The 5 Best Oahu Helicopter Tours
Tour this picturesque island from the air on one of these excursions.
Oahu's natural beauty is best seen from above.(Getty Images)
An awe-inducing way to observe the island of Oahu in all its glory is 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.
Novictor Helicopters – Royal Crown of Oahu
Novictor's 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 indicate and describe points of interest – an element of the experience that tour-takers appreciate. Adventurous flyers also recommend exercising the doors-off option for its unobstructed views. Prices start at $315 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. Novictor also provides 20-minute sunset tours, among other helicopter outings.
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 8:30 a.m. Ticket prices start at $229 per person. The company also offers hourlong longer helicopter rides, as well as private charters.
Mauna Loa Helicopters – The Oahu Experience
Travelers on this tour appreciate the pilots' commentary regarding not only the landscape and historical monuments but also the island's culture. On this hourlong tour, 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 8:30 a.m. Tickets cost approximately $300 for a shared tour or $340 for a private tour. The fee includes transportation from and to select hotels. Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours also offers a wedding proposal tour and several photography-oriented tours.
Magnum Helicopters – Doors Off Helicopter Adventure Tour
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 patrons consistently call their commentary informative and engaging. The helicopters can carry up to five people. Tickets start at $250 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 $300. 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.