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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Hilo: Fly over Volcano National Park and Waterfalls

1. Hilo: Fly over Volcano National Park and Waterfalls

Take a helicopter ride over ever-changing scenery at Volcano National Park with this tour from Hilo. Journey over black sand beaches where lava once flowed into the sea. Take off from Hilo and fly directly to Volcano National Park. See the caldera of the Kilauea volcano. Admire the Pu'uo'o' volcanic cone. Snap pictures of the massive volcanos Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Discover new lava fields that are forming and go over old lava fields. View how waterfalls create a deep blue pools amid jungle greenery.

Big Island: Kilauea Volcano Hiking Tour

2. Big Island: Kilauea Volcano Hiking Tour

Experience an ohana tour with friends and family in style. Get exclusive access to an active volcano in the infamous Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Wander through lava tubes off the beaten track and stay until after dark for magnificent views of molten lava spewing from the Halemaumau Crater. Your tour includes 2-3 miles of hiking through the Big Island's lush and varied scenery, a knowledgeable guide who will teach you about the flora and fauna unique to Big Island, and round trip transportation from Kona or Waikaloa. Enjoy snacks, beverages, a Deli-style lunch prepared by Christine's Deli, and dinner, which are all included in your 10-12 hour day trip. Experience a once-in-a-lifetime view of the glowing lava at one of the last remaining active volcanoes in Hawaii. Have your camera ready to capture the orange glow of lava against the night sky.

From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

3. From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

Begin your adventure with a scenic drive over the stark and beautiful saddle road to set the stage for the day overlooking mesmerizing views including a stop to view the famous Rainbow Falls. If the Twilight option is selected, you will stay in the Park past sunset to view the eruption's glow. From there your first stop will be the Hawaii Volcanoes, National Park. Discover all the “must-see” spots within the Park including the dramatically changed Halemaumau Crater. After immersing yourself in the magnanimous history and culture of Volcanoes National Park and enjoying your picnic lunch, you will be driven to Hawaii Forest and Trail's private lava tube, Kauhi Cavern. Explore this unique cave with ceilings as high as 35 feet, expansive rooms, bright golden walls, and an “upside-down” forest of roots hanging from the cave ceiling. Upon returning to the surface from the lava tube exploration, enjoy a light afternoon snack with your fellow travelers and guide while reflecting on your in-depth volcano experience.

MaunaKea Stellar Explorer From Kona

4. MaunaKea Stellar Explorer From Kona

For an out-of-this-world experience, check out Maunakea Stellar Explorer. The in-house stellar explorers are the best and most experienced in Hawaii, with one having created the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Center and operated it for a decade. Staff have written noted articles and reviews for well-known astronomy magazines and have worked at world-class observatories. Next, you’ll travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and most massive volcanoes on Earth. Your National Park Service trained guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of these monstrous wonders, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by. While you’re taking in the breathtaking terrestrial views, your guide will prepare some heavenly views just as stunning. Setting up a state of the art solar telescope for your viewing pleasure, your specially trained guide will let you safely watch the sun come alive in true color with vibrant solar flares, sunspots, prominences, and any other current activity, weather permitting. Lastly, your guide will take you to one of the preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You’ll observe deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture Dobsonian telescope under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth. The Dobsonian telescopes are a true purist’s experience to view the night sky. Their fast focal ratio enables you to see sprawling wide field views of objects that simply aren’t possible with the types of telescopes used by other tours. Depending on what is visible in the current sky and weather permitting, you’ll observe galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon, and much more; all the highlights and showpiece objects like you’ve never seen before. 

Big Island: Hilo Doors-Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure

5. Big Island: Hilo Doors-Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure

On this helicopter doors-off experience, you will see the best of the Big Island, with views only accessible by air. See giant waterfalls flowing down gorgeous cliffs and active glowing lava. For those wanting to see Hawaii from a bird's eye view, this tour will take you there. Jump aboard the Hughes 500 Helicopter doors-off and fly over one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Find out for yourself why this is the ”hottest helicopter ride on Earth.” After over 35 years of activity, Kīlauea Volcano has made its mark on the geological structure of the island. Witness otherworldly landscapes like the incredible 8-mile river of frozen lava from Fissure 8 to the Pacific Ocean, the newest black sand beaches, and enormous craters created by recent events. Along the way, view Mauna Loa’s vistas, the beauty of lush Puna rainforests, and mesmerizing Hilo waterfalls. With no windows to shoot through, there is no better way for you to share crystal clear photographs and videos of your experience. Many of these Hawaii waterfalls are accessible by air only so you will gain exclusive access to some of the largest waterfalls on the island. 

Big Island: Volcanoes National Park Group or Private Hike

6. Big Island: Volcanoes National Park Group or Private Hike

See it all on a group or private hike in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, uncovering its natural wonders. Journey with your expert guide through native Hawaiian forests and the Kilauea Iki Crater to an active caldera, then travel into the center of the earth to explore Thurston Lava Tube. Start your trek at the Kilauea Visitor Center where you'll meet your friendly guide and get ready for your adventure. Venture into the lush rainforests and experience incredible views over the solidified lava lake in Kilauea Iki Crater. Weave your way between a field of steam vents and into a native Hawaiian forest to reach the caldera of a volcano. Observe the gigantic volcanic walls and feel the heat close against your skin. Finish your hike in style as you delve into the iconic Thurston Lava Tube, a stretching, subterranean cave formed by ancient flowing lava. Feel the wonder of one of the park's most popular attractions before heading back to the visitor center.

Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour

7. Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour

Enjoy a fully narrated adventure starting with a stop at a Kona Coffee Farm. Walk through a lava tube and orchards with your guide to learn about the harvesting and milling process while sampling a warm cup of Kona-grown coffee. Continue through the scenic view of the Kealakekua Bay and South Point, the southernmost point of the United States. Relax at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach to spot marine life, like Hawaii’s green sea turtles, from the shore. Next, go to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Tour the Chain of Craters Road for the “mountain to sea” experience. Stop by and learn about volcanic eruptions and flow sites, the park coastline, and the Holei Sea Arch. Visit Kilauea Iki Lookout, steam vents, Halema’uma’u Crater, and crater rim trail. After enjoying dinner at a local café near the park, visit a secluded location for stargazing. Depending on weather conditions, observe stars, planets, galaxies, and more.

From Waikoloa: Big Island Tour with Lunch

8. From Waikoloa: Big Island Tour with Lunch

Circle the Big Island of Hawaii, stopping at many of its iconic attractions in just 1 day. Get picked up from your accommodation. Head to a Kona coffee farm for a private tasting tour to sample one of the island's most important products. Then stop at one of the black sand beaches the island is known for and spot giant sea turtles sunbathing. From there, head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the island's natural crown jewel. Visit the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook and Steaming Bluffs before taking a walk through the famous Volcano House to view smoking and steaming Kilauea Caldera. Journey down the lush eastern side of Kilauea Volcano to your next stop at Big Island Candies, an island institution boasting an assortment of high-quality, handmade confections. Peek through the windows into the factory or browse the selection of gorgeous jewel-box gifts. Next, head to the fertile Waipio Valley where taro farmers have tilled the land for nearly a thousand years. Catch sweeping views of the valley from the overlook and even glimpses of native wild horses if you're lucky. At the end of an epic day, enjoy drop-off at your hotel.

Big Island: Evening Volcano Explorer from Hilo

9. Big Island: Evening Volcano Explorer from Hilo

Start with a drive through quaint Hilo town where you’ll drive along the historic waterfront before heading out to the old fishing village of Kalapana. Your National Park Service certified guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of Kilauea Volcano, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by.  Hike out across the lava flow to the new black sand beach. Stop by Star of the Sea Painted Church, moved by the community twice to save it from advancing lava flows in 1990, this decommissioned church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Next travel to the crown jewel of Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. V isit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook, and Steaming Bluffs. Stop in at the famous Volcano House for incredible views of Kilauea Caldera, and hike to the cracks and sinkholes in the paved roads left behind by the historic eruption of 2018.

Kailua-Kona: Volcano and Kohala Landing Helicopter Tour

10. Kailua-Kona: Volcano and Kohala Landing Helicopter Tour

See the immense beauty of Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island. Depart from Kona International Airport for a helicopter tour over the Kona coffee district and towards Kohala. Explore the mountains with a special landing after skirting 3 towering volcanoes: Hualālai, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa. Venture into the area surrounding Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to hunt out any current lava activity and see historic flows frozen in time. Sweep north to Hilo town and the lush rainforests of the east. Notice how the windward side of the island is transformed by the water caught by the mountains. Next, disembark deep in Kohala and walk the same fertile valleys that Hawaii’s King Kamehameha the Great did as a child. Learn about local legends, culture, and diverse wildlife in an area normally only accessible by hours of hiking. After exploring on the ground, take to the air again to view the drastic landscape change from windward to leeward, and see world-famous white-sand beaches and resorts on the route back to Kona.

Other Sightseeing Options in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 232 reviews

This is an excellent tour, so many amazing stops giving you an excellent oversight of the island. Our tour guide Robbie shared so much about her heritage with us, stories and general knowledge keeping us entertained all day. The coffee farm was a great way to start the day, the waterfalls were beautiful and the Volcano National Park was spectacular. We would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see a bit of everything.

Truly a once in a lifetime experience, well with the money. It is a long day but it is required to see all of the areas of the island on the tour. Aaron was unbelievably knowledgeable and was very kind and accommodating. I would recommend sticking with his schedule so you have the opportunity to see everything plus a little extra.

This was a really good tour. Our guide, Jennifer, was very knowledgeable, friendly and was attentive to our condition. It was hot and this is quite a workout. She made sure we hydrated and would frequently ask if we needed a break. It seemed like we were walking on the moon. It was so cool!

Great helicopter flight that was really worth it. Super nice and competent pilot, who made sure that everyone saw the highlight to be seen.

Our guide, Eugene, was awesome. Very knowledgeable and helpful. This was a fantastic experience. Highly recommended.