Take a Coastal Flight Tour

Get inspired to take to the skies for a seagull's view of your favorite beach.

Seattle, Washington

Photographer: Michael Hanson

Seattle, Washington

Experience the beauty of the Queen City from above, with an aerial view of islands like Vashon, Whidbey, the San Juans, and Canada's Gulf Islands. For a mind-blowing ride, we recommend Kenmore Air, based on Seattle's Lake Union, for a year-round array of options. The quickie: City Explorer, 20 minutes for $89/person. Or The San Juans Explorer, two hours for $199/person; 866/435-9524 or kenmoreair.com.

San Juan Islands, Washington

Photographer: Michael Hanson

San Juan Islands, Washington

For a budget version of the San Juans tour, drive up to Anacortes, where the San Juans ferries depart. Paraclete's small planes leave each morning and afternoon for the San Juans' non-ferry-accessed smaller islands like Decatur, Blakely, and Center. Hop on board for the out-and-back tour at around $30/person for a 90-minute to three-hour trip.

Your pilot: Paraclete; 800/808-2999 or paracletecharters.com

Maine Coast

Photo courtesy of Scenic Flights of Acadia

Maine Coast

You can get views from hiking the bald summits of Acadia National Park, but you can't get Cadillac Mountain, Egg Rock Lighthouse, Bar Harbor, and the Mount Desert Narrows in 35 minutes. A float-plane tour will zip you around all the sights. Two-person minimum; 15-minute tour, $46/person; 25 minutes, $78/person; 40 minutes, $98/person.

Your pilot: Scenic Flights of Acadia; 207/667-6527 or scenicflightsofacadia.com

Kauai, Hawaii

Photo courtesy of AirVentures Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii

Hawaiin islands are steep. Some of the coastlines, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, are inaccessible by foot or car. But a 30-minute plane tour covers the Napali Coast, Hanalei Bay, and Waimea Canyon so you can be eye-level with the cliffs. Take the Big Kahuna 70-minute tour for $125/person or the 3-hour air and land tour for $149/person.

Your pilot: AirVentures Hawaii; 1-866-464-7864 or airventureshawaii.com

Exuma Cays, Bahamas

Photo courtesy of Safari Seaplanes

Exuma Cays, Bahamas

Fly over the tiny cays and sandbars of the Bahamas for a panoramic perspective on the 2,500 small islets. A half-day tour with Safari Seaplanes will drop you off on a deserted island. It then waits for you to snack and snorkel, or leaves you for a half day of exploring, returning at 4 p.m. Rates are quoted at the time of booking.

Your pilot: Paul Harding of Safari Seaplanes; 242/362-1263 or safariseaplanes.com

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