Over 9 million people visited Hawaii in 2017, up nearly 5% from the previous year. As more and more tourists visit one of the most beautiful destinations on earth, why not stray from the beaten path by leaving the ground altogether? Some of Oahu’s most breathtaking scenery and remote destinations are even easier to view from the air, and once you reach the island, they’re all just a helicopter ride away.
Hanauma, meaning curved bay, such as that of an indigenous canoe, is a popular destination for fishing and recreation. However, its bowl-shaped shoreline is a protected nature reserve, making it nearly pristine from the air. Its clear waters make its reef visible from the air and the surrounding greenery and mountains put Hanauma at the top of the list of helicopter rides Oahu.
No list of helicopter rides Oahu is ever complete without Diamond Head, Waikiki’s expansive eastern crater. Diamond Head was formed by a volcanic explosion hundreds of thousands of years ago, which formed a perfect ring bordering the summit of Le’ahi. While Diamond Head is accessible via walking trail, viewing it by air gives you a sense of the sheer size and magnitude (pun intended) of the crater in relation to the surrounding coastline.
Makapu’u Beach (also known as Makapu’u Point) is on the eastern side of Oahu, known for its pounding surf and surrounding black lava rock. The wide expanse of beach can have powerful rip currents and isn’t always safe to walk along at certain times of the year, but an aerial vantage point can allow you to see the famous Makapu’u Lighthouse and black “eyes” (stone protrusions) just outside the sea cave. Viewing Makapu’u Beach in an open door helicopter tour can allow you to feel the sea spray and dramatic winds without having to brave the surf yourself.
One of the best Hawaii helicopter tours Oahu has to offer is of Secret Island,/a> a small beach off of Kualoa Ranch. In an area already known for its scenery (it was the location used in Jurassic Park) Secret Island is a lovely geological formation in Kaneohe Bay. Because it is so far away from the usual foot traffic, it ranks highly on the list of helicopter rides Oahu.
The Koolau Mountain Range forms a 37 mile border on Oahu’s eastern side. While casual day-hikers may only be able to see a fraction of the range in a single visit, helicopter rides in oahu allow you to see the entire untouched mountain range in one day. The best helicopter tours in Oahu will also recommend doing this tour with the doors open.
Your visit to “The Gathering Place” should be as unique and original as you are. Talk to your guides and find out how to take an Oahu helicopter tour next time you’re here–the memories will last a lifetime.