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Ways to See Volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii

Ways to See Volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii has been called a land of fire for good reason: three of the Big Island’s five volcanoes are still active, including Mauna Loa, the world’s largest. These fiery outcrops continue to work their magic creating mountains, valleys, and waterfalls. Here’s how to decide which volcano tour is best for you.

For the Time-Crunched Visitor

The Big Island is named appropriately–there’s a lot to see and much ground to cover. Travelers with limited time to explore the island can benefit from a comprehensive Big Island day tour. A full day touring the island might include visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and its Chain of Craters Road, plus other notable attractions such as Akaka and Rainbow Falls and Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Day trips to experience the Big Island’s volcanoes are possible for travelers staying on the island of Oahu too.  

For the Bucket Lister

If there’s any destination for a bucket list-style splurge, it’s Hawaii. One of the best ways to see the island’s volcanoes is from above, aboard a helicopter. Soar over an active volcano, feeling the heat on your skin as you watch lava flow steaming into the ocean. Helicopter tours that include lava viewing range in length from 45 minutes to two hours.

For Couples

Turn up the romance on an already steamy Hawaiian vacation by combining visits to some of the island’s top volcanic sites–Mauna Kea State Recreation Area, Kilauea volcano, and the Jaggar Museum at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park–with a romantic dinner at Kilauea Lodge. Finish your day together gazing at the nighttime glow of Halemaumau Crater.

For the Active Traveler

Outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers can explore Hawaii’s volcanic landscape from the seat of a bike on a cycling tour of the island’s active Kilauea volcano. Peddle past lava fields and steaming caters, stopping for a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube and a visit to the Jaggar Museum with its excellent volcanic activity viewing area.

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10 Tours and Activities

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Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History

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The Big Island of Hawaii has a diverse ecosystem unlike anywhere else on the planet, and on this day-long nature tour, experience the beauty of its black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. If you’re lucky, find Hawaiian green sea turtles basking on the coast. Since the tour only requires a moderate amount of walking, it's an educational adventure for travelers of all ages, with snacks and refreshments included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$204.19
From
$204.19

Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour
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Small Group Big Island Twilight Volcano and Stargazing Tour

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385
Pack in some of Hawaii’s most mesmerizing sights during this Big Island twilight volcano tour. Sample Kona-grown coffee from a local coffee farm, keep an eye out for sea turtles at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, and taste Hawaiian sweet bread at Punalu’u Bakery. Then, explore Volcanoes National Park before ending your experience by stargazing in a secluded location—perfect for taking in views of the night sky.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$225.13
From
$225.13

Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

Helicopter Lava and Rainforests Adventure from Hilo

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156
A must-do for adrenaline junkies, this aerial adventure takes you over the island’s volcanic landscape, so you can peer into craters and spot lava. Plus enjoy views of waterfalls and other natural features of the Big Island while aboard.
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  • 55 minutes to 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$352.03
From
$352.03

Big Island Day Trip: Big Island Volcano Adventure Tour from Oahu

Big Island Day Trip: Big Island Volcano Adventure Tour from Oahu

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425
Stroll the black sand beaches in Hilo and feel the cool spray of Rainbow Falls on this full-day trip to the Big Island from Oahu. Learn about the island's fascinating geography and catch glimpses of the impressive Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Round-trip airfare and all on-island ground transportation are included.
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  • 13 hours 30 minutes
From
$572.77
From
$572.77

Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm
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Small-Group Big Island Tour: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kona Coffee Farm

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On this tour from Kona to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, experience some of the Big Island’s best sights in a small group capped at 14 people. In addition to stopping at Punalu’u Beach Park to walk down a black-sand beach, you have the chance to sip Kona coffee on the plantation right where it’s grown, as well as hike through a lava tube that was formed by Kilauea volcano. What’s more, receive an iPad to use on the tour. Use it for photos, videos, and info, as well as playing games or watching movies while traveling between the sites.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$186.99
From
$186.99

Volcano and Kohala Landing Helicopter Tour on the Big Island
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Volcano and Kohala Landing Helicopter Tour on the Big Island

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Soar over the rugged coastline, active volcanoes and cascading waterfalls of the Big Island on this unforgettable helicopter tour. Listen to expert narration from your pilot while soaking up incredible aerial views of smoking Kilauea Volcano and the magnificent mountains and sea cliffs of the Kohala Coast. Touch down on a lush and remote part of the island that most visitors never get to see, and enjoy your own private slice of paradise before taking to the skies again.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$758.05
From
$758.05

Hawaii Big Island Circle Small Group Tour: Waterfalls - Hilo - Volcano - Black Sand Beach
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Hawaii Big Island Circle Small Group Tour: Waterfalls - Hilo - Volcano - Black Sand Beach

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Circle the Big Island of Hawaii along the Mamalahoa Highway on this guided, full-day, small-group adventure. Travel almost 250 miles and visit the two biggest cities on the island, Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Climb through several climate zones and native rainforest to the summit of the world’s most active volcano inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. All while learning about Hawaii’s history, culture, religion, geology and fragile ecosystem. All entrance fees plus a hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$173.77
From
$173.77

Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group
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Big Island BIG Volcano Adventure from Kona: Small Group

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The Big Island is one of the most diverse places on earth. For visitors, it can be difficult to comprehend the vastness of the island's diversity but this tour offers the chance to immerse yourself in it. You'll explore the rainforests and waterfalls along Mauna Kea's Hamakua Coast and the summit of the active volcano Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, before watching Kilauea's lava lake glowing after sunset.
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  • 9 to 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$202.65
From
$202.65

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour

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53
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, a tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and climb to the rim of Kilauea volcano. On this small group tour, your guide will customize the pace and number of sights. When you book, note your lunch requirements in the checkout field.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$167.54
From
$167.54

Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner
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Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience with Lunch and Restaurant Dinner

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See two of the largest volcanoes in the world and stop at one of the most active on this full-day, small-group excursion. First, drive between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, stopping for lunch at Mauna Kea State Park. Then watch for current activity at Kilauea Volcano, the most active of the five volcanoes in Hawaii. Head to Kilauea National Park to see the beautiful landscapes and enjoy dinner at Kilauea Lodge. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$260.73
From
$260.73