Aerial Tours in Honolulu and Oahu

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Aerial Tours

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Taking an aerial tour of the Islands opens up a world of perspective. Look down from the sky at the outline of the USS Arizona where it lies in its final resting place below the waters of Pearl Harbor, or get a glimpse of the vast carved expanse of a volcanic crater—here are views only seen by an "eye in the sky." Don't forget your camera.

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. This company stakes its claim as Hawaii's largest 'copter company, with tours on all the major islands and more than two dozen choppers in its fleet. The 45-minute Oahu tour seats up to 12 passengers and includes narration from your friendly pilot along with sweeping views of Waikiki, the beautiful windward coast, and the North Shore. If you like to see the world from above or are just pinched for time and want to get a quick overview of the whole island without renting a car, this is the way to go. 99 Kaulele Pl., Honolulu, HI, 96819. 808/831–8800. www.bluehawaiian.com. From $233.

Island Seaplane Service. Harking back to the days of the earliest air visitors to Hawaii, the seaplane has always had a special spot in island lore. The only seaplane service still operating in Hawaii takes off from Keehi Lagoon. Flight options are either a half-hour south and eastern Oahu shoreline tour or an hour-long island circle tour. The Pan Am Clipper may be gone, but you can revisit the experience with this company. 85 Lagoon Dr., Honolulu, HI, 96819. 808/836–6273. www.islandseaplane.com. From $169.

Makani Kai Helicopters. This may be the best way to see the beautiful Sacred Falls on the windward side of the island, as the park around the falls was closed to hikers after a deadly 1999 rock slide. Makani Kai dips the helicopter down to show you one of Hawaii's former favorite trails and the pristine waterfall it leads to. Tours can last either a half-or full hour. Customized private charters are available for up to 6 passengers. 130 Iolana Pl., Honolulu, HI, 96819. 808/834–5813. www.makanikai.com. From $170.

The Original Glider Rides. "Mr. Bill" has been offering piloted glider (sailplane) rides over the northwest end of Oahu's North Shore since 1970. Choose from piloted scenic rides for one or two passengers in sleek, bubble-top, motorless aircraft with aerial views of mountains, shoreline, coral pools, windsurfing sails, and, in winter, humpback whales. Seeking more thrills? You can also take a more acrobatic ride or take control yourself in a "mini lesson." Flights range from 15 to 60 minutes long and depart continuously from 10 to 5 daily. Dillingham Airfield, 69-132 Farrington Hwy., Waialua, HI, 96791. 808/677–3404. www.honolulusoaring.com. From $79.

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