Awesome Things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Are you planning a trip to the Big Island and want to see a volcano? Check out some of the best things to do at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park!
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Planning your vacation to Hawaii? Make sure to add the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to your list!

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a natural wonder that is so much fun to visit. Whether you want to see the volcanoes or explore everything this park offers, you can do so many things in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, no matter your time frame. 

Here is your guide to learning more about this park, how to visit it, and all the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park activities you will love to do! 

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Facts About Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has an incredible history, so if you love the cultural and historical side of visiting this park, be sure to take the tour! Otherwise, here are just a few facts on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 

This park was established back in 1916. Before it became a park, the native Hawaiians actually lived and worshipped there. Now it is open to everyone! Over one million visitors come to this Hawaii National Park each year. 

You can see two of the most active volcanoes in the entire world at the Volcanoes Park! Both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are located here. There are also some fascinating cultural places to explore here as well. 

How to Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If you want to visit the Volcanoes Park and reduce the commute to it, you can stay at many hotels or Airbnbs close by. 

It takes about 2 hours to drive from Kona to Volcanoes National Park, so making it a day trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park might be worth it. 

Image of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park entrance sign
Entrance Sign in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

Most of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park lodgings are located in Volcano Village, right next to the park. However, there is one, the Volcano House, inside the park! 

There is a $30 entrance fee per vehicle to visit the park, which is very budget-friendly, considering the amount of fun you can have here!

However, if you visit on the following days, it is free: 

  • Monday, January 17 
  • Saturday, April 16 
  • Thursday, August 4
  • Saturday, September 24
  • Friday, November 11 

Things To Do in Volcano National Park

Because there are so many fun things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, here are some of the top activities to enjoy while you are there! 

Visitor’s Center

One of the first things you should do when you arrive is to stop by the Visitor’s Center. There are volunteers and rangers to help you figure everything out.

Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, United States
Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

They will also have updated weather and volcanic conditions and any ranger-led activities happening during the day. 

There is also a gift shop where you can get cultural books and fun souvenirs. 

Tour

Plenty of great tours will show you around this huge national park. From helicopter tours to tour guides in the park, here are some of the best tours to go on! 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Eco Tour

On this Hawaii Volcanoes National Park tour, you will spend six hours on a private tour throughout the park.

You’ll learn the cultural aspects of the park and see some of its top features, including the steam vents, sulphur banks, active lava flows, devastation trail, and so much more! Check the latest rates and availability.

Big Island in a Day

This is one circle island tour that lasts an entire day around the Big Island. During this tour, you will get an hour and a half at the National Volcano Park. You will get to see a few cool sites and a short hike down to the lava tubes. Check the latest rates and availability.

Hilo Shore Excursion

This tour is five and a half hours long, and you’ll stay the majority of the time exploring the park. You will learn lots of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park history with your professional guide. See a lava eruption, Thurston Lava Tube, Chain of Craters Road, and a few other sites. Check the latest rates and availability.

Circle of Fire Helicopter Tour from Hilo

One of the best Hawaii Volcanoes National Park helicopter tours is the Circle of Fire. You will get an incredible aerial view of the two volcanoes at the park.

The helicopter tour focuses on the areas with the most volcanic action, so you will get an awesome up close view other tours cannot offer! Check the latest rates and availability.

Hawaii Small-Group Volcano Experience

This volcano experience is another one of the best tours of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You will travel around the Volcano Park with a smaller, more intimate group, making it a great romantic activity for your honeymoon! It is a 12-hour tour that includes both lunch and dinner. Check the latest rates and availability.

Hiking

There are plenty of awesome hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Depending on your time, you can explore the shorter hikes or go on longer ones to see some cool spots around the park. 

One of the best hikes in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the Crater Rim Trail. It takes you around the Kilauea Caldera and is quite beautiful. Most people start from Volcano House and go until the Thurston Lava Tube, which is about two miles one way. 

If you need a short, easy hike, take the Devastation Trail. It is a mile-long round trip on a paved trail. You will see lava fountains and all the after-effects from the Kīlauea Iki eruption in 1959. 

Tourist hiking on Kilauea Iki trail in Volcanoes National Park in Big Island of Hawaii. Trail leads through lush rain forest along the rim of Kilauea Iki and down to its still-steaming crater floor.
Hiking on Kilauea Iki trail in Volcanoes National Park in Big Island of Hawaii.

Another one of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hikes is the Kīlauea Iki Trail. If you want a challenge, this is the hike for you. It takes around 2 to 3 hours to complete depending on where you start. You will go through the lush rainforest and end up on the floor of Kīlauea Iki crater. 

There are tons more hikes to do here. Hiking in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is such a pretty way to see all the park has to offer. Find a couple of fun ways and go exploring! 

See the Lava Tubes and Lava Flows

There are some pretty incredible lava tubes to visit at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Nahuku Lava Tube (formerly Thurston Lava Tube) is one of the most popular ones to see.

Image of Nahuku lava tube on Big island Hawaii, USA
Nahuku Lava Tube (formerly Thurston Lava Tube).

Once you hike down there, you can walk through the tube. It is a pretty cool experience! 

You can also see active lava flows at many of the overlooks all throughout the park. 

Driving Tours

There are a few great roads you can drive down yourself that will take you to many of the popular locations around the Hawaii National Volcano Park. 

Chain of Craters Road

Due to many eruptions, the Chain of Craters Road has changed over time. Currently, it is around 19 miles and will take you through almost the entire park!

The Chain of Craters Road in Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.
The Chain of Craters Road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

There are many stops along the way, including Puhimau and Pauahi Craters, Mau Loa Maunaulu, Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs, and many other sites. At the end, you will see the Holei Sea Arch! 

Crater Rim Road

The Crater Rim Road is the second road that will take you through the park. It is around 11 miles and will show you Kilauea overlook, Wahinekapu, sulphur banks, and the Nahuku Lava Tube. 

Sulphur Banks

Ha’akulamanu, or sulphur banks are found at the park as well. Here you can go and see the volcanic gases seeping out of the ground. It is pretty fun to see, but don’t get too close! 

Sulphur Banks Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, United States
Sulphur Banks Trail at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

There is quite a smell here, so it’s best to do this walk quickly. However, I recommend stopping and reading some of the informative signs that explain what’s happening here.

Holei Sea Arch

The Holei Sea Arch is another one of the natural beauties of this park. At one point in time, it will collapse, but for right now, it is an incredible thing to see! You can see it at the end of the Chain of Craters Road. 

Mauna Loa Lookout

The Mauna Loa Lookout gives you stunning views of the volcanoes, old lava flows, and a lot of the National Park. When the sky is clear, you can even see the ocean from here! 

Camp

There is even camping in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park! You will find two different campgrounds where you can stay the night and enjoy being in beautiful nature.

Image of Namakani Paio Campground in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Namakani Paio Campground in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Bring a tent or stay in one of the cute cabin campgrounds! 

Stargazing

If you are visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at night, be sure to take some time to look at the stars. Most of the time, you will see stunning night sky views you won’t find anywhere else. 

Explore the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs

You can see these incredible images carved in stone that are hundreds of years old, carved by the native Hawaiians. You can see over 23,000 petroglyphs on the trail! 

Things to do in Volcano National Park FAQs

How much time do you need at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?

Most love to make it a day trip to see and explore all the things to do at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can do a couple-hour tour or spend the entire day hiking, camping, and exploring the natural beauty here.

Is Volcanoes National Park worth visiting?

Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is definitely worth it! There are so many fun things to do here, you will want to add this stop to your itinerary for sure.

Visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Wrap Up

There are so many incredible things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You can easily spend a few days exploring this historic site. Take some time during your vacation to go check it out! 

Looking for more things to do on the Big Island? Check out the best Big Island waterfalls, coolest Big Island volcano tours, how to get from Kona to Hilo, and budget-friendly Big Island activities!

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