7 Best Big Island Helicopter Tours (+ Volcano Flights!)

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Are you looking for the best Big Island helicopter tours? This guide has you covered!

Are you planning your Big Island helicopter tour last minute?

If you’re traveling to the Big Island last minute, you want to ensure you have your helicopter tour booked ahead of time! These are our top picks:

Best Helicopter Rides and Tours on the Big Island:

  1. Best helicopter tour of Volcanoes National Park (my #1 Hilo helicopter tour!)
  2. Helicopter tour from Kona (my #1 Kona pick – lasts two hours!)
  3. Most affordable Kona helicopter tour
  4. Manta Ray Night Snorkeling Tour from Kona (likely to sell out!)
  5. Volcanoes National Park + coffee farm (popular tour!)

In this guide, we disclose the best helicopter tours on the Big Island of Hawai’i. They range from ones that take you over the coast to ones that fly you above an active volcano!

Did we miss any of the best Big Island helicopter tours? Let us know in the comments!

Big Island Helicopter Tours Overview

We have quite a variety of tours on this guide and the main reason is that they all offer something different that may be important to travelers. 

Below, you can find our favorite tours put into categories as we see fit!

Best Helicopter Tours on the Big Island

1. Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Duration: 100-120 minutes
Departure point: Kailua-Kona
BOOK HERE

This Kona helicopter tour on the Big Island is one of the top-rated and one of the reasons people love it is that it gives riders the ability to open the windows to take better photos! 

This tour is longer than most helicopter tours there and it starts with flying over Waimanu and the Waipio Valleys where you can check out beautiful scenery as well as the macadamia nut orchards.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour

You’ll also witness Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, as well as several waterfalls and the peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. 

It is not guaranteed a window seat unless you upgrade and this is not a wheelchair-accessible experience.

Book your helicopter ride here!

2. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Helicopter Adventure

Duration: 55 minutes
Departure point: Hilo
BOOK HERE

We always watch volcanoes on TV or in some videos. However, exploring them with your own eyes is another level of experience for sure.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located on the Big Island, is home to the summits of two of the world’s most active volcanoes – Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. It is also considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour is offered by Safari Helicopters, the longest-running helicopter company on the Big Island.

After getting debriefed on safety protocol, you will start your flight from Hilo Airport.

Flying over the Big Island
Flying over the Big Island

When you glide over the famous summits, your pilot will explain in detail the geographical background of lavas and volcanoes and tell you about different climate zones in Hawaii.

During your 55-minute aerial adventure, you will also see orchid farms and lush native forests that are primarily only found on the Big Island.

You will get a birds-eye view of the waterfalls surrounding the park and even marvel at the rainbows over the island.

After looking at the breathtaking scenes from above and learning about the locals and history of the island from your pilot, you will end your unforgettable journey back at the meeting point.

Book your helicopter ride here!

3. Kona Coast Helicopter Tour

Duration: 50 minutes
Departure point: Kailua-Kona
BOOK HERE

Discover the sunny Kona coast and its residential area from the aerial perspective with Mauna Loa Helicopter Tours.

This private tour with up to three passengers will take 30 minutes. You will soar over Kona Town, Kua Bay, and the famous Captain Cook’s white obelisk marking the site where Captain James Cook was killed.

If you end up in Hawaii somewhere between June to October, then you’ll get a chance to see migrating humpback whales along the coast from above when you take this helicopter tour.

Admire aerial views of the sunny beaches and bays showered by turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Helicopter flight over the Kona coast
Helicopter flight over the Kona coast

This quick but fantastic tour takes you either from Kona Airport (Southbound) past Honokohau Bay, Kona Town, Keauhou to the famous Captain Cook or (Northbound) to the famous Kua Bay, Kiholo Bay, Hapuna Beach, and Kawaihae.

Though 30 minutes will seem little time for the tour, you will cover far more sights than you could on the ground.

Book your helicopter ride here!

4. Doors-On Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure 

Duration: 1 hour
Departure point: Hilo
BOOK HERE

It is common practice to explore the rich flora and fauna of Hawaii from the birds-eye view. Paradise Helicopters is another company offering a captivating experience of a helicopter flight over the Big Island.

This doors-on helicopter tour will let you marvel at the active volcanoes and see the lava flowing.

You will be able to look at the beautiful waterfalls of Hawaii, such as Rainbow Falls, Pe’epe’e Falls, or Wai’ale falls, and enjoy the view that you would’ve never seen from the ground.

Helicopter flight from Hilo
Helicopter flight from Hilo

From the very beginning of your tour at Hilo Airport, the professional staff of Paradise will meet and guide you during your whole experience.

Any of the three departure times available will be led by certified pilots who will tell you the history of the Big Island and its fabulous nature.

This 1-hour aerial adventure indeed will become the most unforgettable experience not only for your trip to Hawaii but also for your life.

In the end, the helicopter will bring its four passengers back to the starting point.

Book your helicopter ride here!

5. Big Island Volcano Deluxe Helicopter Tour

Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Departure point: Waimea
BOOK HERE

Sunshine Helicopters offers a condensed helicopter tour of the Big Island, the youngest and the most beautiful island in the island chain.

The departure is from the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. You can choose one of the three available flight times in advance and enjoy the marvelous 1-hour 45-minute adventure with six other members of the tour.

During the flight, you will hover over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and explore Mount Kilauea, considered one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Kea, the tallest sea mountain in the world at more than 33,000 feet.

Due to the different climate zones on the island, you will see lush rainforests followed by volcanic deserts or snow-capped mountains and black sand beaches.

Bird's eye view of HVNP
Bird’s eye view of HVNP

The gem of the tour will remain the hidden tropical valleys of the Kohala mountains, alive with dozens of roaring waterfalls.

Professional pilots will make your experience more informative by telling you about the island’s history and geographic nuances. In the end, souvenir photos and an HD flight video on a USB will be available for purchase.

Book your helicopter ride here!

6. Circle of Fire Helicopter Tour from Hilo

Duration: 50 minutes
Departure point: Hilo
BOOK HERE

You won’t be able to see volcanoes every day, but when you’re in Hawaii, consider taking the Circle of Fire Helicopter Tour from Hilo with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and marvel at the views of the world’s most geologically active environment.

You can choose from the eight available timings for the flight with your certified pilot guide, who will tell you the most astonishing secrets about Hawaiian nature during the flight via the 2-way communication microphones.

The 50-minute flight will start from Hilo and let you discover the most scenic views of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

You will get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, which have been continuously erupting since 1983.

Blue Hawaiian helicopter on the Big Island - Keith 316 - Shutterstock
Blue Hawaiian helicopter on the Big Island – Keith 316 – Shutterstock

When learning about the history and culture of Hawaii, you will also see the lava flow, which is changing hourly. 

Later your helicopter will glide over the Halemaumau Crater and other national park sights, making your experience even more adventurous.

The video camera system will record the entire flight process, which you can purchase after the flight.

The flight is intended for six people, so this is also an excellent opportunity to meet new people or to go with your friends and family.

Book your helicopter ride here!

7. Big Island Spectacular Helicopter Tour

Duration: 2 hours
Departure point: Waikoloa
BOOK HERE

Indeed, this two-hour-long helicopter flight with Blue Helicopters will become the most unforgettable memory from your trip to Hawaii.

The company that continuously incorporates the latest in cutting-edge technologies and safety features offers incomparable passenger comfort.

You will have a great chance to discover the volcanic fury of the Big Island and get an up-close look at the famous Kilauea volcano, sometimes referred to as Madame Pele’s volcano, which has been continuously erupting since 1983.

Here you will see the lava bubbling up and flowing. Next, your aerial journey will include exploring the Hamakua Coast and the meandering valleys of the Kohala Mountains, rich with the most impressive waterfalls cascading down to the Pacific.

Flying over the Big Island in a helicopter
Flying over the Big Island in a helicopter

From the wide viewing windows of the helicopter, you will also see the Mauna Kea summit and the town of Hilo.

Along with the five passengers, you will hear your knowledgeable pilot via the two-way communication microphones, who is also a State of Hawaii Certified Tour Guide.

Only a helicopter tour allows you to see so many of Hawaii’s delights on a single ride and from a unique perspective.

In the end, when you land at your starting point, you will have a chance to purchase a USB in-flight video and photo package of your flight.

Book your helicopter ride here!

What to Expect on a Helicopter Tour on the Big Island

Every company is a little bit different but the general practical info remains the same!

So, you don’t really get many doors-off experiences on the Big Island as you would get on Kauai. Most tours on the Big Island last from 50 minutes to 100 minutes (just depends on the trip).

You will have a chance to see volcanoes, waterfalls, coastal scenery, and more.

Helicopter tours on the Big Island
Helicopter tours on the Big Island

But, please note that the helicopter pilot has zero control over what Kilauea is doing at the moment so check before your flight in order to keep your expectations in check.

There are many departing points on the Big Island – Hilo, Kailua-Kona, Waikoloa, and Waimea. It really depends on where you are, but several resorts have helipads where you’ll find tours (as you can see above).

You do not automatically get a window seat! So, please work this out with the company before your flight. You may have to pay extra to get one. 

Flying over Volcanoes NP
Flying over Volcanoes NP

Most flights do not take more than 6 people… unless you book a private trip, of course!

What to Wear on a Hawaii Helicopter Tour

Although you’re probably used to the advice that you should dress warmly for a trip to the skies, that certainly isn’t the case for a helicopter tour.

You can certainly wear shorts, open-toed shoes, and other light clothes if you wish.

In fact, you may find that it’s too hot to wear a jacket. However, it is recommended that you wear dark and solid colors to prevent your reflection from distracting the pilot.

Otherwise, you can largely wear whatever you want to!

Did we miss any of the best Big Island helicopter tours? Let us know in the comments!

More Big Island Travel Guides

Pin this Big Island Helicopter Rides Guide

Looking for the best Big Island helicopter tours? This guide covers some epic helicopter flights from Hilo, Kona, and over beautiful Volcanoes National Park! | Things to do on the Big Island | Helicopter flights in Hawaii | Hawaii helicopter rides | Kona helicopter tours | Hilo helicopter tours | Volcanoes National Park helicopter tour | Helicopter flight over Volcanoes National Park | What to do on the Big Island

 

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