The Na Pali Coast seen from a helicopter tour over Kauai, Hawaii

5 BEST (Highest Rated) Kauai Helicopter Tours in 2023!

If a helicopter tour is on your bucket list for Kauai, you’re in the right place, because in this article, we’re going to tell you about the very best Kauai helicopter tours.

Perhaps more than any other Hawaiian island, Kauai is the ideal island for an aerial tour.

Kauai’s beauty is breathtaking. Its Na Pali Coast, with scalloped cliffs towering over the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean, is the stuff of picture postcards…and Jurassic Park movies.

But the legendary Na Pali Coast, and much of the interior of the island, can’t be accessed by automobile, making a helicopter flight the perfect way to soar over the beautiful landscapes.

So if you are an adventure-loving visitor that wants to experience Kauai from the air on a helicopter tour, read on!

The Na Pali Coast of Kauai Hawaii

🚁 BEST KAUAI HELICOPTER TOUR

Our pick is the Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour. You’ll fly in a state-of-the-art chopper with first-class seats. It’s the most popular 5-star tour on Viator! (affiliate link)


When you choose one of these Kauai helicopter tours, you’ll usually fly over the most iconic landmarks on the island, from the yawning Waimea Canyon and the lush Hanalei Valley to the jaw-dropping Na Pali Coast and the towering Mount Waialeale, which rises up from the center of Kauai.

From your bird’s-eye view seat in the sky, you’ll gaze down upon some of Kauai’s most beautiful waterfalls, lush green valleys, pristine little coves and beaches, and the blue waters of the Pacific.

North Shore of Kauai, HI
The north shore of Kauai, seen from a helicopter

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The Absolute Best Helicopter Tours in Kauai, Hawaii

For adventurous nature lovers and landscape photographers, a Kauai helicopter tour is truly a memorable experience.

In this article, we’ll highlight the top Kauai helicopter tours, so if you are planning to go on a helicopter tour in Kauai, you can pick the one that’s right for you.

Ready? Let’s get to it, starting with the Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour, one of the most highly-rated and the most popular Kauai chopper tour.

1. Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour

The Na Pali Coast of Kauai Hawaii
The Na Pali Coast of Kauai

>> BOOK the Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour!


⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 stars, with more than 1,700 positive reviews!
⏳. FLIGHT TIME: 50 minutes (check-in one hour prior)

Why choose this tour? Great fleet of state-of-the-art helicopters, expert pilots that are also State of Hawaii certified tour guides, multi-year FAA Diamond Award

You’ll fly over Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls), the Na Pali Coast, the Waimea Canyon, Mt. Waialeale, Olokele Canyon, Hanalei Bay, and more.

The Kauai ECO Adventure Helicopter Tour offers:

✔️ Superb aerial views over Kauai

✔️ Flight in a new Eurocopter Eco-Star helicopter for 50% less overflight noise

✔️ Departure from Lihue Airport

✔️ The use of Bose aviation-grade, electronic noise-canceling headsets

✔️ The use of microphones for 2-way communication with pilot

✔️ Wheelchair accessible helicopter

What past guests have said:

“Absolutely incredible! Our pilot was so friendly and knowledgeable- and the scenery was beyond beautiful. Loved the soundtrack to go with it too…Must do!!”

— Corinne (see more reviews)

>> Check availability and prices now!


2. Hughes 500 Helicopter Tour (No Middle Rear Seats!)

The "weeping wall" at Mount Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii
Waterfalls at Mount Waialeale

>> BOOK the Hughes 500 Helicopter Tour!


⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 stars, with more than 400 positive reviews!
⏳. FLIGHT TIME: 50 minutes (check-in 30 minutes prior)

Why choose this tour? There are no dreaded middle rear seats on these doors-off choppers! Max of 4 travelers, so you can even book a private ride if you are a party of 4.

You’ll fly over all the major sights on Kauai, from the spectacular Jurassic Park Falls to the the Na Pali Coast, Waimea Canyon, Kokee State Park, and Mt. Waialeale, the second wettest place on the planet.

The Hughes 500 Helicopter Tour offers:

✔️ Outstanding photo ops from your doors-off seats

✔️ Flight in a 4-passenger Hughes 500 helicopter

✔️ Departure from Lihue Airport

✔️ The use of two-way communication headsets

✔️ The use of a smartphone tether

✔️ Cameras are allowed as long as they are tethered

What past guests have said:

“An absolute must-do! An amazing tour of parts of the island only accessible by air. Pilots take you up and over mountains, through canyons and even into a volcano where you’re surrounded by clouds and waterfalls. We did this with our teens and they loved it.

— Justin (see more reviews)

>> Check price and availability now!


3. “Private” Kauai Helicopter Tours with No Middle Seats

A view over Waimea Canyon in Kauai, Hawaii
A view over Waimea Canyon

>> BOOK the “Private” No-Middle-Seats Kauai Helicopter Tour!


⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 stars, with more than 450 positive reviews!
⏳. FLIGHT TIME: one hour (check-in about 15 minutes prior)

Why choose this tour? Every seat is a window seat on this “private” tour where only your group will be on the ride. Hawaiian family owned and operated. 30+ years of flying experience on the Hawaiian island.

You’ll cover the must-see sights on Kauai, from Waimea Canyon and the Waipo’o Falls to the cliffs of Na Pali, Hanalei Bay, Jurassic Park Falls, the “walls of tears” at Mt. Waialeale and more.

Some of the best waterfalls in Kauai are best seen from a helicopter!

The Private” Kauai Helicopter Tour offers:

✔️ The chance to shoot spectacular photos and video from your seats

✔️ Flight in a 3-passenger Robinson R44 helicopter

✔️ Departure from Lihue Airport

✔️ Only window seats

✔️ The use of lanyards for cellphones

✔️ A little longer flying time

✔️ Smaller kids 7 and up (over 40 pounds) can ride in front with pilot (doors on) while adults ride in the back with doors off

What past guests have said:

INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE!! James was our pilot and he was awesome!! The flight was much smoother than I anticipated & he was very informative & interactive. I HIGHLY recommend no middle seat & doors off. It made the experience intimate & the views PRICELESS!!

— Melissa (see more reviews)

>> Check price and availability now!


4. Doors Off Air Kauai Helicopter Tour

Jurassic Falls Kauai Hawaii
Jurassic Falls

>> BOOK the Doors Off Air Kauai Helicopter Tour!


⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 stars, with more than 370 positive reviews!
⏳. FLIGHT TIME: 45 minutes (check-in about 10 minutes prior)

Why choose this tour? Door-off flight. Experienced pilot with thousands of hours of flight time, also trained to be an engaging and informative guide, 25-year track record of safety.

You’ll cover the most outstanding landmarks on Kauai: Mt. Waialeale, Waimea Canyon State Park, Hanapepe, the Na Pali Coast, and Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls).

The Doors Off Air Kauai Helicopter Tour offers:

✔️ Superb aerial views over the island and the Pacific Ocean

✔️ Flight in an American Eurocopter A-Star helicopter

✔️ Departure from Lihue Airport

✔️ All forward-facing seating

✔️ Unobstructed 180-degree views from every seat

✔️ Noise-reducing headsets

What past guests have said:

From start to finish, an amazing experience. Highly recommend taking this tour. Seamless check in, amazing staff & our pilot top-notch! Views of Kauai from the air cannot be described. A MUST do while in Kauai!!

— Tori (see more reviews)

>> Check price and availability now!


5. Deluxe Waterfall Safari Helicopter Tour

The Na Pali Coast of Kauai from above: this incredible coast is usually included on all the best Kauai helicopter tours.
The Na Pali Coast is included on all the best Kauai helicopter tours!

>> BOOK the Deluxe Waterfall Safari Helicopter Tour!


⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 stars, with more than 550 positive reviews!
⏳. FLIGHT TIME: 55-60 minutes (check-in 30 minutes prior)

Why choose this tour? Family-approach business. Pilots recruited for experience, exceed FAA requirements. Operating since 1987, Big Island and Kauai.

You’ll cover the major sights and must-sees on Kauai, from the incredible landscape of the Na Pali Coast to the many waterfalls on Mount Waialeale and much more.

The Deluxe Waterfall Safari Helicopter Tour offers:

✔️ Excellent aerial views over Kauai

✔️ Flight in an A-STAR 350 B2-7 helicopter, one of the most luxurious and expensive helicopters operating in Kauai

✔️ Departure from Lihue Airport

✔️ Onboard 2-way communication system with Bose X noise-canceling headsets

✔️ Air-conditioned cabin

✔️ Left side pilot seat to offer passengers unobstructed views flying counterclockwise

✔️ Exclusive Safari skylight window, and mega picture windows

What past guests have said:

“Pilot and ground crew were excellent. This was the BEST excursion. Highly recommend it to everybody that likes something different. It was worth the $$.”

— Lanny (see more reviews)

>> Check price and availability now!


Kauai Helicopter Tour: Things to Know

What is the best time of day for a Kauai helicopter tour?

Weather is unpredictable, so all you can do is go based on past experience, and keep your fingers crossed for optimal conditions when you fly.

Usually, mornings offer the best flying conditions in Kauai. There’s generally less turbulence and the skies tend to be clearer for better visibility. Clouds usually tend to roll in come afternoon.

However, if you are keen on the best lighting for the Na Pali Coast, you’ll generally find that in the afternoons, when the sun shines on the cliffs, making the colors stand out more. In the mornings, the sun is behind the cliffs, leaving them in shadows.

A few other places, like the Manawaiopuna Falls, also are in the shadows in the morning.

Afternoon flights are more likely to get canceled due to weather, although that could happen in the morning as well.

For all but the most exacting of photographers, morning flights are perfectly fine for capturing great photos and video.

We chose a morning flight for our Kauai helicopter tour, and have no regrets at all.

Inside a Kauai helicopter flight in Hawaii
Inside a helicopter flight over Kauai

>> Book these 5-star rated, highly popular, Kauai tours now!

What is the best time of year for a Kauai helicopter tour?

Winter is rainy season in Kauai, and between the months of November and April, rain and storms are much more likely.

That means, in the winter, helicopter tours are much more likely to be canceled due to weather.

If possible, plan to do your Kauai helicopter tour in the summer: June through August, for the best weather and visibility. The shoulder months can go either way when it comes to weather.

No matter when you visit, book your helicopter tour for very early in your trip, so if your tour gets canceled for some reason, you still have the opportunity to reschedule for another day during your trip.

>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!

Should I choose a doors-on tour or a doors-off tour?

That depends entirely on your personal preference.

If you want photos with no intervening glass, a door-off helicopter tour gives you the opportunity to look straight down at the scenery with no glass in between.

Note that there are age restrictions for a doors off flight: you have to be over 10 on most such flights.

However, some travelers prefer to feel safely enclosed when they fly, in which case a door-on tour is the way to go.

Can I choose my seat on the helicopter?

Unless you charter the entire flight, you can’t, because the seating inside a helicopter is based on weight distribution.

If you are traveling as a couple or group of two, one of you will get a middle seat unless you pick a tour with no middle seats.

The front middle seat is actually not bad and you have an unobstructed view for the most part. The back middle seat is usually the least preferred seating option.

Flying over Ke'e Beach in Kauai, Hawaii, in a helicopter
Soaring over Ke’e Beach in Kauai

What should I wear / bring for my Kauai helicopter flight?

Some tours do not permit flip flops, so be sure to wear proper shoes. A lightweight sweater or jacket will help you stay nice and warm.

To reduce glare from windows, dark-colored clothing is helpful on door-on tours.

Don’t bring any “stuff.” You’ll have to leave your belongings in a locker or at the tour company office before you board. And note that most helicopter tours do not permit any camera equipment.

If you use motion sickness medicine, remember to take it before you board.

>> Book these 5 star rated, highly popular, Kauai Tours now!

How much does a Kauai helicopter tour cost?

Kauai helicopter tours are generally priced between $300 and $400 per person, so yes, it’s a splurge excursion for sure.

Given that you’re spending some serious cash on your tour, you will want to research your options carefully before you take the plunge.

The Best Kauai Tours

Have you booked these top Kauai guided adventures yet?

Sunset catamaran tour of the Na Pali Coast (relatively more stable ride, insane views on good weather days!)

Doors-off helicopter tour of Kauai (unobstructed views, chance to see more of the island than you can by land, no middle seats!)

Kayak on the Wailua River plus hike to a waterfall (a super fun activity for active travelers, albeit a little muddy sometimes!)

Raft trip to the Na Pali Coast plus snorkeling (prepare to get wet on this exhilarating adventure!)

Eurocopter ECO-Star helicopter tour over Kauai (the most booked Kauai helicopter tour on Viator with close to 2K reviews and a 5-star rating!)

Renting a Car in Kauai

The best things to do in Kauai are scattered all over the island.

Public transport options on Kauai aren’t great, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Kauai trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Kauai car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Kauai car rentals now!

Lihue Airport-Hotel Shuttle

Not planning to pick up a rental car at Lihue airport? Pre-arrange round trip transfer from the airport to your hotel and back!

This shared shuttle serves hotels or vacation rentals in Princeville, Kahala, Poipu, Kapaa, or Lihue, and then back again. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Kauai now!

Where to Stay in Kauai

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Kauai you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

Since you’ll likely want to base in a couple places on your trip to Kauai, we suggest starting your search for Kauai accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in both Poipu and Princeville and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Kauai vacation rental on VRBO now!

Want detailed recommendations for accommodations in Kauai? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Kauai!

Close up helicopter view of Waipo'o Falls Kauai, Hawaii
Close up helicopter view of Waipo’o Falls Kauai, Hawaii

More Kauai Travel Inspiration

Considering a trip to the Garden Isle in Hawaii? You’ll definitely want to check out some of our other comprehensive Kauai travel and attraction guides!

If you are a first-time visitor to Kauai, start by discovering the best things to do in Kauai! From beaches and botanical gardens to cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls, Kauai has it all, and our round-up lists all of Kauai’s must-experience activities and attractions.

Read our in-depth guide to visiting the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. We give you the full scoop on the best ways to visit this stunning coast in the remote northwest of the island.

Discover our round-up of the nine spectacular state parks in Kauai, which house some of Kauai’s most treasured natural wonders.

We also have visitor’s guides to popular parks like Waimea Canyon State Park, which protects the namesake canyon, nearby Kokee State Park, and the remote but beautiful Polihale State Park.

Also check out the ultimate guide to visiting Haena State Park on Kauai’s north shore, and a full guide to hiking the epic Kalalau Trail.

Check out our round-up of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kauai, from waterfalls you can view from the road to falls that require hiking and falls that are best seen from a helicopter or sightseeing flight.

Read our guide to Wailua River State Park to discover two easy-to-access Kauai waterfalls, and our trail guide for the easy hike to Ho’opi’i Falls. We also have an article on the best Kauai waterfall hikes.

And if a helicopter tour is part of your plans for Kauai, read our article on the top-rated helicopter tours in Kauai!

Hiking enthusiasts will want to read our article on the best hikes in Koke’e State Park: the trails here are some of the best hikes in Kauai!

We have detailed trail guides for the most popular Koke’e hikes, from the scenic Canyon Trail to the top of Waipo’o Falls, to the epic Awa’awapuhi Trail, challenging but very rewarding!

Also discover the best hikes in Waimea Canyon State Park, and the best hikes on Kauai’s north shore.

We also have a trail guide for the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail on Kauai’s scenic south shore, an article on how to hike the Sleeping Giant Trail, and a guide to the Kuilau Ridge Trail, one of the easy hikes on Kauai.

Get the scoop on the best botanical gardens in Kauai, from Limahuli Garden on the north shore to McBryde and Allerton Gardens on the south shore.

Learn about the best things to do in Hanalei, the charming town that sits in the middle of Kauai’s scenic north shore.

Read our guide to the best swimming beaches on Kauai, from Hanalei Bay on the north shore to Poipu Beach on the south shore! We also have a guide to the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai, and a round-up of the best Kauai north shore beaches.

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