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Maverick helicopter tour in-flight over Kauai's Waimea Canyon State Park

Best Hawaiian island for helicopter tour

Personal to me but I still believe to be true, is Kauai renders the most cost effective, yet must enjoyable Hawaii island for a helicopter tour.

The best Hawaiian island for a helicopter tour is Kauai for me, as the landmarks to see in the air are unmatched. The sun-kissed Na Pali coast has to be seen in the air, but so too does a low level flight in canyons and valleys. No shortage of packages with an easily accessible heliport, making sure it goes without a hitch.

To get an idea of the best Hawaiian island for a helicopter tour, you will need to know what Hawaii island is the best destination for vacationing.

If you intend to hop from island to island over the course of your stay, then this would be a useful guide too - as it applies to things to see on the ground, as well as up in the air.

If you bet your stay on a particular island for an exhilarating helicopter tour to never forget, then make it an open door helicopter tour on Kauai. Combine it with a landing tour where a trek into the jungle is quite an adventure.

Better yet, make it a doors off helicopter ride in a Hughes, or MD500 helicopter for a fast, roller coaster ride via Jack Harter, exclusive to Kauai only.

Kauai is one the Hawaii's smallest islands, thus much of the island is impossible to view on the ground, via a car or on foot - so make it a Kauai helicopter tour.

If you are concerned what time to take a tour in Kauai, all day can be interesting but a late or early morning helicopter tour is a must - as Kauai lights up under remarkable photogenic coloring .

And where you don't see a readily available Kauai helicopter tour for all, you can always resort to booking a private helicopter tour at more expense.

Whilst the Big Island has active volcanoes, Maui as its rainforest or Oahu as lush hills, Kauai can't be missed as much of the island can be see on one helicopter trip.

Best Kauai tour per operator table

Operator: Tour Name: Depart: Min: Cost:
Jack Harter Doors off Experience Tour Lihue 60 $309
Island Helicopters Jurassic Falls Landing Adventure Lihue 75 $281
Blue Hawaiian Kauai Eco Adventure Lihue 50 $339
Mauna Loa Helicopters The Kauai Experience Lihue 60 $325
Safari Helicopters Canyon Landing Safari Lihue 60 $279
Maverick Helicopters Kauai Explorer Port Allen 50 $269
Sunshine Helicopters Ultimate Kauai Adventure Tour Lihue 50 $230

What better way than to take an helicopter ride that reveals kauai's majestic beauty, than a Kauai tour via one of the islands favorite helicopter operators.

Simply put, no operator is really better than the next in customer service, professionalism and welcoming to visitors - with only the top rated Kauai helicopter tours that are on offer.

For your benefit I've decided to present one helicopter tour per the seven companies operating on Kauai, of which their best Kauai helicopter tour is listed: includes departure location, tour name, approximate tour time and estimated cost.

Whilst Jack Harter Helicopters offer what has to be my favorite open door Kauai helicopter experience, so to is an optional doors off flight with Mauna Loa Helicopters.

Island Helicopters offer you a landing trip to the world-renowned waterfall, as featured in the motion picture movie, Jurassic Park.

While a canyon landing helicopter tour is the best tour offered by Safari Helicopters.

Kauai most deserving island

Ariel photograph of Kauai coastline and landscape
Views of what passengers are likely to experience of Kauai while taking a helicopter tour.

Now don't get me wrong, where you decide to book a helicopter tour in Hawaii its sure to be an experience not to forget.

Don't cancel it anytime soon then, and don't feel bad having taking a helicopter tour on a different island, as its sure going to offer more landmarks and a different experience than anywhere on Kauai.

Having said that, Kauai has always been my favorite Hawaiian island to visit. For this reason, a helicopter tour over Kauai is unbeatable for long stay tourists or day trippers.

Most of this majestic island is not accessible on foot or road, thus a helicopter tour is the only option.

It will involve a departure at Lihue heliport as your flight focuses primarily on canyons, waterfalls, beaches and the coastline.

Now this may not be enough for some of you, but a substantial time of the tour will partake in the incredible Manawaiopuna Falls - location of Jurassic Park waterfall - along with a low flight through the Waimea Canyon before heading out to the Na Pali Coast.

Not before a diversion brings your helicopter tour to the Mt. Waiale’ale Crater.

Kauai landmarks too see

Photograph of Na Pali coast as seen over pilot while in flight
Doors off helicopter tours result in improved, unimpeded views of Kauai's landmarks, including here at the Na Pali coastline.

Here is where the focus of your Kauai helicopter tour will be, of course it would be weather permitted with Kauai's ever shifting climate.

On top of that the helicopter tour pilot would descend into canyons or below valleys as to give their passengers the best views on Kauai. With that in mind, its worth giving a little extra tip as your pilot doesn't have to.

What is unique about this flight is the low level helicopter tour inside canyons, offering amazing views of Kauai's many majestic cascading waterfalls.

Where Kauai can't be beat with the Big Island's active volcanoes or Maui's dense rainforest exploration - Kauai's own canyons and valleys are what makes Kauai the best Hawaiian island for an helicopter tour.

Exiting at low attitude of the Waimea Canyon, the 17 mile long Na Pali Coast is not to be missed by air - as the pilot is likely to manoeuvre in and out of the valleys to offer passengers incredible views from both sides of the aircraft.

At some point Manawaiopuna Falls will come into view on your tour, as the location of Jurassic Park's iconic waterfall is seen in the air.

If you booked for a landing tour then you'll be sure to land nearby, whereas the pilot will spend time in its vicinity to make sure all passengers get the best possible views.

Similar flight route

What with 90% or more helicopter tours departing Lihue Airport, the flight route you will embark on primarily takes a clockwise route.

Reasons being is so helicopter traffic is one way, but at the same time when arriving at the most seen landmarks, the views are best seen over to the right side of the helicopter.

As you can imagine then, those who are sitting on the right side will view inland with Kauai's glorious landscape seen for miles. Whereas those sitting on the left would get more of a sea view most of the way.

Its important then to always upgrade to a window seat on the right side at any given opportunity.

Lifting off at Lihue, the flight route tends to head inland but not so far in to the heart.

My map pinpointing Kauai's major destinations visited on helicopter tours
Beginning with the Lihue Heliport, passengers often head to all major landmarks and destinations as pinpointed on this map.

First on the itinerary is a low level flight to the Manawaiopuna Falls, over to Mt. Waiale’ale Crater - then the breathtaking Waimea Canyon - then arrive at the Na Pali Coast as you head out to sea while heading back in-between the cliffs and valleys.

Not all routes will play out the same, but these are the landmarks you can be sure to visit, if the weather allows it.

In the meantime, your pilot may decide to offer you a few extra surprises at no extra expense, while missing out routes if the bad weather draws in, as all operators do have a sound safety record, so there's no concern there.

No shortage of tours

Helicopter tour passing over the Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon is guaranteed to be seen on the flight routes with all available Kauai helicopter tours.

In all, as of 2021 with all that is happening in the world, I would say there's approximately ten Kauai heli tours, with an additional five or so special tours at extra cost.

As I've mentioned, all ten tours are expected to follow a similar flight path, excluding the cheapest Kauai helicopter tours that are sure to cut the tour off prematurely, with a smaller flight route centered in the heart of Kauai.

Its up to you to upgrade to a doors off tour or one that lands at a designated site, but in all I would say the helicopter model in use also has the final say.

Remember not one helicopter type is used but up to six models, with the more agile Hughes 500 via Jack Harter with doors off I believe to be the best helicopter tour in Kauai you can book.

Expect to pay no less than $350.00 in total but do make sure its a tour that has a longer flight time - with a 75 minute time with Island Helicopters a must.

I am sure in time the ten Kauai helicopter tours mentioned will change in price and time sooner or later, with more tour options coming back online in due course.

In the meantime, look a helicopter tour with the best views out of the window, because that's all that really matters if the package excludes a landing or is not a doors off ride.

Cost similar across Hawaii

Na Pali coastline, valleys and canyons are seen in aerial photograph
Helicopter operators ensure you get your monies worth as you visit the majestic Na Pali coastline and her valleys.

To save you a few bucks, know that Kauai helicopter tour prices are inline with all of the Hawaii island's where helicopter tours operate.

You'll be pleased to know Kauai offer some of the cheapest helicopter tours in Hawaii, with a doors off experience coming in at no extra cost.

In fact, a landing tour in Kauai doesn't cost much more than a flight-only tour package.

Most expensive Kauai tour at this time is $339 for the Kauai Eco Adventure package via Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. With Sunshine Helicopters Ultimate Kauai Adventure Tour for as little as $230.00 as the lowest price.

However, as it is on the Big Island, Maui or Oahu, Kauai helicopter tour operators do charge an additional surcharge per passenger.

When you consider the cost of a helicopter tour on the Big Island at $624.00 for the highest price tour - it does give you an idea of the price difference.

Regardless, I expect you to get your monies worth it in Kauai as the cost of the tour per minute, is a great deal to be had.

Easily accessible heliport

Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour departing Lihue Airport
Blue Hawaiian Airbus EC130 Eco-Star departing Lihue heliport with passengers onboard.

What with Kauai being one of Hawaii's smallest yet most popular destinations for tourists, where you stay for the night or a weeks vacations is sure to benefit more in Kauai.

Most visitors to Kauai are likely to book up in a hotel, resort or book with an Airbrb in Lihue, which happens to be where six out of seven helicopter tour operators are headquartered.

Locating the heliport is far easier in Kauai than the other Hawaiian islands, with it being only a few miles of every person.

You can walk it if you had to, but on-site parking is available if arriving in a motor vehicle for every operator present at the specialist heliport.

Where you first arrived in Kauai via the Lihue Airport the location might just be the place you head back to, for your helicopter tour.

If you take the one Kauai helicopter tour via Port Allen Airport, its only a short yet beautiful scenic drive to the South Shore from Lihue Airport.

With only the east, north and south coast of Kauai accessible by land, you can guarantee you'll pass the heliport several times without realizing it, so rest assured its a very accessible location.

Doors off or land a must

Passenger wearing sneakers hanging out of helicopter
Passenger seen with feet hanging out of Jack Harter helicopter directly over the Na Pali coastline.

I love doors off helicopter tours so much, I can't imagine booking a tour if its doors on only - as there's lots more to see with doors open with no unimpeded views to be had.

Book a Kauai doors off helicopter tour given the chance, with no reasons not to if you are a group of young people, or indeed a lone traveler. Its not for the fainthearted nor for families with young children, but its an option nevertheless.

It can get a bit wet at times, but indeed it can get much hotter or a little colder, but its worth every penny.

Kauai doors off helicopter tours are the best in Hawaii because the must seen landmarks are an incredible sight if there's no window restricting your views.

On top of that or to register separately is a unique Kauai helicopter landing tour: it includes all the best sights from the air, along with a trek on the ground - so not just quick landing and take off.

For one you can stay for 40 minutes to view the Olokele Canyon, or better still, land at the foot of the Jurassic Park waterfall with only a short trek through a jungle path.

With all that in mind, if you are going to make it a doors on helicopter tour, do so with a right sided window - but do consult your helicopter operator for the best views.


Where the Big Island, Oahu and Maui are mostly accessible by foot or road, Kauai is not so to access these majestic sites, helicopter is the only way.

My best Hawaiian island for helicopter tours is going to be Kauai every time.

The island, or The Garden Island, is a place I have always had a special place in my heart, ever since I was 10 years old. As its the prime location of my favorite movie, Jurassic Park and its original sequels.

Whilst the Big Island has volcanoes not to be be missed, it can be seen up close on the ground. But where Maui is similar to Kauai, Maui as fewer interesting landmarks close to my heart.

Kauai, for the day tripper or visitors their for a few days or more, can see all of the one side of Kauai, while signing up for a helicopter tour that includes a landing to inaccessible sights - such as the Jurassic Park waterfall.

How else are you going to view the natural wonder that is the Na Pali coast than spending time weaving in and out of its valleys and cliffs on the North Shore.

Helicopter operators are widely available with up to ten tour packages to consider.

Make it a doors off helicopter tour if you can, but a landing tour is a must at extra cost if you have little ones, or less able people in your group.

Spend time at low attitude while touring Kauai in a helicopter, as the pilot manoeuvres in the canyons, valleys and hills to get up close to the green covered landscape and huge cascading waterfalls.

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