Note: Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
After exploring Oahu’s land attractions and snorkeling in its waters, see the island in all its glory from the air. Consulting both traveler sentiment and expert input, U.S. News identified the following helicopter tours as some of the best. Whether you’re indulging your adventurous side and flying with the doors off or simply along for the ride (and the views), you’ll enjoy varied and beautiful scenery along with expert commentary from your pilot.
Rainbow Helicopters – Royal Crown of Oahu
Rainbow Helicopters’ Royal Crown of Oahu tour provides an overview of some of the island’s most sought-after sights and attractions. During the hourlong trip, passengers may see Lanikai Beach, the Makapu’u Lighthouse, the Dole Plantation and many other gorgeous sights. Along the way, pilots offer commentary about various points of interest – an element of the experience that tour-takers appreciate. Adventurous flyers also recommend opting for the doors-off option for its unobstructed views. Prices start at $325 per person and include a shuttle service to and from select hotels. Flights depart Honolulu International Airport hourly each day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., though exact times may vary by day of the week. Rainbow Helicopters also offers 20-minute sunset tours, among other flights.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters – Blue Skies of Oahu
These approximately 50-minute trips offer passengers a bird’s-eye view of the island’s top sights, such as Diamond Head State Monument, Hanauma Bay, Waimanalo Beach, the Nuuanu Valley rainforest and more. Pilots, who are also certified guides, share information about the island’s natural wonders, and they generally win praise for their knowledge and insight. Flights take off several times each day starting at 8 a.m., though exact departures times may vary by day. Ticket prices start at $309 per person. Hoping to book a longer flight? Blue Hawaiian also offers 65-minute tours, as well as private charters.
Mauna Loa Helicopters – The Oahu Experience VIP Private Tour
Travelers on this private tour appreciate the pilots’ commentary regarding not only the landscape and historical monuments but also the island’s culture. On this hourlong flight, visitors will see Oahu’s picturesque valleys, waterfalls, beaches and bays, as well as its cultural monuments, such as Pearl Harbor. For an added thrill, passengers have the option to fly without the helicopter doors. Flights depart several times daily starting at 8 a.m. Tickets cost approximately $320 per person. Note that the company does not offer shuttle service from area hotels to its office. Participants must be at least 7 years old to fly with the doors on, and 12 years old to fly with the doors off. A minimum of two passengers is required for the tour to operate; a maximum of three passengers are allowed. Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours also offers tours of the island’s south shore, among other flights.
Magnum Helicopters – The Doors Off Adventure
Ideal for thrill-seekers and photographers who want an unobstructed view of Oahu’s beauty, this air tour offers visitors the chance to fly with the helicopter doors off. The 50-minute flight promises a panoramic view of popular historical attractions, such as the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Natural Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, as well as Oahu’s natural attractions, such as the Ko’olau mountain range and the Ka’a’awa Valley. Pilots double as guides, and reviewers consistently call their commentary informative and engaging. The helicopters can carry up to five people. Tickets start at $295 and flights leave several times daily starting at 8 a.m.
Paradise Helicopters – Valleys & Waterfall Explorer
Highlights of this nature-themed air tour include Sacred Falls State Park, the Ko’olau mountain range, Kāne’ohe Bay and the North Shore. The approximately 35- to 40- minute tour also includes an aerial view of Pearl Harbor and its memorials. Guides provide narration and receive accolades from reviewers for being professional, knowledgeable and friendly. Morning and afternoon flights leave from Turtle Bay Resort daily; specific departure times vary. Tickets cost approximately $325. You can fly with the helicopter doors removed for an additional fee. Paradise Helicopters also offers several other air tours of Oahu, including a North Shore sunset tour.
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