Big Island, Hawaii
Volcano Activities

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Our most recommended Big Island, Hawaii 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.

From Kona and Waikoloa: Intimate Volcano Discovery Tour

2. 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.

Big Island: Volcanoes National Park Group or Private Hike

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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.

Big Island: Kilauea Volcano Hiking Tour

7. 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.

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

8. 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.

From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

9. 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.

Big Island: Kona Experience Hawaii Helicopter Tour

10. Big Island: Kona Experience Hawaii Helicopter Tour

Enjoy a true Hawaii experience with a premier helicopter adventure. You can explore all five volcanoes, hidden white and black sand beaches, lush waterfalls which cascade down 2,000-foot valley walls, breathtaking coastlines and 11 different climate zones. Hawaii is the largest of the islands, and thanks to Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, it’s still growing. Upon departure from Kona Airport, you will fly over the world-famous Kona coffee district and the slopes of Hualālai and Mauna Loa. You can learn about the unique history, geology, and culture of the "big island" through a special two-way communication system that lets you ask questions and get to you know your pilot. Arriving over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you’ll start the hunt for red-hot lava at Kīlauea, the world’s most active volcano, and continue around the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Vent. In winter, you’ll see snow atop Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. You can also watch for the sun glinting off the handful of astronomical observatories positioned on Mauna Kea, where scientists have the best earthbound views of the universe. Afterwards, you will head toward toward East Hawaii’s lush rainforests and the incomparable Kohala valleys. The views here are so spectacular that even the pilots, who see them on a daily basis, often say this area is their favorite hidden gem to share with visitors and guests. Rounding out your trip, you’ll enjoy a birds-eye view of iconic beaches, including Hāpuna Beach and Kua Bay, consistently voted as some of the best beaches in the world.

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What people are saying about Big Island, Hawaii

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 14 reviews

The volcano tour with Hawaii Forest & Trail Kona is something we had been looking forward to for a long time, and our high expectations were even exceeded. Three absolute highlights were the Kauhi Cavern lava tube with gold shining bacteria covering the walls (we even found a cave dwelling transparent insect), the epic bubbling lava lake at night time, and our tour guide Rob, who was a) extremely knowledgeable on volcanoes, animal and plant life, as well as the importance of Hawaii to astronaut training and preparing humanity for the long trip to Mars, b) very enthusiastic about being there with us and exploring the wonders of the island, and finally c) very kind and caring. We fully recommend this tour!

Great experience. From the quality of the van to the professionalism of our guide, Guinevere, everything was top notch. The private lava tube, the lunch, dinner, and snacks, and, of course, the nightlife me lava lake viewing made for a day that was memorable and highly enjoyable. Good quality rain jackets and umbrellas were provided. Good walking shoes and long pants are recommended.

We had such a wonderful time! Marcus was so knowledgeable, patient, respectful, and showed us quite a few places. He answered all of our questions, and we had many. Would recommend this tour and Marcus specifically!

John was great. Funny and informative and allowed for breaks to catch your breath. The hike isn’t a simple stroll but as an ex-smoker who doesn’t exercise, it was achievable and so glad we did it!

We had a wonderful experience on the volcano tour. Our guide Erik was very knowledgeable and answered all questions. Would recommend it to all visitors to the big island.