Watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean from your hotel balcony; now that's a beautiful view. Seeing a colorful sunset from the top of the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel; that's a beautiful view too. Even the short glimpse while parasailing high above the sea is breathtaking.
But for THE most scenic view of the Grand Strand, nothing can match the bird's-eye view offered from a helicopter. These whirly birds zip up and down the Carolina coast with regularity, offering visitors the rare chance to see the Grand Strand from the sky.
See the beaches, ocean and attractions that surround the Myrtle Beach area and fly over the golf courses, pine forests and wetlands of the inland areas. Fly north to the barrier islands of North Carolina, or south to the South Carolina Low country swamps.
Myrtle Beach offers two major helicopter operators that cater to the tour business – Helicopter Adventures near Broadway at the Beach and Oceanfront Helicopters near the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Both offer a wide selection of rides and tours. Both boast experienced and certified pilots and a 100 percent FAA safety rating.
Helicopter Adventures is located across Highway 17 Bypass from Broadway at the Beach on 21st Avenue North. Featuring eight state-of-the-art helicopters on five continuously operating landing pads, Helicopter Adventure provides a covered, comfortable waiting area where guests can watch takeoffs and touchdowns, Helicopter Adventures offers six different tours, plus a short introductory 2-mile ride for as low as $20 per person.
Among the popular tours available is the Boardwalk Adventure, which takes passengers for a fly over of the famed Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and the downtown district. The Pine Lakes Adventure hovers over Myrtle Beach's oldest golf course, Pine Lakes (aka “The Granddaddy” for an aerial view of history. The Dunes Adventure flies over the famed Dunes Golf & Beach Club and Myrtle Beach's most prestigious neighborhood.
For those looking to explore beyond the Myrtle Beach city limits, the Briarcliff Acres Adventure takes passengers over North Myrtle Beach's most exclusive community and the Apache Pier, the longest on the East Coast. The Barefoot Adventure covers the golf courses and shopping centers of Barefoot Landing, and the Grand Adventure heads all the way north of the Carolina border to Little River, Calabash and Cherry Grove Beach.
Oceanfront Helicopters, formerly known as Huffman Helicopters, offers eight different tours along with the $20 intro flight. The North Beach Tour and South Beach Tour take passengers in opposite directions down the coastline, and the Myrtle Beach, Garden City and Murrells Inlet Tours offer a panoramic view of those cities. The Broadway and Apache Tours give riders a unique look at the Grand Strand's top attractions, and the Grand Tour takes you up to the North Carolina border and down to the deep Low country.
In addition having FAA-certified pilots, both outfits have tour guides who point out some of the highlights down below. Passengers are allowed to take photos of the scenery and one another during the flight for some memorable vacation photos you can’t get anywhere else but from the cab of a chopper. Each tour will hold up to three passengers and there are weight restrictions, but both allow children under 2 years old to ride for free on an adult’s lap.
Passengers receive a short briefing about safety guidelines before the flight, and professional photographers are on hand to snap your shot as soon as you touch down on the ground. Both operators take walk-ups and reservation for groups and special occasions. Tipping your pilot/tour guide is encouraged. For more information or to book a tour, visit www.helicopteradventures.com or www.oceanfronthelicopters.