While there are many ways to explore Hawaii, few experiences can match an aerial tour over the islands’ most scenic and breathtaking spots.
Hawaii helicopter rides may be pricey—expect to pay close to $200 per person—but most visitors who have enjoyed a “bird’s-eye view” of paradise will tell you the experience is worth the cost. What’s more, every island offers a unique sightseeing adventure—from the rugged Koolaus and cityscapes on Oahu and majestic Haleakala Crater on Maui to the fiery sights of the Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island and breathtaking Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast on Kauai.
Numerous helicopter tours are available, each offering a varying menu of “flight-seeing” adventures. It is recommended that you book your tour early on in your stay, maximizing your opportunity to reschedule a tour in the event of inclement weather (helicopter tour companies won’t fly under questionable weather conditions. Not only is it unsafe, but you won’t get your money’s worth in terms of scenery).
Most helicopters are of the six-seat variety, and specific seating cannot be guaranteed (seats are assigned to properly balance the aircraft). Visibility from any seat is excellent, however, as there are no obstructions to block your views. If you want a chopper excursion all to yourself, most companies offer charter flights.
- Watch out for the glare from inside the windows.
- Wearing dark clothing can reduce glare.
- Cameras with zoom lenses are optimal because the size of the field can change rapidly.
- Check out our Hawaii Helicopter Crash Report before choosing a tour company.
When To Go
The best time of the day to go is mid- to early morning, before the arrival of cloud covers that often come in the afternoon.
Most people will advise you to avoid flights that are less than 50 minutes in length; they may only serve to wet your appetite, and you’ll regret not spending a little more to maximize your experience.
Camera / Video
Flights are fully narrated and are usually videotaped (you can purchase the video after the tour is over). Of course, bring a camera and high-speed film (ASA/ISO 400 or 800) to further capture your experience.