The Best Volcano Tours in Hawaii
If you’re looking to see lava, your best (and safest) bet is to book a Hawaii volcano tour. The best ways to see lava on the Big Island are by boat, by helicopter or by hiking across the dry lava fields. Keep in mind that, because you’re dealing with mother nature, lava viewings are not guaranteed and certain safety risks do exist. That being said, here are the best volcano tours in Hawaii to get you safely to Pele’s red hot molten lava!
Lava Ocean Tours
Lava Ocean Tours will take you out on the water in the only US Coast Guard inspected lava boat, the LAVAONE, which offers the Big Island’s best lava boat tour! Get up close and feel the heat and hear the sizzle of molten lava flowing into the ocean. The best time of day to witness this wonder is early morning before sunrise or at sunset. However, no matter the time of day, you will be watching as new earth is formed on the Big Island. Passengers must be 4-75 years old, under 250 pounds and in good health.
Hawaii Volcano Tours by Helicopter
Volcanoes and Waterfalls - No Doors!
Feel The Heat! Take a ride in our Hughes 500 helicopter with no doors, and find out for yourself why the Travel Channel calls this the “hottest helicopter ride on Earth!” See live volcano activity and cool off over tropical waterfalls.
Tour time: 45 minutes.$299 BOOK NOW
Paradise Helicopters offers a ride over the most active parts of Kilauea volcano. This 40-50 minute ride will have you feeling the heat and then cooling down as you fly over some of the islands magical waterfalls. This Big Island volcano tour is offered with or without doors!
By Flight and By Foot
To make a full day of the volcano experience, take the Volcano by Air & Land tour offered by Hawaii Forest & Trail. Spend two hours flying over the most active volcanic sites and getting a bird’s eye view of the island. Next visit the main attractions of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, including Halemaumau Crater. Finally, take in the sights and sounds of Hawaii Island’s special places, like Punaluu Black Sand Beach.
Hike to See the Lava Flow
You may have seen photos of people hiking across jet black lava fields, steam rising through cracks in the background. As they journey across these coastal lava plains, the reward is a shoreline view of molten lava entering the sea. Hawaii Forest & Trail offers a guided version of this hike that includes a private access shortcut, taking 4 miles off the typical 8 plus mile hike. Guides provide gear, food and drinks as well as insights into the history and legends of the volcano. Although you can make this journey on your own, we recommend the guided adventure for safety reasons.
If you choose to make this hike on your own, please exercise caution, visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park website ahead of time and, most importantly, stay out of closed areas.
Volcano Air Tour from Kapalua, Maui
If you’re staying on the island of Maui and looking for a tour that will take you to see the volcano, check out Mokuele Air Tours departing from Kapalua, Maui. Though the highlight is the southern lava tubes of Hawaii Island where lava often flows into the sea, you will also get to see picturesque parts of Maui, cross the Alenuihaha channel and fly over stunning coastlines and mountains on Hawaii Island.
Not All Hawaii Volcano Tours Will Take You to See Lava
There are a lot of volcano tours on Hawaii Island, but not all of them will take you to see the lava flowing into the ocean. Most volcano tours will take you sightseeing around the island and on a trip through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But, this does not necessarily mean you will see the lava flow.
Big Island Volcano Day Trip from Another Island
The source of lava is Kilauea volcano which is located on the southeastern coast of Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island. If you’re visiting Hawaii but staying on an island other than Big Island, it might be worth it to book an inter-island flight over for a day trip. The two main airports on the island are the Kona International Airport (KOA) and the Hilo International Airport (ITO). If you’re flying to the Big Island and renting a car, keep in mind that the Hilo Airport is closer to the lava than the Kona Airport is. However, it’s still about an hour drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park from Hilo, so be sure to get an early start and plan accordingly. Some tours will offer airport pick-up, just check your tour details or call the company.
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