Kind Reader, if you’re planning a trip to Washington DC, consider taking a helicopter tour to see the capital from above. Washington DC helicopter tours provide an unforgettable experience as you fly over historic landmarks and iconic monuments, giving you a bird’s eye view of the city’s stunning beauty and architecture. With knowledgeable tour guides and state-of-the-art helicopters, you are assured of a safe and comfortable journey as you explore the nation’s capital from a unique perspective.
Best Washington DC Helicopter Tours
If you want to get the best view of Washington DC and all its iconic landmarks there is no better way than taking a helicopter tour. Here are some of the best helicopter tours to take when visiting the nation’s capital:
1. Monumental Helicopter Tour
Take an exciting 30-minute Monumental Helicopter Tour is an all-encompassing experience of the city with the most famous landmarks like the White House, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and more. Experiencing the city from above provides a unique and panoramic perspective on D.C.’s historically significant landmarks.
2. Old Town Alexandria Helicopter Tour
On this helicopter tour visitors can see Alexandria’s historic and charming Old Town. This tour offers a mix of history, architecture, culture, and scenery. The tour takes you to see the Alexandria waterfront, Historic Old Town, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, including President Washington’s Mansion, the out-buildings, beautiful gardens, and Pioneer Farm.
3. Grand Helicopter Tour
For a comprehensive look of Washington DC, there is no better option than the Grand Helicopter Tour. You will see all the popular landmarks in the city, plus flying out to the surrounding area for a more expansive helicopter tour. The tour is a 60-minute experience creation a lifetime of memories. The itinerary includes the monuments on the National Mall, the Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, and beyond.
What to Expect on a Helicopter Tour in DC
Excited for a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour? Itâ€™s important to know what to expect to ensure that you have a great experience and make the most of your adventure. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your helicopter tour experience to the fullest:
1. Dress Appropriately
The temperature can fluctuate during helicopter rides, so it’s important to dress in comfortable layers. Wearing comfortable shoes and avoiding loose clothing or accessories that might fly away in the wind is also important.
2. Listen to the Safety Instructions
When taking a helicopter tour, safety comes first and foremost. Make sure to follow all safety instructions your pilot gives to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride. In addition, all passengers will wear headsets so they can hear the pilotâ€™s instructions clearly.
3. Prepare Your Camera
A helicopter tour can be the perfect time for a photo or video shoot, so it’s important to prepare your camera or phone beforehand. Remember, your pilot will be flying close to landmark sites, so bring an ideal lens to capture crystal clear photos. Don’t forget to have an extra battery or memory card, and always check camera settings before takeoff.
4. Experience a Bird’s Eye View
What makes the DC helicopter tours stand out from other tours is the breathtaking bird’s eye view of the city. It is best to clear your mind of any fears or hesitation – sit back, and enjoy the adventure and breathtaking views.
Best Washington DC Helicopter Tours for Sightseeing
If you want to see the best of Washington DC from a different perspective, taking a helicopter tour is a great idea. Here are the best helicopter tours available that offer a unique and breathtaking experience:
1. Monumental Helicopter Tour
The Monumental Helicopter Tour is a 30-minute guided tour that takes you through the heart of Washington DC. The tour covers all the major landmarks of the city including the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, and the US Capitol Building, among others. The highlight of this tour is the aerial view of the White House that you get to see from your helicopter. It is a guaranteed way to beat the crowds and see DC in style.
2. Cherry Blossom Helicopter Tour
The Cherry Blossom Helicopter Tour is the perfect choice for anyone visiting DC in the spring. The 45-minute tour takes you through the Tidal Basin, where you can see the famous cherry blossom trees in full bloom. In addition to that, you can also enjoy a birdâ€™s eye view of other popular attractions such as the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, and the US Capitol building.
3. Mount Vernon Helicopter Tour
The Mount Vernon Helicopter Tour is a 30-minute guided tour that takes you from Alexandria to Mount Vernon. Along the way, youâ€™ll soak up stunning views of the Potomac River, George Washingtonâ€™s Mount Vernon estate, and other historic sites in Virginia. This tour gives you the unique opportunity to experience the DC area like never before.
4. Ultimate Helicopter Tour
The Ultimate Helicopter Tour is a 60-minute guided tour that covers all the major landmarks of Washington DC and some parts of Virginia. You can relish the aerial views of the National Mall, Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, Arlington Cemetery, and the Potomac River, among others. If you want to see the best of what DC has to offer from the sky, the Ultimate Helicopter Tour is the perfect choice for you.
5. DC Highlights Helicopter Tour
The DC Highlights Helicopter Tour is a 20-minute guided tour that costs half of what the Monumental Helicopter Tour costs and gives you a good insight into what DC has to offer. You can explore the city’s landmarks such as the US Capitol Building, White House, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial. It is a budget-friendly alternative for people who cannot afford to splurge on a longer helicopter tour.
6. Heli-Photo Tour
The Heli-Photo Tour is a 60-minute guided tour that is perfect for photography enthusiasts. The tour is conducted in a doorless helicopter which allows for unobstructed photography. It covers all the major landmarks of DC with a focus on areas that provide the best photography opportunities. This tour offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience and is a must-do for avid photographers.
7. Private Helicopter Tour
The Private Helicopter Tour is a custom tour that is perfect for families and groups who want to get a personalized experience. You can work with your pilot to create a custom itinerary and explore DC at your own pace. This tour is available for up to six people and gives you plenty of time to get a good look at each site you visit.
|Location: Washington, D.C.
|Duration: 12-15 minutes
|Price per person: $200-$300
|Popular sights seen: White House, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, U.S. Capitol Building
|Weight limit per passenger: 300 lbs
Top Companies for Washington DC Helicopter Tours
If you are in Washington DC for the first time and are planning to book helicopter tours, it could be a daunting task to choose the best one. Below are some of the best companies offering Washington DC helicopter tours:
Potomac Airfield offers Washington DC helicopter tours at an affordable price. Their helicopter tour package covers all of the major sights, including the US Capitol, the Pentagon, and the Lincoln Memorial. Their experienced pilots ensure that the entire ride is safe and comfortable.
Baltimore Helicopter Services
Baltimore Helicopter Services not only offers panoramic views of Washington DC but also Baltimore. The company’s Washington DC helicopter tours pass over several landmarks, including the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the White House.
Monumental Helicopters is a reputable tour company that offers a wide range of services that cover parts of Maryland and Virginia. Their Washington DC Helicopter tours provide an aerial view of the Smithsonian National Mall, U.S. Capitol building, West and East Potomac Parks, FBI Building, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the White House and many other landmarks.
|Affordable price, experienced pilots, covers major sights
|Baltimore Helicopter Services
|Panoramic views of Washington DC and Baltimore, covers several landmarks
|Covers parts of Maryland and Virginia, aerial view of major landmarks
Best Time to Take Washington DC Helicopter Tours
While helicopter tours are available year-round in Washington DC, the best time to go on such a tour is from March to August. During these months, the weather is less foggy and offers a clear view of the cityâ€™s landmarks and attractions. Additionally, spring and summer have less wind, which can make for smoother flights.
Spring (March to May)
Spring is a great time to take a helicopter tour in Washington DC. The weather is mild, and the famous cherry blossom trees are in full bloom during this time, making it a sight to behold from the sky. It is advisable to book the tour in advance during the National Cherry Blossom Festival as it attracts a lot of crowds.
Summer (June to August)
Summer is another perfect time to go on a helicopter tour in Washington DC. The sun is out, and the clear skies provide an unobstructed view of the cityâ€™s famous landmarks such as the White House, the Capitol building, and the Washington Monument. You can also experience the fireworks on the 4th of July from the sky.
Washington DC Helicopter Tours Safety Measures
The operators of helicopter tours in Washington DC take the safety of passengers very seriously. The operators conduct regular maintenance checks on the helicopters and have experienced pilots who are FAA-certified.
Operators constantly monitor the weather conditions, and if the weather is not suitable for flying, they will reschedule your tour for the next available date. Additionally, they provide appropriate clothing like ear protection gear, life jackets, and necessary equipment. It is also crucial to follow the operatorâ€™s instructions before, during, and after the flight for maximum safety.
Operators put cleanliness and comfort as a top priority. Before each flight, the helicopters are thoroughly cleaned, and all safety equipment is inspected for proper function. Additionally, passengers are advised to keep their belongings safely stored and avoid any loose clothing that could interfere with the helicopterâ€™s operation.
Best Time to Take Washington DC Helicopter Tours
Washington DC can be visited at any time of the year, but certain times have their advantages over others for taking helicopter tours. In the spring, the famous cherry blossoms lining the National Mall are in full bloom, creating a stunning backdrop for aerial views. Summer months are busy, but the warm weather allows for clear skies and great visibility, while fall foliage provides a beautiful display of colors from above. Winter can be cold and snowy, but the holiday season adds an extra charm with the National Christmas Tree and festive decorations throughout the city.
Cherry Blossom Season
The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place each spring in Washington DC and marks the blooming of hundreds of cherry blossom trees. This event is one of the most popular times to take helicopter tours, as the sight of the pink and white blossoms from the air is simply breathtaking. The festival usually takes place in late March or early April, but the exact dates depend on when the blossoms are expected to reach their peak.
The summer months offer the best weather for Washington DC helicopter tours with high visibility and clear skies. Although it is peak tourist season, following the tours tips can still let you experience the city in a unique and thrilling way. The temperatures can be hot, but air-conditioned helicopters will make sure that you have the best experience.
|Summer Helicopter Tour Tips
|Book in advance to avoid disappointment
|Wear lightweight and comfortable clothing
|Bring sunglasses to avoid glare
|Avoid large meals before the tour
Washington DC Helicopter Tours at Sunset
If you want to witness the beauty of the nation’s capital as the sun goes down, a sunset helicopter tour is the perfect option. See all the famous landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, bathed in a warm glow as the sun sets over the horizon.
The Best Time for a Sunset Tour
The optimal time for a sunset flight is usually around 6-7 pm, depending on the time of year. During this time, the sky is ablaze with rich crimson and amber hues, making it an unforgettable sight. In addition to the mesmerizing light show, the air is cooler, making for a more comfortable ride.
What to Expect during Sunset Tours
Most sunset helicopter tours in Washington DC last approximately 30 minutes, but some companies offer longer tours that last up to an hour. During the flight, you’ll witness magnificent views of the National Mall, the Potomac River, and several other iconic landmarks. It’s an excellent way to cap off a day spent exploring the city.
Washington DC Helicopter Tours – Safety Precautions
Helicopter tours can be an exciting and unforgettable experience. However, it is important to remember that safety is always a top priority. Before taking off on a helicopter tour, here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:
Check Tour Operator’s Certifications
Before selecting a tour operator, it is important to check their certifications and licenses to ensure that they meet all safety standards required by the FAA. Tour operators should have trained pilots and well-maintained equipment.
Listen to the Pilot and Follow Instructions
During the tour, the pilot will provide instructions that all passengers must follow. This includes fastening seatbelts, not opening doors or windows, and keeping all body parts inside the helicopter. It is important to listen to the pilot’s instructions and follow them carefully.
Pay Attention to Weather and Flight Conditions
Weather and flight conditions can impact the safety of a helicopter tour. Tour operators will have guidelines that they follow to ensure that tours are safe. However, if weather conditions change while on the tour, the pilot may need to adjust the flight path to ensure everyone’s safety.
Do Not Overload the Helicopter
Helicopters have weight limits for safety reasons. It is important not to exceed the weight limit set by the tour operator. This includes both passengers and any carry-on items. Overloading a helicopter can lead to dangerous situations, such as difficulty controlling the aircraft.
Washington DC Helicopter Tours – Capture the Moment
A helicopter tour of Washington DC is an incredible opportunity to capture breathtaking photos and videos from a unique perspective. Here are some tips to help you capture the perfect shot:
Choose the Right Seat
The seat you choose can make all the difference when it comes to capturing photos. If possible, try to get a seat by a window that allows for clear, unobstructed views. If you’re traveling solo, you can often get a front seat beside the pilot.
Avoid Glare on Windows
The sun’s glare on the helicopter’s windows can create an unwanted reflection in your photos. To avoid this, use a polarizing filter, a lens hood, or shade the camera lens with your hand or a piece of cardboard.
Consider Camera Settings
Shooting photos from a moving helicopter can be challenging, so choosing the right camera settings is key. A fast shutter speed (1/500 or faster) can help freeze motion, and a wide aperture (f/2.8 or wider) can help blur the background and keep your subject in focus.
Think About Composition
Composition is important in any type of photography, and helicopter tours are no exception. Try to capture a variety of shots from different angles, such as overhead shots of monuments and buildings or wide shots of the city skyline.
Washington DC Helicopter Tours – Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re interested in a Washington DC helicopter tour, you probably have some questions. Here are answers to some of the most common.
1. How safe are helicopter tours in Washington DC?
Washington DC helicopter tours are a very safe way to see the city. Operators are required to follow strict safety regulations, and the helicopters themselves are well-maintained.
2. What does the tour cover?
Most helicopter tours of Washington DC cover the National Mall, the White House, Capitol Hill, and various monuments and memorials. Some tours may also fly over other parts of the city or the surrounding area.
3. How long does a tour typically last?
Washington DC helicopter tours usually last between 15 and 30 minutes. Some operators offer longer tours that can last up to an hour.
4. How high up do the helicopters fly?
The helicopters on Washington DC tours typically fly at an altitude of around 500 to 1,000 feet, depending on weather conditions and other factors.
5. What should I wear on a helicopter tour?
Dress comfortably and in layers. The temperature inside the helicopter may be cooler than outside, so consider bringing a light jacket. Avoid loose or flowing clothing, as they may be a safety hazard.
6. Can I bring my camera on the tour?
Yes, of course! Cameras and smartphones are allowed on Washington DC helicopter tours. You may also be able to purchase a photo or video package from your operator.
7. What if I get motion sickness?
If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider taking medication before your helicopter tour. Sitting in the front seat may also help reduce motion sickness.
8. Can I request certain sights to be included in the tour?
Operators may be able to accommodate special requests, but keep in mind that weather conditions and other factors may impact the itinerary.
9. What is the cancellation policy?
The cancellation policy varies depending on the operator you choose. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before booking.
10. Can children go on helicopter tours?
Yes, children are welcome on most helicopter tours. Young children may need to sit on a parent’s lap or wear a safety harness.
11. Does the helicopter make a lot of noise?
Yes, helicopter tours can be noisy. Operators will provide you with ear protection to ensure your comfort during the tour.
12. What happens in case of bad weather?
If the weather is too poor to fly, the operator will typically offer you the option to reschedule or receive a refund.
13. How many people can fit in a helicopter?
The number of passengers that can fit in a helicopter depends on the size and model of the helicopter. Most Washington DC tour operators offer small group tours with up to 6 passengers.
14. Is it appropriate to tip the pilot?
Tipping the pilot is not required, but it is a nice gesture if you feel that your pilot provided excellent service.
15. Can I bring food or drinks on the helicopter?
No, food and drink are not allowed on Washington DC helicopter tours. This is to ensure the safety of all passengers.
If you’re planning a trip to Washington D.C. and want to experience the city from a different perspective, consider taking one of the many helicopter tours available. These tours will give you an incredible aerial view of historic landmarks like the Capitol Building, the National Mall, and the White House, making for an unforgettable sightseeing experience.
Time to Touch Down
Kind Reader, thank you so much for taking the time to read about the Washington DC helicopter tours. We hope that we’ve given you some ideas for your next adventure and that you’re now inspired to see the nation’s capital from above. We guarantee that it’s an experience that you won’t forget in a hurry! Remember to check back with us soon for more exciting travel tips and articles. Until then, happy flying!