The South Rim is the region of the Grand Canyon that most people recognize. That's where most of the best photos are shot, and that's where Grand Canyon National Park is located.
It's almost impossible to see all the Park's highlights from the ground. It would take a long time to even try. The ideal solution is to tour the South Rim by helicopter. You should take one of these Grand Canyon helicopters if you can. They are a lot of fun and give you a unique perspective on the immensity of the canyon. Don't shortchange yourself while you're at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Being that it's located in northern Arizona, most of the South Rim's visitors come from Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona, Scottsdale and other Arizona cities. It's also a favorite excursion for people coming from Vegas, who arrive there by plane (a 45-minute flight) or bus (a 5 -hour ride). It is easy to guess which mode of transportation is the most popular. Quick and convenient wins most of the time.
You can choose from some great Grand Canyon South Rim flights. There is a 50 minute tour and a shorter 30 minute version. If you go on the shorter tour you fly to the North Rim and back and pass over the Dragoon Corridor, which is the widest part of the Grand Canyon. The 50 minute flight does too, but it's more comprehensive and adds the Painted Desert, the Desert Watchtower, Imperial Point (the Park's highest spot), the Colorado Confluence and Zuni Corridor.
The longer tour is best if you can swing it. The Park is huge (more than a million acres of wilderness!) and many travelers will only make it there once. Don't miss out on seeing as much of the Park as you can unless you simply do not have time for the longer flight.
South Rim helicopters fly out of Grand Canyon National Airport, just outside the Park's main gates. You can take one of these tours every day, including holidays. It is a good idea to book your seats at least a week ahead of time. Booking early allows you to get the lowest price and the widest choice in tour times and dates.
If you wait until you get there to buy your tickets you will have to pay a lot more, plus your group might have to split up and you have less chance of getting the best early morning flights or a flight on the best choppers, the EcoStar 130s.
Let me explain why I think the EcoStar 130 is the best of all the South Rim helicopter models. These choppers are roomier and more comfortable than other tour helicopters. Their stadium-style seating and panoramic windshield gives every passenger magnificent views of the spectacles below. Their body design allows for a smooth and quiet flight and the cabin has the ultimate in climate control.
A couple of landing tours are now being offered at the South Rim. One tour option is to take the rim to rim aerial tour and then hop on a Jeep for a ride to the canyon's edge to view a spectacular sunset. The other substitutes a ride in the Park on a Harley for the Jeep ride. These fun tours are limited and they cost more but they are worth it because of the great experience you will have.
You can save some bucks on your tour by booking on the tour company's website. The tour companies always have the best deals, and I've been able to book several terrific Grand Canyon tours at 1/3 off their retail price just by booking direct on the company's site. You get this low rate by completing your transaction online so you qualify for the Internet only discount.