Day Trips from Hilo to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Our most recommended Hilo Day Trips From

Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

1. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

This is your opportunity to swim in a lagoon full of abundant sea life. Join your hosts on a fully guided and narrated beach snorkel tour along the pristine Hilo coastline. Make 2 snorkeling stops and also enjoy island snacks and juices. The volcanic beaches are renowned for their abundant sea turtle population, and the brackish water bays and lagoons are home to a wealth of sea life including octopus, eagle and manta rays, eels, corals, and tropical reef fish. Your experienced snorkel guide will teach you about the beautiful and lush surroundings, how the beaches and volcanic islands are made, and about the abundant marine world which lies below. Newcomers to snorkeling and children are welcome. Your trained guide will teach you the basics and be with you every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Children will be introduced to nature in a spectacular way.

Big Island: Full Day Circle Island Tour From Kona

2. Big Island: Full Day Circle Island Tour From Kona

Travel south into Kona coffee country for the first stop at Bay View Farm, a working 24-acre coffee farm nestled on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano just above beautiful Kealakekua Bay and known for the best Kona coffee since 1984. Here you will see coffee growing on the trees and learn about the various steps and processes in making coffee, all of which happen right here on the farm. Sample 100% Kona Coffee at a gorgeous overlook with stunning views of Kealakekua Bay and the monument to Captain Cook standing on the only sliver of British land in the United States. The adventure continues as you head through the South Kona and Ka’u Districts. Stunning views, alternating between stark lava flows and Hawaiian dry forest, are visible through the huge picture windows of your tour vehicle. Stop briefly at picturesque Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Lined with swaying coconut palm trees, this is one of the best black sand beaches on the island. Look for honu or green Hawaiian sea turtles feeding just offshore or sun-worshipping on the sand. Next travel to the crown jewel of Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Visit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook, and Steaming Bluffs. Walkthrough the famous Volcano House to view the smoking and steaming Kilauea Caldera. Dropping down into the lush eastern side of Kilauea Volcano, your next stop is Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Farm. In operation for more than 30 years, Mauna Loa has more than a dozen mac nut flavors to choose from, and visitors can watch the factory floor through glass windows. Big Island Candies is the next stop in Hilo-town. Founded in 1977, Big Island Candies is synonymous with quality. Big Island Candies welcomes everyone with samples of their amazing confections, still handmade using only the highest quality ingredients. Peek through the windows into the factory or browse the selection of gorgeous jewel-box gifts. Travel through quaint Hilo town where you drive along the historic waterfront and along the Onomea Scenic Route, a  four-mile section of the original old highway punctuated with historic wooden bridges, waterfalls, and lush tropical foliage. Waipio Valley, known as the Valley of Kings, is a place of impossibly steep cliffs carved by plunging waterfalls cascading more than a thousand feet to the valley floor below. Waipio Valley is still home to taro farmers as it has been for a thousand years. Look closely from the overlook and glimpses of the wild horses that roam the valley floor might be possible.

Hilo Bay: Myths & Legends Waterfall & Lagoon Raft Adventure

3. Hilo Bay: Myths & Legends Waterfall & Lagoon Raft Adventure

Step aboard a 6-passenger inflatable boat and explore Hilo's culturally rich coast within the calm of the protected Hilo Bay. Take a peek at the mysterious jungle waterfall and traverse upstream on Hawai'i's longest river.   Travel back in time to when Polynesian explorers discovered this volcanic island and gave meaning and stories to the land. Pass by Coconut Island, a small isle that was a refuge for warriors in ancient times. Visit popular sites on the bay including the ice ponds and bayfront black sand beach.  Have the chance to swing from the banyan trees over the lagoon. Enjoy views of historic Hilo Town and learn about its history of thriving sugar plantations and a large sampan fishing fleet before 2 major tsunamis in 1946 and 1960 changed the nature of the town. Keep an eye out for sea turtles swimming in the lagoon as you pass under the Singing Bridge on your way to the falls on Wailuku River.

Big Island: Evening Volcano Explorer from Hilo

4. Big Island: Evening Volcano Explorer from Hilo

Start with a drive through quaint Hilo town where you’ll drive along the historic waterfront before heading out to the old fishing village of Kalapana. Your National Park Service certified guide will discuss the volcanology, geology, and history of Kilauea Volcano, as well as providing in-depth narration on the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you’ll be passing by.  Hike out across the lava flow to the new black sand beach. Stop by Star of the Sea Painted Church, moved by the community twice to save it from advancing lava flows in 1990, this decommissioned church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Next travel to the crown jewel of Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. V isit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook, and Steaming Bluffs. Stop in at the famous Volcano House for incredible views of Kilauea Caldera, and hike to the cracks and sinkholes in the paved roads left behind by the historic eruption of 2018.

Mauna Kea: Stellar Explorer Tour from Hilo

5. Mauna Kea: Stellar Explorer Tour from Hilo

Visit Rainbow Falls and the Kaumana Caves before heading to your stargazing location. Travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and biggest volcanoes on Earth. To complete your tour, your guide will take you to one of the preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You will observe the deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture telescope, under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth. Enjoy narration from expert astronomers, who have written articles for well-known magazines and worked at world-class observatories for decades. The telescopes are a true purist way to view the night sky. Their fast focal ratio enables you to see sprawling wide field views of objects that simply not possible with other telescopes. Weather permitting and depending on what is visible in the current sky, you can observe galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon, and much more.

From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

6. From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

Start with a drive through Hilo along the historic waterfront, and head out to the old fishing village of Kalapana. Move on to Mackenzie State Recreation Area, take a hike along the now-closed highway. Follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the pine trees. Stop by Star of the Sea Painted Church, moved twice to save it from lava flows. Head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to visit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook, and Steaming Bluffs. Hike out to Keanakakoi Crater and walk over the most recent cracks and sinkholes left behind by the eruption of 2018. Later, enjoy a delicious dinner.

Big Island: Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfall Tours

7. Big Island: Small Group Waipio Valley and Waterfall Tours

After hotel pick-up from Kona and Kohala area hotels, head toward Waipio Valley while passing through Waimea and Parker Ranch, before switching to a 4WD van to descend into the majestic Waipio Valley. As you traverse shallow river streams and pass by taro fields surrounded by native flora and fauna, your guide will share the stories and legends of this special place while you marvel at Hawaii Island’s tallest waterfall, Hi’ilawe Falls, which cascades down 1300 feet in the back of the valley. Marvel the rugged sea cliffs and mile-long black sand beach as you head back to Waipio Valley lookout for the stunning views as you enjoy a gourmet lunch. In the afternoon, continue the drive down the scenic Hamakua Coast and visit the towering Akaka Falls, which plummet 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. If weather permits, you will get to swim or kayak under a private waterfall to cool down after a short hike. In Hilo, you will visit the famous Rainbow Falls, and explore an ancient lava cave to learn more about the volcanic processes that continue to shape the Big Island. The adventure ends with the return to Kona or Kohala Coast resorts via Saddle Road nestled between the world’s tallest sea mountain, Mauna Kea, and the world’s most massive mountain.

Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

8. Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

Your experience begins as you head out of Hilo to the Puna Coast, the location of the historic 2018 eruption and where your first stop of the Mackenzie State Recreation Area is. The highway there was closed by the marching 40-foot-tall wall of crumbly a’a lava as it continued to the sea. You will take a hike along the now-closed highway, and then follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the altered coastline and cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Isaac Hale Beach Park is next, where you can drive along the infamous “Fissure 8”, which erupted in the heart of Lelani Estate's subdivision. A picnic-style lunch will be served at the park, weather permitting. You will then travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You'll begin by briefly visiting the Kilauea Iki Overlook, before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. You can check out the activity there from the historic 2018 eruption, which buckled the road and caused racks and sinkholes. You’ll also get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater, along with views of the trail you will take into the Caldera. Throughout your 2-mile hike you can look for native birds, such as the yellow ‘amakihi and the red ‘apapane. Huge boulders came to rest at this location during ancient rock slides and eruptions, and you can look for marks left by previous visitors such as Benjamin Boyd and John Webster, just to name a few. Reaching the floor of Kilauea Calder there is an incredible rock slide to your left, evidence of the 2018 eruption, as well as the Halema’uma’u Crater which sits before you. The crater increased in size during the eruption, with the lava lake draining out of it leaving behind an enormous 1,000-foot-deep pit. Afterwards, you will return to the starting point.

Hilo: Hilo Bay and Coconut Island SUP Guided Tour

9. Hilo: Hilo Bay and Coconut Island SUP Guided Tour

Unlike anywhere else on the islands, Hilo Bay captures the feeling of going back in time. Join this guided 2-hour tour paddling with the majestic snow-capped peaks of Mauna Kea in the distance. Learn about the history of the last Hawaiian monarch at Queen Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens. Discover secluded coves, marine life that gathers in the tide pools, and Coconut Island.

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What people are saying about Hilo

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 12 reviews

The entire experience was phenomenal. Devyn was the BEST guide and he didn’t only take us snorkeling, but also took the time to teach and guide us through the beaches of Hilo. He was wonderful and made the experience so informative and safe.

Me and my husband had a wonderful experience on our tour! Our host Derek was incredible and made a lasting impression on us. We highly recommend! It’s most definitely a must see!

Kelsey was our guide and she was totally amazing! She took her time with us and provided so much history. She’s the best guide ever!!!

It was a fabulous experience. Our tour guide Devin was great. He knew exactly where to find the sea turtles and was very helpful.

Awesome trip! Kimo and Julia were great guides. More than we bargained for! Highly recommended!!