Grand Canyon National Park is perhaps one of the most well-known destinations in the United States. Visiting the Grand Canyon is hard to put into words! The Canyon is vast and provides breathtaking views!
We visited the Grand Canyon in mid-October, 2020
We actually had my (Janae’s) aunt and uncle and their two kids staying with us for their vacation for the last two weeks of October. My aunt wanted to see the Grand Canyon on her birthday and the timing worked out just right.
The weather in mid-October couldn’t have been any better! We definitely recommend visiting the Grand Canyon this time of year to avoid the bigger crowds and the relentless summer heat.
We decided to book a helicopter tour flying over the Grand Canyon and it was AMAZING!
This was a huge bucket list item for me and getting to cross it off with family was extra special! It was our main focus of the day and we thoroughly enjoy it.
We booked our tour with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours and decided to do the North Canyon with Hummer tour. It was roughly 30 mins of time in the helicopter and then 2 1/2 hours in the hummer.
Our tour started at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. We arrived 30 mins before our tour to sign paperwork and to watch a safety video. Afterwards, we headed out to board the helicopter!
Each person is assigned a seat in the helicopter to balance out the weight properly. I was lucky enough to be assigned the front passenger seat with the pilot.
It was really fascinating watching him get the helicopter ready for flight. There are so many levers, dials, and switches!
Flying over the Grand Canyon
It was easily one of the most incredible things I’ve experienced in my life! Flying in a helicopter over such a breathtaking view is really hard to accurately describe.
I will admit however, that it was a little nerve wrecking at first haha! The takeoff is soooo different from an airplane and wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I got comfortable pretty quickly.
As you’ll see if you watch the video, the first part of the flight is over the Kaibab National Forest. You are not permitted to fly directly over the Grand Canyon National Park, so we had to go around it to get to the part of the Grand Canyon where flying over is permitted.
We started from the South Rim and flew along the Dragon Corridor to the North Rim and then back again. I could see the Colorado River far below us snaking its way through the Canyon. There were so many different fascinating views to take in as you flew through the rugged Canyon walls!
The flight itself lasted about 30 mins and was just the perfect amount of time for us. We really enjoyed it and would love to go back and do it again with our future kids someday!
After our helicopter flight, we headed into town for the rest of our excursion, a hummer tour
The hummer portion of our tour was fulfilled through Buck Wild Hummer Tours out of Grand Canyon Village, Arizona.
We boarded a hummer, along with one other family of three, and set off into the park. Our driver doubled as a tour guide and pointed out interesting facts about the park.
The hummer tour lasted about 2-2 1/2 hours and included several stops at different overlooks along the South Rim.
Tucker enjoyed not having to drive and search for parking, but we didn’t necessarily see or do anything that we couldn’t have done on our own.
All in all, we did enjoy it and were still glad that we did the combo tour.
After a long day of exploring, we headed to the El Tovar restaurant for supper
The El Tovar is one of the few restaurants in Grand Canyon National Park, and was the only one currently open when we visited. Reservations in advance are usually required, however, they were only taking in person reservations.
We got to the restaurant shortly before they opened, and ended up being seated within 30 minutes. Finding a parking spot was the most difficult part!
The restaurant is inside of the elegant El Tovar Hotel and, if you’re lucky enough to sit near a window, provides breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon outside.
We both enjoyed the Chicken El Tovar, one of their signature entrees. The desserts looked delicious, but we were too full to try them haha!
The restaurant is a bit of a splurge at around $60 total for both of us, but it was the perfect way to end our day visiting the Grand Canyon!
We really enjoyed visiting Grand Canyon National Park and can’t wait to go back and explore it even more in the future!
I hope this post inspires you to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon, it’s definitely a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list!