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Hilo

Volcano tours

Our most recommended Hilo Volcano 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: Evening Volcano Explorer from Hilo

2. 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.

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

3. Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

Experience Hawaii's Big Island at your own pace with a self-guided driving tour. Stops include Hulihe's Palace, Magic Beach, and the Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Your tour of the Big Island begins outside the quaint town of Kailua-Kona. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. As you drive, you’ll see the historic Hulihe’e Palace, once the vacation home of the island’s royalty. Continue south to Magic Beach, where the sand sometimes simply disappears. After that is Kahalu'u Beach, a perfect place for snorkelers, followed by the sacred Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Next, pass the remnants of Hikiau Heiau, an important religious site in ancient Hawaii. Past that is the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park for those looking to learn more about the island’s history. See the Honaunau Rodeo Arena and learn all about Hawaii’s cowboys. Next up is Pebble Beach, where you’ll get to know the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. You’ll also have the option to check out the Kula Kai Caverns, left by ancient volcanic activity. Continuing on, reach the startling Punalu'u Beach, which features totally black sand. The route then passes an old sugar plantation, followed by the huge volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Pass by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can explore the island’s volcanoes up close. After that, drive through the picturesque town of Hilo. Then, cruise through the almost impossibly scenic Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Find surfers catching waves next at Honoli'i Beach. After that is Onomea Bay, featuring a spectacular hiking trail with views that can’t be beaten. Then, admire the astonishing flora at the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. Continuing on, you’ll arrive at the surprising sight of the Honohina Hongwanji Mission, a historic Buddhist temple. Next pass the Laupahoehoe Train Museum before reaching Laupahoehoe Point, a spectacular ocean vista. Don’t forget to snap some photos. Anyone hankering for a snack will definitely want to stop at the Hamakua Harvest Farmers Market before continuing on to the cowboy town of Waimea. Up next are a pair of great beaches: Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the island and Beach 69 is beloved by locals, so take your pick. Then you’ll arrive at the Kings Highway Foot Trail, where you’ll have the chance to see the ancient Waikoloa Petroglyphs. After that are another few scenic overlooks, followed by the beautiful Kekaha Kai State Park. Your tour concludes here, just north of where it began.

Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

4. Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

Explore Hawaii’s youngest and largest island and change the way you see the Big Island with this narrated, self-drive road trip. Visit historic sites, popular attractions, world-class beaches, and scenic hikes. Hear local stories, legends, and fun facts about the places you’re visiting and listen to unique Hawaiian music to entertain and relax you along the way. Drive across barren lava fields that are wedged between two active volcanoes. Visit a black sand beach and taste Hawaiian coffee and macadamia nuts on local farms. Be adventurous and go cliff diving or take advantage of the beautiful nature and take a scenic hike. See the tallest mountain in Hawaii at night for the ultimate stargazing experience. This adventure is great for families and solo travelers alike.

From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

5. From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

Start with a drive through Hilo along the historic waterfront, and head out to the old fishing village of Kalapana. Move on to Mackenzie State Recreation Area, take a hike along the now-closed highway. Follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the pine trees. Stop by Star of the Sea Painted Church, moved twice to save it from lava flows. Head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to visit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook, and Steaming Bluffs. Hike out to Keanakakoi Crater and walk over the most recent cracks and sinkholes left behind by the eruption of 2018. Later, enjoy a delicious dinner.

From Kona: Elite Volcano Hike

6. From Kona: Elite Volcano Hike

Explore Hawaii’s explosive side on foot with this tour. First, travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and biggest volcanoes on Earth. Learn more about the volcanology, geology, and history of these wonders from your National Park Service certified guide and enjoy an in-depth narration of the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you pass by. Afterward, explore Kaumana Caves, part of the lava tube system that brought lava as close as 1.5 miles from downtown Hilo in 1881 and take a peek inside the dramatic cathedral-like space. Next, head to Mackenzie State Recreation Area, where the historic eruption took place in 2018. Take a hike along the now-closed highway, and then follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the altered coastline and cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Afterward, head to Isaac Hale Beach Park. Be sure to check out the boat launch ramp, now sitting in a pond cut off from the ocean by a berm of lava and don’t forget to look for steam still rising from the cooling lava as you drive across it before stopping for a picnic-style lunch. Next travel to the crown jewel, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Briefly visit the Kilauea Iki Overlook before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. Get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater. Pass by the famous Sulphur Banks, through ancient forests of tree ferns, and look for native bird species and incredible rock slides. Enjoy some dinner after your sightseeing.

Kailua-Kona: Volcano and Kohala Landing Helicopter Tour

7. 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.

Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

8. Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

Your experience begins as you head out of Hilo to the Puna Coast, the location of the historic 2018 eruption and where your first stop of the Mackenzie State Recreation Area is. The highway there was closed by the marching 40-foot-tall wall of crumbly a’a lava as it continued to the sea. You will take a hike along the now-closed highway, and then follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the altered coastline and cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Isaac Hale Beach Park is next, where you can drive along the infamous “Fissure 8”, which erupted in the heart of Lelani Estate's subdivision. A picnic-style lunch will be served at the park, weather permitting. You will then travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You'll begin by briefly visiting the Kilauea Iki Overlook, before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. You can check out the activity there from the historic 2018 eruption, which buckled the road and caused racks and sinkholes. You’ll also get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater, along with views of the trail you will take into the Caldera. Throughout your 2-mile hike you can look for native birds, such as the yellow ‘amakihi and the red ‘apapane. Huge boulders came to rest at this location during ancient rock slides and eruptions, and you can look for marks left by previous visitors such as Benjamin Boyd and John Webster, just to name a few. Reaching the floor of Kilauea Calder there is an incredible rock slide to your left, evidence of the 2018 eruption, as well as the Halema’uma’u Crater which sits before you. The crater increased in size during the eruption, with the lava lake draining out of it leaving behind an enormous 1,000-foot-deep pit. Afterwards, you will return to the starting point.

Big Island Volcano Adventure: Full-Day from Hilo

9. Big Island Volcano Adventure: Full-Day from Hilo

The highlight of our Hilo adventure is a visit to the world-famous Kilauea Volcano, which has been erupting continuously since the 1980s. Your guide will tell you about the history of the volcano on your visit to the park and the Kilauea lava flow. On our Big Island Volcano Adventure enjoy the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Visitor Center, an ancient lava tube, Kilauea Iki Crater and more. We’ll take you on a drive along the famed Banyan Tree Drive. The trees you’ll see on the this road were planted by various local Hawaiians, political and religious leaders, famous authors, movie stars and world adventurers beginning back in 1933. At Akaka Falls we’ll stop so you can take photos. This waterfall is 80 feet tall and nearly 100 feet wide, and flows over a natural lava cave into a large freshwater pool surrounded by thick tropical vegetation.

Waikoloa/Kohala: Elite Volcano Hike

10. Waikoloa/Kohala: Elite Volcano Hike

Your experience begins as you head out of Hilo to the Puna Coast, the location of the historic 2018 eruption and where your first stop of the Mackenzie State Recreation Area is. The highway there was closed by the marching 40-foot-tall wall of crumbly a’a lava as it continued to the sea. You will take a hike along the now-closed highway, and then follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the altered coastline and cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Isaac Hale Beach Park is next, where you can drive along the infamous “Fissure 8”, which erupted in the heart of Lelani Estate's subdivision. A picnic-style lunch will be served at the park, weather permitting. You will then travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You'll begin by briefly visiting the Kilauea Iki Overlook, before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. You can check out the activity there from the historic 2018 eruption, which buckled the road and caused racks and sinkholes. You’ll also get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater, along with views of the trail you will take into the Caldera. Throughout your 2-mile hike you can look for native birds, such as the yellow ‘amakihi and the red ‘apapane. Huge boulders came to rest at this location during ancient rock slides and eruptions, and you can look for marks left by previous visitors such as Benjamin Boyd and John Webster, just to name a few. Reaching the floor of Kilauea Calder there is an incredible rock slide to your left, evidence of the 2018 eruption, as well as the Halema’uma’u Crater which sits before you. The crater increased in size during the eruption, with the lava lake draining out of it leaving behind an enormous 1,000-foot-deep pit.

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Frequently asked questions about Hilo Volcano Activities

What are other things to do than Volcano Activities that are worth visiting in Hilo?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Hilo

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What people are saying about Hilo

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9 reviews

Everyone was very nice and helpful, even though one of our party couldn't participate in the helicopter ride, because of the helicopter being over the weight limit. But 2 people in our party had been on a helicopter before so one of them stayed behind, the other 4 people had never been on a helicopter before and everybody enjoyed themselves.

I've never been on a helicopter before so didn't know what to expect. Sam is an amazing pilot with a ton of knowledge about Hawaiian culture, the island, and the volcanoes. The flight was smooth as silk from take off to landing. Highly recommend this excursion!

Darren, the pilot, was very knowledgeable and brought us through some of the most beautiful areas, turning so people on both sides of the helicopter were able to see and get some amazing pictures. The highlight of my vacation!

The narration about the history of The island was great. We learned so much. The price was also a good deal.

Great flight! Nice pilot who explained everything very well! Security top! Gladly again!