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Volcanoes National Park is the most visited location on the Big Island of Hawaii, and rightly so as the landscape is constantly being reshaped by the activity of Kilauea. Sometimes there is active lava flowing and gases being emitted, and at other times, the volcano takes a pause. At anytime, there are amazing sites and environment to see – unlike anywhere else on the planet.
Driving from the resort areas of Kailua-Kona and Kohala, or from Hilo, to visit Volcanoes National Park is the most popular day trip to do on the Big Island. It’s a must-do for any first time visitor, and because the park is constantly changing many visitors will return each time they visit the Big Island.
From the Kona side, it’s a full day so an early start is recommended. Our tour drives us directly to the Park with only a few sightseeing stops along the way so we can maximize our time at the park, but we couldn’t drive past the black sand beach at Punalu’u without just a quick look.
Once inside the Park, the tour will lead you to the best locations, and help you maximize your time. The Park is large and ranges from the Halema’uma’u Crater, venting steam and gases at 4000 feet, down to the Holei Arch, a beautiful sea arch on some of the newest coastline on the planet. We’ll see green natural forest surrounded by barren lava flows.
If there has been recent activity, it is recommended to check the NPS website for anything that may effect your visit. There is also a substantial visitor center on-site as well as an impressive art gallery, specializing in works depicting Hawaiian mythology.
Kona, Kohala or Hilo
Allow a full day to explore Volcanoes National Park. Expect 2.5 hours driving each way and 3-4 hours inside the Park
102 miles from Kona Airport to Volcanoes National Park entrance. 30 miles from Hilo to the entrance. There is approximates 25 miles of driving inside the Park.
Yes, all the commentary for Volcanoes and much more is included in the Big Island tour. If you plan to do more driving than just one day to explore Volcanoes, the the Big Island tour is the best value choice.
After the eruption activity of 2018, there is no active lava flow anywhere on the island. But this can change at any time. Always check with the NPS for the latest conditions. Even with no lava flowing, Volcanoes National Park is an amazing place to visit.
Dedicate a full day just for your visit to Volcanoes National Park. Save the 2nd part of the full island circle for another time. This will allow you to take your time and enjoy the sights and places to visit all along the north and east (Hamakua) coasts
Yes it does. Commentary plays on all roads inside the Park as well as the drives between Kona or Hilo and the Park – and back too.
The tour route follows Highway 11 around the south end of the island. If you go another way, you will not hear the commentary until you reach the park. From most places on the Kona side of the island, there is no major time-saving. The Saddle Road across the middle of the island is often shrouded in cloud.
Save the north end of the island for another day of sightseeing as there are many worthwhile stops to make and you will want o spend a full day just on those places.