Air tours in Seattle – prices, duration, timings, what to expect

Seaplane taking off from Lake Washington

Phil Augustavo / Getty Images

Air tours in Seattle and beyond offer unforgettable aerial views of the exceptional environs of the Northwest. 

Even though Seattle does have helicopter tours, the city’s seaplanes are more popular. They take off and land on the water for a one-of-a-kind Northwest experience.

Besides the city of Seattle, these seaplane tours also help you explore the majestic Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and breathtaking Mt. Rainier. 

This article shares everything you must know before booking your aerial tour of Seattle and its surrounding mountains. 


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Flight Departure and Return

Most Seattle air tours take off from two places in the city – Lake Washington and Seattle Airport. 

Heliport at Seattle Airport

Address: Modern Aviation, 8285 Perimeter Rd S, Seattle, WA 98108, USA. Get Directions

Once you enter the building under the blue awning labeled ‘Executive Terminal’, your pilot will meet you in the reception area. 

Lake Washinton heliport

Address: 1000 Perimeter Rd W, Renton, WA 98057, USA. Get Directions

Enter from the airport from Rainier Avenue, turn left, drive to the end of the road to the parking lot. 

Park near the US Customs Building and Walk over the grassy knoll to the waterfront and the P1 gate. 

Your pilot will meet and escort you to the seaplane.

Important: A few Seattle air tours take off from other locations, such as Carillon Point Marina in Kirkland and Wiley Post Renton Base, so check on the place of departure before booking your adventure. 

Where does the helicopter return?

After your sightseeing trip is over, you will land at the same place from where the helicopter took off. 


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Seaplane tour timings

The air tours in Seattle start as early as 8 am, and you can choose from multiple departure times throughout the day.

Usually, the last take-off of the day happens at 5 pm.

You are sure to get your preferred timing if you book early. 

It is better to arrive at least 20 to 30 minutes before your scheduled tour.


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Cancellation policy

You can cancel your Seaplane tour of Seattle up to 24 hours before the experience for a full refund.

Air tours over Seattle, Washington State, require good weather. 

If it is canceled due to poor weather (heavy rain, low cloud ceilings, lightning, or extreme winds), you will be offered a different date or a full refund.

Failure to show up for your appointment without notice will result in the cancellation of your tour without a refund. 


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Seattle Seaplane Flight from Lake Washington

This 20-minute seaplane flight over Seattle from Lake Washington is the most popular way to see the city.

You will take off in a seaplane from Lake Washington and glide over Seattle landmarks like the Space Needle, Lake Washington, Puget Sound, Ballard District, University of Washington, Alki Beach, etc.

Throughout the tour, the local pilot will narrate the region’s history and exciting stories. 

Tour duration: 20 minutes

Cost of tour: $118 per person


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Greater Seattle Scenic Airplane Tour

This experience is the cheapest airplane tour of Seattle and takes off from the city’s airport. 

During the scenic airplane tour of Seattle, you will witness aerial views of the Emerald City and panoramic Northwest vistas. 

All passengers get noise canceling aviation headsets to listen to the pilot’s narration.

On a clear day, you may see Mount Rainier visible on the horizon 80 km (50 miles) South of your chopper’s tour route. 

Tour duration: 20 minutes

Cost of tour: $100 per person


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Seaplane Tour of Mt Rainier

This aerial adventure from Seattle to Mt Rainier and back takes off and lands on Lake Washington. 

Passengers enjoy aerial views of the Pacific Northwest wilderness and Puget Sound, which this an unforgettable experience.

This seaplane tour’s highlight is seeing the West face, glaciers, and snowfields of Mount Rainier. 

An experienced pilot narrates the tour, pointing out historical sights and landmarks. 

Tour duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cost of tour: $325 per person


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Seaplane Tour to Mount St Helens

If you want to go beyond Mt Rainier, this is the perfect air tour in Seattle.

You experience the sensation of taking off and landing on the water on a seaplane. 

After getting an aerial orientation of the Emerald City, the Pacific Northwest, and the Puget Sound from high up in the sky, you will fly towards Mount Rainier.

As you fly over the Mount Rainier National Park, you enjoy stunning views of the tallest mountain in Washington State.

Then you fly by Spirit Lake and the caldera of Mount Saint Helens, which last erupted in 1980 eruption.

Tour duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cost of tour: $570 per person


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Seaplane Tour to San Juan Islands

On this scenic seaplane tour, you will soar over Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and be left in awe at nature’s beauty.

You will take in the San Juan Islands’ impressive scale and get a unique perspective on the Seattle skyline during the return flight to Lake Washington.

Fascinating views of the city and the coastline will remain in your memory for long after you have landed.

Tour duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cost of tour: $545 per person


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Seaplane Tour to the Olympic Mountains

This is the longest (three hours!) seaplane tour taking off from Seattle, making it the city’s costliest air adventure. 

However, if you are not on a budget holiday, we highly recommend this experience. 

On this scenic seaplane flight to the Olympic Peninsula, you will soar over Mount Olympus, Hurricane Ridge, and the Hoh Rainforest. 

You and your group are sure to love the rugged terrain, including vast glaciers and expanses of old-growth trees of the region. 

This air tour is a spectacular alternative to the hours-long drive to the Olympics.

Tour duration: Three hours

Cost of tour: $925 per person


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Essential information

Here are some crucial pointers you must be aware of before booking your air tour in Seattle.

  • An adult must accompany children under the age of 12.
  • Service animals are allowed, but they must ride on the lap of the passenger.
  • All air tours in Seattle can have a maximum of five travelers. If you are more than five, you will be split into two groups with two separate rides.
  • Infant children are considered lap child if they are under the age of two and have proof of age, such as a passport or a copy of their birth certificate. They fly for free.
  • As per FAA regulations, all passengers 18 years and older will be required to show a photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport at the time of check-in.
  • Most travelers can participate. However, air tours aren’t recommended for pregnant women, travelers with back problems, heart problems, or other severe medical conditions.
Ankita Roy: Having grown up amongst beaches, Ankita Roy prefers coastal holidays. Besides seafood, she is a sucker for the way sand feels on her feet, and sea breeze on her face. Favorite Cities: Cape Town, Edinburgh, Tokyo, Sydney