$10.00 per vehicle - 7 days
$5.00 per individual - 7 days
$25.00 Hawai`i Tri-park Annual
I think most people who come to the Big Island for the first time know they want to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park but I don't know how many realize just how big and diverse this park is. To really get a chance to experience the highlights of this park, plan to spend a full day here.
I recommend first hitting up the visitor center which has a wealth of information. If you happen upon any ranger talks or ranger lead hikes (and have school-aged children), take the time to listen. The ranger I listened to spoke about what life was like growing up in the shadow of an active volcano and was truly the highlight of my day. After the visitor center, head up the road towards the Jaggar Museum and active (at the time this was published) Halema'uma'u Crater, stopping at the steam vents and sulfur works (which are on a path across the street from the steam vents) along the way. Next, make your way down the Chain of Craters Road, taking time to walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, stop to explore a crater and/or lava flow, and be blown away by the vast ocean views as you get closer to the sea. Stop at the petroglyphs before making your way to road's end wheeze land abruptly gives way to sea.
Tips: While in the park, be prepared for sudden changes In weather. When I arrived at the park it was windy, rainy, and cold but by the time I got down to the water it was very hot (and even more windy!). Bring your own food and water as there are no concessions inside the park. Pack sunscreen, good shoes, and a spirit for adventure!
Not many places exist where you can see jungle one moment and then desolate area due to lave flows. It was amazing. There were many great hikes to enjoy, some went down to the crater and others to lava tubes. We could see where the lava poured into the ocean. There were many areas covered with dry lava flows. There were steam vents everywhere. Overlooking the crater was the visitors center where you can learn about seismology. If you are on the Big Island, don't miss this place.
If you're on the Big Island, you really shouldn't miss Volcanoes National Park. There are very few places left where you can get up close and personal with an active volcano, travel or hike around the rim and crater, hike through a gigantic lava tube, and learn about seismology and volcanology. Kids love to learn about the legend of Pele and Hawaiian volcano folklore as well as modern interpretations of volcanic activity. Since it is on the south side of the island, plan a day (at a minimum) for your visit. There are also vacation cabins available here for military families.
This was definitely a highlight of our trip. We were actually there on a Make-a-Wish (our son wished to see a volcano) and we had NO idea just how amazing it would be. We went during the day and did a few little hikes and stood in plumes of steam then decided to stay til dark because we could see the crater hole GLOWING red with the lava below the surface. Everything is always changing there, so you never know what you see or where lava flows may be, but even if we hadn't seen lava or the active crater, it would still have been amazing. The steam vents themselves were incredible enough on their own!
I didn't give this five stars, because not all families find roughing it outdoors the most exciting place to bring children. But since we love the outdoors, this is no less than a four star place. Especially being that it is not often that we nor the children get to experience the wonders of valcanoes.
We went to the park as part of a tour of the Big Island. There was definitely a lot to see within the park. When we went my daughter was 1 1/2. Since we were there on vacation we were not sure if she would be able to come along and whether she'd even enjoy it. I had no idea of whether it would be safe for her to be exploring about volcanoes, being that I had never seen a volcano myself.
This place welcomes all ages. It is as safe as any other national park without volcanoes. There are plenty of trails to hike and many views to see. There are museums with tons of infrmation and videos to watch.
We did not bring a stroller (and I wouldn't recommend it). A carry-pack may be necessary depending on your child, though we allowed my daughter to walk and explore on her own.
Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. And be sure to wear comfortable shoes!!! You will be trekking upon all kinds of ground...jagged rocks, dust, mud, etc.
I cannot remember if we went to the black beaches here at the park, but if they are, the black sand beaches were by far one of my favorite sites...So different from the typical sandy beaches here in California.
Much to do and see. Have taken my family there many many times and have yet to be disappointed. The facilities are nice and the hiking is superb. If you come to the big island this is a not to be missed adventure. The weather can be sketchy though so dress for both and warm and cold.
The lava tube and views at this national park was amazing! So much fun to see and experience. I loved watching the people brave enough to trek through the vast open areas and explore around the lava. I loved watching it but I did not love doing it! The park itself is something you can do with the kids there may be a lot in and out of the car but well worth it to save your legs and spirits.
My husband and I decided we were Brave enough for the hike out to the main Lava flow...there was a 2 minute video to watch before but we decidded to take a picture of the sign that said this 2 minute video could save your life instead of watching it. NAIVE! We left around 4 becuase we decided this would be better than the middle of the day heat, which was true it was less hot. The walk was supposedly 3-4 miles: piece of cake right? WRONG! You are going up and down lava rocks - it may have been 4 miles as the crow flys but it took us 3.5 hours to walk to it! It was starting to get dark so the cool thing was you could really see the lava - it was amazing a true once in a life time experience the reason I say once in a life time is it took 4 hours to get back to the car because we got lost in the dark (our flashlight died after 3 hours) crawling over lava rocks for 4+ miles. It was not untill after 11pm that we even saw the parking lot!
ADVISE: Bring more than enough water, people had to turn back becuase they ran out and were afraid of getting sick! When you think you have enough throw one more bottle in, Bring a flash light w/extra batteries! Bring layers and good shoes that you don't mind throwing away afterward (your soles wear down)! A walking stick and gloves would rock! Watch the Video!! LOL!
We only had time for a short day trip - but we can't wait to go back. We explored a campground and are planning to camp next time there. Plus, hike the coastal trails.
For the day trip, we drove a route suggested by the park ranger at the visitors center. What a great place!
We also picked up a NP passport for our young son and Volcanoes NP is his first stamp!
Our favorite part was walking through a lava chute (kind of like a cave but not). We also like watching the steam vents and walking on the lava field-it was like walking on craters.
There are bathrooms (though not a lot) throughout the park and some have a drinking fountain. This is a place where you want to bring lunches, snacks, and bottles of water for sure (especially for younger ones).
There is a visitors center with a shop where you can buy a sweatshirt (it is surprisingly chilly). If you are driving yourself make sure you fill your tank before venturing up. There is a gas station with a little grocer on the backside of the park, but it isn't easy to find at all.
So you should be able to entertain everyone for a while. The steam vents are interesting and great fun for kids. The lava fields seem like the surface of the moon. There are areas of jungle with tree ferns right out of "Jurassic Park." Several overlooks into quiet (for now) craters. Lots of hiking trails. The highway goes all the way to the coast, where you can watch the crashing surf and the seabirds, or you can take a shorter loop around the caldera near the entrance.
Be advised that there are few facilities in the park. If you need a restroom, stop at the entrance, or you'll have to drive all the way to the end of the road (20 slow miles or so, as I recall) for the next one. I don't think there's any drinking water anywhere past the entrance, and definitely no food. Lastly, it's a fairly long drive from Kona, and there aren't any gas stations for a long way -- make sure you start with a full tank, or fill up somewhere along the coast before you cut across the south end of the island. I wasted one trip here by worrying about whether I'd have enough gas to get to Hilo -- don't let it happen to you.
Also also, it's surprisingly chilly at the park entrance area, even in the summer. The Volcano House sells a lot of sweatshirts. And don't expect to see lava flowing -- it's usually a long way in the distance, and the rangers usually limit access out of safety concerns. But you never know!
The volcanic park was great! I loved driving past all the lava rock and seeing the craters that the volcanoes left after the eruptions. It was fun walking in and exploring the lava tubes. They even have a gift shop and museum that gives you more information on the park and volcanoes. You can even see the active volcanic activity from a distance and see the steam from where the lava meets the ocean and cools. So neat! :)
The moving lava is just one of many attractions in the park. Extensive trails lead to steaming vents, fern forests, ancient petroglyphs, and even into old lava tubes. The best idea is to save visiting the flow for the end of the day, when you can watch the glowing lava hiss its way into the sea, creating a cloud of steam that turns an eerie purple color at sunset.
Get the inside scoop from parents who have been there!