Helicopters are superior to planes in almost every way: vertical takeoff and landing, ability to maneuver in any direction, and more likely to deposit Green Day outside your high school because they heard there was "a pretty cool prom goin' down." Let your dreams soar with this Groupon.
$159 for a Helicopter Flight for One with Glacier Landing ($325 Value)
The 30-minute helicopter tour takes off from Knik River Lodge, soaring over icebergs and Lake George before hovering in front of a blue ice wall and landing on Knik Glacier, which is 6 miles long and 28 miles wide. The pilot gently lands the whirlybird at the glacier’s center, where ice is up to 1,000-feet thick. After strapping on non-slip overboots, guests explore the frosty scene for up to 20 minutes with the pilot as their guide, before the tour regroups and heads back.
Groupon customers can upgrade their package to include a dog-sledding expedition for an additional $159 (a $485 value). Upgrades must be purchased directly through Knik River Lodge.
Knik River Lodge
Not every hotel keeps an on-site helicopter, but Knik River Lodge has a chopper on deck for flight-seeing tours that show off the surrounding Alaska wilderness. Located about one hour northwest of Anchorage, the inn manages to be both isolated in woods teeming with mountain goats and moose yet convenient to the big city. Likewise, its 15 cabins let guests rough it without sacrificing luxuries such as down duvets on king-size beds, free WiFi, and private decks overlooking the surrounding mountains.
Housed in a yurt, the hotel’s on-site restaurant draws inspiration from African safaris. Candle lanterns provide the ambient lighting, and the menu emphasizes its muscovy duck and beef wellington. As the restaurant gets its produce, meats, and seafood from local sources, the menu also changes based on seasonable ingredients, but the selection of local beers and wines remains a steady staple.
In addition to the helicopter tours, other activities available through Knik River Lodge include bear-viewing and wildlife photography outings. Join an Iditarod musher and his dog team in glacier dog sledding, a distinct Alaskan pastime. Participants dash over snow-covered mountain slopes with plenty of opportunities for taking photos and pointing confused Tour de France bikers in the right direction.