Our son Tony flew helicopters for Papillon out of the South Rim for a brief time and took us on a couple of tours— beautiful. Also Red Rock is close to Las Vegas, a short 30-45 minute drive and gorgeous, well worth the break from glitter. The Valley of Fire is further away but equally worth the trip. Good recommendations. –Curt
This is when I shake my head at what bad planning I did. I hate to miss out on great sites like the Red Rock formations. Just means I’ll have to go back!
That’s a good thing, Jamie. It is always great to have a list of things to go back and catch up on, or revisit for that matter. Never gets boring. –Curt
Looks breathtaking! I’m a little skittish about helicopters so I think I would only go in one if I absolutely had to. The nature all around Vegas is not something people think about, but having spent most of my younger life visiting often, I explored some of the hiking trails that many people don’t know exist.
Lovely way to see everything, I’m sure!
Yes, it was a great view of the nature surrounding Las Vegas. Helicopter rides are so smooth. Actually very relaxing. I have been on a military helicopter with the open door inches away from my body. That was a little nerve-wracking, but this type of touring helicopter is much less scary.
My Mum did a flight over the Grand Canyon in a light aircraft. Loved it even though the weather was marginal for flying and her fellow passengers were petrified (as I would be).
I’d happily give 90% of my winnings to deserved charities, much to my children’s outrage I suppose 🙂
At the very least, your children might say that charity begins at home. 🙂
That looks like a lot of fun. I can’t help wondering why someone would paint a Wheel-of-fortune in the middle of nowhere, though.
Yes. I wondered, too. Maybe they hit the jackpot on a Wheel-of-Fortune game and decided this was what they wanted to blow their fortune on?
This is great! I would definitely spend it on the Helicopter tour! I am planning a Christmas trip to Vegas and your post helps.
Oh, I hope you get to do this! It’s an incredible experience.
For years, I’ve visited Vegas 3-4 times a year and although I’ve stayed at a majority of the strip hotels and I’ve seen most of the shows, I’ve never done the helicopter tour. My husband and I always say we’re going to do it, but the cost just keeps us from pulling the trigger. Your review has made me determined to do it on the next visit. Life is too short! I also love the Wheel of Fortune in the desert, how cool!
Definitely do it! Something new and an experience like no other. Hope you love it!