Experiencing Las Vegas by Air and Water


During the sizzling hot summer months of Las Vegas, one of the best ways to escape the heat is simply to relax on a cool body of water. Though the city certainly isn’t known for having bodies of water beyond the Bellagio Fountains and the canals that snake throughout The Venetian, nearby Lake Mead National Recreational Area offers plenty of water activities … and a new way to chill out in Las Vegas.

If you’re looking for something just a bit different than the common Vegas vacation, there is now a “fly and float experience” that provides Sin City visitors an opportunity to explore the Desert Southwest in a way that hasn’t been experienced before. This three-day, two-night experience, offered by adventure outfitters Papillon Airways and Forever Houseboats, combines comfortable accommodations aboard a houseboat and exploration of Las Vegas’ surrounding areas by helicopter.

There are currently three experiences to choose from: Grand Canyon West, Eldorado and Antelope Valley. In all of them, the first two days are spent aboard a 59′ XT or 70′ Millennium houseboat equipped with private staterooms, a fully equipped kitchen, living areas, sun decks, a water slides and, in the case of some boats, a hot tub. During these two days on the water, guests are encouraged to relax and enjoy the casual ride along 550 miles of coastline.

On the third day, guests are whisked away for the “air” component of the getaway. On the Grand Canyon West experience, guests get to see Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, the Grand Wash Cliffs and Grand Canyon from the air. The helicopter descends into the canyon, and guests enjoy a picnic beside the great Colorado River before returning back to the city.

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During the Eldorado experience, guests are whisked away to Eldorado Canyon, Nevada’s oldest and most famous gold mine. After a tour of the mine, guests are invited to explore the area on quads, jeep or horseback.

The final experience, Antelope Valley, is a tour of Lake Powell and the famous Monument Valley by air. Tours that lead to this area from Las Vegas are uncommon, so this is a great choice for people who have “been there, done that” in Sin City.

These Las Vegas tour packages are each priced separately and include round-trip transportation to and from McCarran International Airport as needed (so no rental car is necessary), boat and helicopter accommodations for up to seven people, tie down services for the houseboat and a private helicopter pilot/tour guide.

Photo credit: Forever Houseboats