Fly Above the Sunshine State: The Ultimate Guide to Florida Helicopter Tours 2024
By James | Last updated January 3, 2024
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If you’re looking for a unique and thrilling way to experience Florida’s natural beauty and attractions, then a helicopter tour is the perfect way to do it.
These tours provide breathtaking views and an unparalleled sense of freedom and adventure. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of helicopter tours in Florida and why they’re becoming increasingly popular among tourists and locals alike.
Helicopter tours have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to experience a location from a different perspective. They offer a bird’s eye view of the landscape, providing a memorable experience.
Florida is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, including stunning coastlines, lush forests and crystal-clear waters.
Viator offers nearly 30 different helicopter tours in Florida, in places like Orlando, Miami, Tampa and St. Augustine. You can reserve your tour today and then pay when you are ready. On many tours, you can even cancel for free up to 24 hours before the tour starts.
Why not book your helicopter tour today (opens in a new window)?
Throughout the flight, many of the pilots will act as your guide, providing a commentary on the sights as you pass them by.
Benefits of Helicopter Tours in Florida
Helicopters typically fly between 80 and 130 mph so you can cover a lot of ground in a relatively short time and because you are only a few hundred feet off the ground you can see a lot of detail. Over built-up areas, you can expect to fly a bit higher, typically around 1,000 feet.
Helicopter tours offer unparalleled views of Florida’s landscape and attractions including fantastic birds-eye views of the theme parks like Walt Disney World.
From high above, you can see the coastline, forests and waterways you might otherwise miss from the ground. You’ll also get to see landmarks and attractions from a unique viewpoint, providing a new appreciation for their beauty.
Flying over the crystal clear water you can see the marine life and coral reefs and might even spot a manatee or a shark. If flying away from the coast, look out for alligators or even crocodiles. Some tours take you over natural wonders in the Everglades and the Florida Keys, which are difficult to access by car or by foot.
A helicopter tour is a great idea for family celebrations like a birthday. You can even use the opportunity to make a marriage proposal often with champagne onboard or for things like a baby gender reveal. The sky is the limit!
Helicopter tours in Florida provide a comfortable and safe experience for passengers. The helicopters used for tours are modern, well-maintained and staffed by experienced pilots.
Finally, helicopter tours provide an opportunity for unique photo opportunities. You’ll have a chance to capture stunning aerial shots of Florida’s landscape, landmarks and attractions. These photos will provide lasting memories of your helicopter tour adventure.
Types of Helicopter Tour
Florida is home to a wide range of helicopter tour options, ranging from scenic tours of its beautiful beaches and coastlines to city tours that showcase the hustle and bustle of its many vibrant cities.
Florida is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world and there’s no better way to experience them than from the sky which makes scenic tours so popular.
Popular locations for scenic helicopter tours in Florida include the Everglades, the Florida Keys and the Gulf Coast.
On a scenic helicopter tour, you will get a bird’s eye view of the state’s most famous landmarks and natural attractions from crystal-clear waters to lush green forests and see the beauty of the coastline like never before.
Scenic tours generally last between 20 and 60 minutes, depending on the route.
The best time to take a scenic helicopter tour in Florida is during the winter months, from December to March when the weather is cooler and the skies are clearer, making it easier to see the beauty of the state’s natural scenery.
City helicopter tours offer a unique way to explore Florida’s bustling cities from above. Popular cities for helicopter tours include Miami, Orlando, Tampa and St Augustine.
On a city helicopter tour, you’ll see the iconic landmarks of Florida’s cities from a new perspective. You’ll fly over famous buildings, bustling downtown areas and get a panoramic view of the city’s architecture.
City tours usually last between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the route.
The best time to take a city helicopter tour in Florida is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the light is softer and the shadows are longer, making it easier to see the city’s landmarks and attractions.
Theme Park Tours
On a theme park helicopter tour, you’ll get a unique perspective on Florida’s most famous theme parks. You’ll fly over the parks and see the rides, attractions and crowds from a new angle.
Theme park tours usually last between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the park.
The best time to take a theme park helicopter tour in Florida is early in the morning before the crowds arrive or late in the afternoon after the crowds have started to thin out.
Sunset helicopter tours offer a unique way to experience Florida’s stunning sunsets from the sky. Popular locations for sunset helicopter tours include the Gulf Coast, the Florida Keys and Miami.
On a sunset helicopter tour, you’ll see the beauty of Florida’s sunsets like never before. You’ll fly over the coastlines and see the colours of the sky change as the sun sets.
Sunset tours usually last between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the location.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in Florida, helicopter tours are an excellent choice.
With stunning views of the coastline, cities and wildlife, a helicopter tour provides a unique perspective that other forms of transportation can’t match. And when it comes to helicopter tours, a sunset tour is especially magical, it is never the same two nights running.
Because sunset tours are so popular, booking your tour in advance is best. This way, you can ensure that you get the date and time that works best for you.
Don’t forget to bring a camera or smartphone as you will want to capture the breathtaking views of the sunset.
If you are celebrating a birthday, an anniversary or planning to pop the big question, then a helicopter ride can be a great opportunity. Many operators can customise the flight to your requirements if you are looking for something a bit special.
Like all flights, weather can have an impact so flights may have to be cancelled because of inclement weather. Many helicopter operators do not require a reservation but if you want to do something special or want a sunrise or sunset tour, it makes sense to make a reservation to guarantee your flight time.
Sunrises and sunsets over the ocean can be the most memorable and make for a very romantic occasion.
And don’t forget to take your camera or mobile phone with you!
Helicopter Tour Destinations
Florida is a state that is famous for its sunny beaches, warm weather and diverse landscapes. From Orlando’s theme parks to Miami’s dazzling nightlife, there is no shortage of attractions and entertainment that draw visitors from all over the world.
However, one of the best ways to experience the beauty of Florida is from the air, by taking a helicopter tour.
Orlando is known as the theme park capital of the world and for good reason. The city is home to some of the most famous theme parks in the world, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
However that is not all there is to see, Orlando is also home to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Florida, such as Lake Eola and the Kissimmee River.
By taking a helicopter tour, you can get a bird’s eye view of these attractions and more. The tour will typically take you over the theme parks, the downtown area and other scenic spots, giving you a unique perspective of the city.
Because of a helicopter’s ability to take off from a restricted space, there are many companies offering helicopter rides and tours close to Florida’s main tourist attractions and you will often see a helicopter parked at the side of the road as you drive through a tourist area.
Read our guide to Orlando helicopter tours
Miami is a city that is famous for its vibrant nightlife, stunning beaches and unique architecture. From the iconic Art Deco buildings in South Beach to the colourful street art in Wynwood, there is plenty to see in Miami.
By taking a helicopter tour, you can get a stunning view of Miami’s skyline and the beautiful beaches that line the coast.
The tour will typically take you over South Beach, downtown Miami and other popular attractions like the Miami Seaquarium.
Key West Tours
Key West is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and laid-back vibe.
By taking a helicopter tour, you can get a breathtaking view of the islands and the surrounding waters. The tour will typically take you over the historic Old Town district, the southernmost point marker and other scenic spots like the Seven Mile Bridge.
The Everglades is a unique ecosystem that is home to a variety of wildlife including alligators, panthers and manatees.
By taking a helicopter tour, you can get a bird’s eye view of this natural wonderland. The tour will typically take you over the vast wetlands, giving you a unique perspective of this unique ecosystem.
Visitors may also get the chance to see some of the wildlife that calls the Everglades home.
Helicopter Tour Prices
The price of a tour can vary depending on several factors, including the length of the tour, the type of helicopter used and the location.
Prices can start from as little as $15 to $20 per person but bear in mind that for that price it will be over in the blink of an eye!
Expect to pay around $20 to $30 for a typical 3 to 4-minute introductory or “experience” flight. For this price you are unlikely to travel very far so may not see much of any interest apart from the experience of flying in a helicopter.
Helicopters are expensive to run compared to fixed-wing aeroplanes, costing hundreds of dollars per hour so the longer the flight time, the more you can expect to pay. Generally an aeroplane tour will cost about half the price of an equivalent helicopter tour.
For around $65 per person you can expect a tour lasting around 8 to 10 minutes, $125 for around 15 to 20 minutes and between $150 and $300 per person for a 30-minute tour.
Longer tours, such as a 60-minute tour, can range from $300 up to as much as $600 per person. Some companies offer personalised custom tours but expect to pay more for them.
If there is a particular attraction or sight you wish to see from the air, then try to choose a heliport as close as you can to the area in question to avoid longer transit times.
The cost of a Florida helicopter tour can also vary by location, for example Miami is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florida and its helicopter tours reflect that. You can expect to pay between $195 and $345 per person for a 30-minute tour. Longer tours, such as a 45-minute tour, can range from $295 to $445 per person.
A helicopter tour of Key West is typically going to be more expensive with prices for a 30-minute tour ranging from $250 to $299 per person.
Orlando is another popular destination for helicopter tours but there is stiff competition so prices are slightly lower with a 30-minute tour typically in the range from $175 to $225 per person.
There is no age limit on flying though this varies by operator. Children under 2 years old can often travel for free if sitting on a parent’s lap but be aware that helicopters can be quite noisy (though not as noisy as an airboat). Children of 2 years and upwards are expected to sit in their own belted seat but children up to the age of 11 may be offered a child price.
All operators have a minimum number of passengers for each flight typically depending upon the size of the helicopter, the larger the helicopter the larger the minimum number requirement. Some operate shared flights where you may have to share with another party whilst others only offer private parties.
When looking at prices note that some operators quote on a per person basis whilst others quote for a group of say two or three guests.
As with any tour, there is local sales tax to pay on top of the advertised price and a gratuity is generally expected and always welcome.
Florida Helicopter Tour Types
Operators in Florida use a variety of helicopter types ranging from the two-seat Robinson R22 to the seven-seater Bell Long Ranger 206L. Remember in all cases, one seat is occupied by the pilot so bear that in mind when considering how many seats you need for your party.
Nowadays, most companies are flying the Robinson R44 with a cruising speed of around 110 mph and seating up to three passengers. The R44 is known for its smooth ride and excellent visibility, making it a great option for sightseeing.
Robinson also has their slightly larger R66 which is a five-seat helicopter so it can carry a family of four. With both types, one passenger will sit next to the pilot in the front with the remaining passengers in the back on the second row of seats.
This means that invariably you will have a window seat with a great view through the large windows though on the larger R66 you may end up in the centre seat in the rear of the cockpit.
The benefit of flying in the R66 is firstly it is air-conditioned plus it can take a family of four, otherwise you would have to split your party between multiple flights.
Some of the larger helicopters in service include the Eurocopter H125 ASTAR 350B2 which typically takes five passengers with one in the front and four in the back. The Bell Long Ranger 206L takes six passengers, one in the front with the pilot, two in the second row (rear facing) and three in the back row.
Both these helicopters are great for longer tours and larger families or groups.
Weight plays an important part in helicopter operations so you will need to quote your weight when booking a flight and bear in mind that there will be a maximum all-up weight for the whole group of passengers. Passenger weight may dictate where you sit in the helicopter.
As an example, a Robinson R44 will typically have a combined weight limit of 550 to 600 pounds for three passengers.
If you weigh over 250 or 300 pounds you may not be able to fly.
Helicopter Tour Tips
Choosing the right helicopter tour can be overwhelming, given the numerous options available.
Consider the Length of the Tour
When selecting a helicopter tour, it’s essential to consider the length of the tour. Helicopter tours typically range from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the itinerary and budget.
Short tours may only cover a specific landmark or attraction, while longer tours provide a more comprehensive experience. If you have limited time, a shorter tour may be ideal. However, if you want to explore more areas, a longer tour is the way to go.
Research the Helicopter Tour Company’s Safety Record
Safety should be a top priority when choosing a helicopter tour company. You want to ensure that the company you choose has an excellent safety record and follows all the necessary safety regulations. Research the company’s safety records and certifications before booking a tour. Read reviews from previous customers to get a sense of their experience with the company.
Check the Weather Forecast Before Booking
The weather can significantly affect your helicopter tour experience. Bad weather can lead to flight delays or cancellations, which can be disappointing. Check the weather forecast before booking a tour to ensure that the weather is suitable for flying.
If the weather forecast is uncertain, consider booking your tour for a different day.
Look for Package Deals That May Include Other Activities or Attractions
Many helicopter tour companies offer package deals that include other activities or attractions. For example, some packages may include a helicopter tour, a boat tour, or admission to a theme park. Package deals may be an excellent way to combine more than one activity.
Preparation for a Helicopter Tour
Before you take to the skies, though, it’s important to prepare for your adventure. Here’s what you need to know.
It’s advisable to book your tour in advance, as availability may be limited. Additionally, be sure to check the weather forecast before booking, as tours may be cancelled or rescheduled due to bad weather.
Dress comfortably and in layers, as the temperature can vary during your flight especially if you opt for a “doors-off” experience.
Avoid loose clothing and any hats that could be blown away or caught in the rotor blades. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and avoid sandals or high heels.
Bring your camera or smartphone to capture the amazing views. However, note that some tours may have restrictions on photography equipment. Check with the tour operator beforehand to avoid disappointment.
You may also want to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.
When you arrive at the helicopter operator’s premises, you’ll receive a safety briefing before the flight. They will explain how to safely board and exit the helicopter, as well as what to do in case of an emergency. Listen carefully and follow their instructions to ensure a safe and enjoyable flight.
Boarding a helicopter is different from boarding a commercial aeroplane. Follow the instructions of your pilot or ground crew, who will show you where to sit and how to fasten your seatbelt. Be sure to hold on to any loose items, as the rotor wash from the blades can create strong winds.
Once you’re settled in, put on your headset and enjoy the ride.
During Your Helicopter Flight
Each passenger should be provided with a headset to allow them to communicate with the pilot. Your pilot will point out interesting sights and provide information about the area and any points of interest you’re flying over. Take it all in and make memories that will last a lifetime.
During the helicopter tour, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with the pilot and ask any questions you may have.
They’ll make sure you have a comfortable and enjoyable flight and will do their best to accommodate any special requests you may have.
Capturing Memories of your Tour
To truly capture the memories of your flight, you’ll want to know how to take the best photos and videos possible.
Before you take off, make sure your camera or smartphone is fully charged and has enough storage space for all the amazing photos and videos you’re going to take. If you’re using a phone camera, switch to aeroplane mode to save battery. If you’re using a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, make sure you have the right lens for the job. A wide-angle lens is best for capturing the expansive views you’ll see on your helicopter tour.
Once you’re in the air, you’ll want to experiment with different angles and camera settings to get the best shots. Shooting from different angles will help you capture a variety of perspectives, from the sweeping views of the landscape to the intricate details of buildings and landmarks. When it comes to camera settings, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use a fast shutter speed to avoid blurry photos
- Shoot in RAW format for better post-processing options
- Avoid using the flash, as it can reflect off the helicopter’s windows
- Consider using a polarising filter to reduce glare and enhance colours
For the best photographs with no glare, some operators offer “doors-off” flights giving a clear and unobstructed view from the cabin. Make sure you have a strong grip on your camera though!!
Note that for safety reasons you are generally not allowed to take photos as you board or exit the helicopter.
If you’re not confident in your photography skills, or if you simply want to sit back and enjoy the view, consider using a professional photography service.
Many helicopter tour companies offer this service and it can be a great way to ensure you get high-quality photos and videos of your flight. A professional photographer will know the best angles and camera settings to use and will have the equipment necessary to capture stunning images.
You can often get photos of you and your group once you are onboard and these are sold as part of an optional photo package, typically around $30 for a digital package.
Frequently Asked Questions about Helicopter Tours in Florida
Q: What is the minimum age requirement for a Florida helicopter tour?
A: The minimum age requirement varies by the tour provider. However, most providers require children to be at least 3 years old to participate.
Q: Is there a weight limit for passengers on a Florida helicopter tour?
A: Yes, there is usually a weight limit for safety reasons. The weight limit varies by tour provider and the size of the helicopter. Generally, the weight limit ranges from 250 to 300 pounds per passenger.
Q: What happens if there is bad weather on the day of the tour?
A: If there is bad weather, the tour may be postponed or cancelled for safety reasons. In such cases, the tour provider will offer to reschedule the tour for a later date or issue a refund.
Q: Can food and drinks be brought on the helicopter?
A: No, generally food and drinks are not allowed on the helicopter due to safety reasons.
Q: How long does a Florida helicopter tour typically last?
A: The duration of the tour depends on the tour package selected. Most tours range from 15 minutes to an hour.
Q: What is the cost of a Florida helicopter tour?
A: The cost of a helicopter tour varies depending on the tour package selected and the tour provider. Generally, prices start at around $50 for a short tour and can go up to several hundred dollars for a longer tour.
Q: Is it necessary to book a Florida helicopter tour in advance?
A: Yes, it is recommended to book in advance as availability may be limited during peak tourist season and due to popularity like sunset tours. Many tour providers also offer online booking options for convenience.
Q: Are there any physical restrictions for passengers on a Florida helicopter tour?
A: Yes, some tour providers have restrictions on passengers with certain physical conditions, such as back or neck problems. It is recommended to check with the tour provider beforehand if you have any physical restrictions.
Q: What is the cancellation policy for a Florida helicopter tour?
A: The cancellation policy varies by the tour provider. However, most providers offer a full refund if the tour is cancelled due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. If the tour is cancelled by the customer, the refund policy may vary, so it’s recommended to check with the provider beforehand.
Q: What happens if you miss your scheduled Florida helicopter tour?
A: If you miss your scheduled tour, some providers may offer to reschedule for a later time or date, depending on availability. It’s recommended to contact the tour provider as soon as possible to see if any options are available.
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