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Things to do in Kilauea

Our most recommended things to do in Kilauea

Hilo: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Waterfalls Flight

1. Hilo: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Waterfalls Flight

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.

From Kona and Waikoloa: Kilauea Volcano Discovery Tour

2. From Kona and Waikoloa: Kilauea 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.

From Waikoloa: Big Island Tour with Lunch

3. 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: 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.

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

5. 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.

Kona: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Tour

6. Kona: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Tour

First travel south into Kona coffee country for the first stop at the Bay View Farm, a working 24-acre coffee farm nestled on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano, just above beautiful Kealakekua Bay. See the coffee beans growing on the trees and learn about the various steps and processes in making coffee, all of which happen right on the farm. Sample 100% Kona Coffee at a gorgeous overlook with stunning views of Kealakekua Bay and the monument to Captain Cook standing on the only sliver of British land in the United States. Continue the adventure as you head through the South Kona and Ka’u Districts. Enjoy the stunning views of the region, alternating between stark lava flows and the Hawaiian dry forest, which are visible through the huge picture windows of your tour vehicle. Stop briefly at Punalu’u Bake Shop, the southernmost bakery in America. Offering the finest time-honored Hawaiian sweetbreads since 1991, the Bake Shop offers an array of breads and cookies available for purchase. Shortly thereafter, arrive at picturesque Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Lined with swaying coconut palm trees, this is one of the best black sand beaches on the island. Stroll along the beach and look for honu (Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles) feeding just offshore, or sun-worshipping on the sand. Enjoy a picnic-style lunch here, weather permitting. Next, travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Volcano Art Center, and the famed Sulphur Banks. Take a hike out to Keanakako’i Crater and step over the sinkholes and cracks in the roads left behind by the historic 2018 eruption. Then make your way to Mauna Ulu, one of the most culturally important locations in the Park. Take a quick break at Volcano House, which has been welcoming guests such as Mark Twain and Jack London to Kilauea since 1864. At the end of an epic day, enjoy drop-off to your hotel.

From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

7. 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Kilauea

Want to discover all there is to do in Kilauea? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Kilauea

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 130 reviews

This was an amazing experience. I would have enjoyed more hiking. But the stops were all incredible and I loved everything we viewed. The steaming crater was amazing. The private lava tube was absolutely spectacular and a truly unique experience. I really enjoyed the fissures and the cinder cone. And the view from the cliffs at dinner was awe inspiring! Maddie was a great guide and took care of everything you could want on a full day tour. The food and snacks were delicious and dinner hot and a wonderful. I highly recommend this excursion!

Since it was my first time to experience a helicopter, I felt very scared at first and only look at the scenery in the camera. The team worked well together. The pilots have great skills and can chat and explain the scenery. The process of tilting at the view is very exciting. I feel like it's a roller coaster ride. However, as the plane flew through the clouds, it felt like my dream had come true.

Gwenivere, our driver and host, was the best! She was very knowledgeable of all the sights and Hawaiian protocols and kept us entertained and graciously accommodated for throughout. We felt safe and important throughout. Thank you Lady G!

So worth the trip, seeing a live volcano, was on my bucket list, and this help fulfill that

Our guide Maddie was terrific. She made it interesting and fun.