Best Hawaii Helicopter Tours: Sky-High Paradise Unveiled!

Aloha, fellow adventurers!

I can’t wait to share my favorite Hawaiian helicopter tours that’ll make you feel on top of the world – literally! My boyfriend and I have been flying high over these tropical islands for years now, and trust me when I say it’s an experience like no other. From the jaw-dropping waterfalls to those fiery lava flows, we’ve seen it all.

For so long, the thought of hopping aboard a chopper terrified me. What if something went wrong? But after extensive research and gathering firsthand experiences, I can tell you there’s nothing to fear. Throughout this journey, you’ll learn from my expertise as we explore the ins and outs of these thrilling tours.

You’re probably just like us: Excited for adventure but cautious about taking risks. That’s why I’ve narrowed down the options based on factors like trip duration, quality, safety measures taken by tour operators, and overall excitement factor.

Just a warning though: Once you get a taste of hovering above paradise, your inner daredevil might never let go! So buckle up for our list of Hawaii’s most unforgettable helicopter adventures.

Now grab your camera or strap on that GoPro because together we’re about to embark on a sky-high escapade through stunning island landscapes!

#1 (BIG ISLAND) Doors-Off Kohala Valleys & Waterfalls from Waimea with Remote Hike

Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes (approx.)

Address: Waimea-Kohala Airport Road, Waimea-Kohala Airport Rd, Waimea, HI 96743

This tour has it all. It’s a tour that includes views of the ocean, beaches, mountains, rainforests, waterfalls, and more. The customer service and professional pilot really set them apart. Not to mention they are knowledgeable and provide great information and a pilot-led hike.

This is a doors-off tour, so you get an unobstructed and open view of all the amazing sights and sounds (all the seats are window seats). It’s also the longest tour we did, at almost two hours round trip. If you are like me you will love seeing all the hidden beaches and waterfalls inaccessible by land.

The helicopter goes along the Kohala Coast where we saw lush rainforests, stunning cliffs, black sand beaches, and waterfalls. We also flew over Mokupuku Island (and I got some amazing pictures out of it.) The hike through the guava (waiwi) forest was also a one-of-a-kind experience.  It’s the perfect length at 0.5 miles, and there is special satisfaction knowing this area is a remote jungle area. The wildflowers and plants are amazing. At the end of the trail, you will also see stunning views.

This is the best helicopter tour in Hawaii because:

  • You get over an hour of breathtaking views of the Kohala Coast with a window seat guaranteed.
  • There is a remote jungle hike through a guava forest, full of exotic and lush vegetation.
  • You also get to fly over Mokupuku Island and take amazing pictures.
  • Adventure seekers will love the doors-off feature.
  • The pilot is very knowledgeable and professional and overall service is top-notch.

#2 (OAHU) Open-Door Helicopter Tour

Duration: 50 minutes (approx.)

Address: Magnum Helicopters 130 Iolana Pl, Honolulu, HI 96819

For a complete and unobstructed view of all of Oahu, this is the best tour. Having the door open during the flight allowed us to take stunning pictures and feel the exciting wind in our hair. There is live commentary by the pilot, so there is a great opportunity to learn about the island, the landmarks, and its history. You can also purchase a video of your tour (for us it made a great souvenir.)

The tour makes sure everyone gets to see what they love. Including historical sites, beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, and more. The trip started with a view of Pearl Harbor National Memorial and USS Arizona Memorial (my boyfriend loved this – despite doing the ground tour).

My favorite sites were Kaneohe Bay (stunning coral reefs and clear blue water), Mokoli’i Island, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and Diamond Head State Monument. Other worthwhile sights were Magic Island which looks stunning from the air, Waikiki Beach and Sacred Falls. Jurassic park lovers will love Jurassic Park Valley.

Overall the tour is full of gorgeous tropical destinations, some accessible only by air. I love that each tour only has 4 passengers, so it’s basically like having a private tour. The focus of the company is safety first – so those having doubts – don’t!

The Open-Door Helicopter Tour is the second-best tour in Hawaii because:

  • You get a complete tour of the entire island.
  • There is something for everyone including Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Jurassic Park Valley, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Sacred Falls, Waikiki beach, and more.
  • You have the option of sitting next to the open door of the helicopter and experiencing the true excitement and wind in your hair.
  • Tour groups are small (only 4 people) so you will feel like it’s a private tour, just for you.

#3 (MAUI) Road to Hana Helicopter & Waterfall Tour with Landing

Duration: 75 minutes (approx.)

Address: Kahului Heliport, Lelepio Pl, Kahului, HI 96732 (Maverick Helicopters Hawaii)

The road to Hana is a historic trip full of waterfalls, swimming holes, rainforests, and beaches. But seeing this area with a bird’s eye view is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a bonus, this tour also stops in Hana for 30 minutes so you can explore the rainforest on foot. I loved this authentic jungle experience which is really an old taro plantation in the Wailua Valley.

The helicopter takes you over Paia, Hookipa, and Haiku and the pilot provides great tour information and interesting facts about the region. On the way, we saw many cliffs and rugged shorelines. My favorite part was all the waterfalls. Flying over the iconic Jurassic Rock made great pictures too!

You will love this tour because it’s off the beaten path. It’s not the typical tourist ride just covering the beaches. In fact, this is the best way to see the most authentic parts of the island. If you are like me you will enjoy the untamed rainforest and waterfalls. Our pilot was so nice he even took pictures of us during the Hana hike.

Don’t miss out on Maui’s Road to Hana Helicopter & Waterfall Tour with Landing because:

  • The road to Hana flight is the most authentic part of the island filled with waterfalls, cliffs, rainforests, and wild shorelines.
  • The tour includes half an hour’s exploration through the jungle (old taro plantation) filled with exotic vegetation and wildflowers.
  • The pilot is very professional and well trained, the helicopter is almost new and safety is the priority for them.

#4 (KAUAI) Deluxe Waterfall Safari

Duration: 55 minutes (approx.)

Address: Safari Helicopters, 3225 Akahi St, Lihue, HI 96766

This is by far the best Kauai tour available. The island is naturally full of rainforest terrain and waterfalls, and this tour will show them all to you. Since much of the island is inaccessible by road, this is the only way to see these sights.

The pilot on our flight was highly knowledgeable and provided great information. We were always told ahead of what we were about to see (so I had the best pictures ever!). They are also friendly and focused on safety.

The main focus of the flight is the Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon. We saw many cliffs, rainforests, and even the waterfall from Jurassic park. There were also many other waterfalls inaccessible by land. Unlike some tours on the more tourist-visited islands, the vegetation here was pristine. Really a once in a lifetime experience.

The Deluxe Waterfall Safari on Kauai is one of the best in Hawaii because:

  • Most of the island is inaccessible to tourists by road, so this is the perfect way to see it.
  • There are many stunning and wild waterfalls totally isolated from tourism.
  • You will get a complete tour of Na Pali Coast and Waimea Canyon including the famous waterfall from Jurassic Park.
  • The pilots are professional and knowledgeable and you will get great information about the sights and island.

#5 (BIG ISLAND) Hilo: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Waterfalls Flight

Duration: 1 hour (approx.)

Address: 2220 Kekuanaoa St, Hilo, HI 96720

If you are interested in seeing the top of a steamy dormant volcano and all the scenery accompanying lava flows, this is the tour for you. Though the forests and ocean are stunning, this tour’s highlight is the Volcano National Park with breathtaking sights of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanos.

I was thrilled about this flight and it fulfilled all my expectations. Parts of the flight were so visually different than the rest of the island. I enjoyed the Pu’uo’o volcanic cone and even the black sand beaches created by the volcanic rock. There are clear areas where you can see how the lava flowed into the sea. The pilot is great at giving information about this area.

The highlight of the flight is seeing the steaming volcano top and the lava flow. This made for the most unique and awesome pictures. The pilot took her time and made sure we all got to take pictures and see everything. Of course, this is Hawaii, so we also got to enjoy some remote and well-hidden waterfalls and beaches on the way.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Waterfalls Flight is a unique tour because:

  • You get to see a steaming and very active volcano from the air.
  • The pilot takes her time in showing you the Pu’uo’o’ volcanic cone, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanos, and many waterfalls on the way.
  • This is a completely different visual than anything else on the island.
  • You can see old lava flows and black sand beaches created by the volcanos.
  • The pilot is knowledgeable, professional, and super friendly.

#6 (BIG ISLAND) Kohala Coast & Waterfalls Helicopter Tour from Kona

Duration: 1 hour (approx.)

Address: Paradise Helicopters Tours of Hawaii 73-341 Uu St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

This is the adrenaline-filled, super impressive helicopter tour of the wild side of Hawaii (Big Island). An incredibly skilled pilot will take you by some stunning high-cliff waterfalls, rugged shorelines, mountains, and cliffs.

The highlight for me was the Kohala Valley with multiple waterfalls falling from over 2500 feet in the air. We flew so close I felt I could touch them. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I would recommend it to everyone. Nothing like this can be experienced by land. We also saw many rough shorelines and cliffs intermixed with many black areas of sand and white sand beaches (some of the beaches include Mahai’ula, Kiholo, Anaeho’omalu, and Hapuna).  

The helicopter ride was super smooth, and the pilot was incredibly skilled. We felt safe and taken care of. The agency is also accommodating. On our tour there were 4 of us (two couples), it was like a private tour.

Kohala Coast & Waterfalls Helicopter Tour from Kona is a must because:

  • It’s the only way to see the stunning 2500 feet tall group of waterfalls in the Kohala Valley.
  • The pilot was so skilled I thought we were going to touch the waterfalls.
  • There are stunning views of the rainforest and other smaller falls.
  • We had great views of black sand beaches along the way.
  • We were a small group of 4 passengers and our pilot was accommodating and friendly.

Conclusion on the Best Helicopter Tours in Hawaii

Hawaii is a tropical paradise. Though there are great tourist destinations, the island also offers great wild and natural sites not always accessible.

That’s why the best way to see Hawaii and its gorgeous waterfalls, cliffs, volcanos, beaches, and untamed rainforests are with a helicopter tour.

No matter what island you are visiting (Maui, the Big Island, Oahu, or Kauai) I have the perfect helicopter tour for you.

I have chosen the best-of-the-best tours that include the most beautiful and unique sites each island has to offer.

Try to do more than one! They are all well worth your time and money.

In fact, I guarantee that one of these tours will be the highlight of your trip.

Last Updated on April 7, 2023 by Brigitte