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. Check with tour operators or call 808-985-6000 for recorded updates of volcanic activity. 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 a 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

Paradise Helicopters> offers a ride over the most active parts of the Kilauea volcano. This 40-50 minute ride will have you feeling the heat and then cooling down as you fly over some of the island’s magical waterfalls. This Big Island volcano tour is offered with or without doors!

Hike to See the Lava Flow

Hawaii Forest & Trail offers a guided 2-3 mile hike of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s most dynamic terrain with a National Park Certified Guide. Along with the hike, you will also explore a private lava tube complete with bright yellow and gold microbial mats. Guides provide gear, food, and drinks as well as insights into the history and legends of the volcano.

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 the 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.