There’s no two ways about it—California has some of the most breathtaking scenery anywhere in the world. We admire it as we gaze at the rocky panoramas of the Pacific Coast, we’re left awestruck as we stare out onto the colossal cliffs of our mountain ranges and find ourselves humbled as we stand breathless among the towering redwoods. Now imagine seeing it all from above—soaring over the Golden Gate, gliding by the Hollywood Sign, hovering over the caves and coves of Laguna Beach—sounds like an epic experience, doesn’t it? Well, since November is National Aviation History Month, there’s no time like the present to finally experience our beautiful state from the most sensational perspective possible: from the clouds. There are several aviation companies across the state that specialize in fabulous aerial tours of San Francisco, Napa/Sonoma, Los Angeles and Orange Country—and those who have taken these great plane and helicopter adventures wax poetic about the most exhilarating, fun and unbelievably beautiful 30–60+ minutes they’ve ever experienced. Interested?
Here are four aerial touring companies to check out if you’re in the mood for a thrilling sightseeing day.
1. ALG Aviation
Based in Van Nuys, ALG Aviation offers a variety of tours that let you soar over landmarks like the Hollywood Sign, the Malibu and Santa Monica coasts, the Malibu Canyon and even the legendary Route 66. Tours are available for 30-minutes, 45-minutes and 60-minutes, along with custom options like a Strawberry and Champagne Basket to add some glamour to your City of Angels flyover. Prices range from $199 to $399 and up.
OC Helicopters offers a number of affordable tours across Orange County. Try the Surf City Tour for $249 per person and see the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Huntington Beach and more. Or for just a little more ($299), take the deluxe OC Beaches Tour to view Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and much more. Flights last between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the selected package.
The Bay Aerial’s 60-minute San Francisco Tours take you on a whirlwind trip across the bay, from Candlestick Park and Alcatraz Island to the Golden Gate. It also ventures even further to some amazing coastal spots, as well as to the famous “Mavericks” surf spot, continuing all the way to Half Moon Bay. They require that you book and pay in advance so plan ahead for this adventure. The price is $620 an hour with three passengers—and if you book for 2015, $10 per tour will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
If you really have the adventurous spirit inside of you, the only aerial tour you’ll definitely want to consider Nothern California’s renowned Coastal Air Tour. With Captain Bob at the helm of a restored 1926 Travelair biplane (think of Snoopy’s Red Baron fantasy and you’ll be close), you’ll soar over the breathtaking beauty of wine country, San Francisco and the coast with the wind in your hair. This is absolutely a once in a lifetime experience. The plane only fits two passengers and prices range from $175 (second passenger only $99) for a 30-minute tour to $275 (second passenger only $145) for a 60-minute tour.
Have you ever taken an aerial tour of California? Let us know if you’re tempted to go on this kind of breathtaking adventure.