Hilo
National Parks

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Our most recommended Hilo National Parks

Big Island: Hilo Doors-Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure

1. Big Island: Hilo Doors-Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure

On this helicopter doors-off experience, you will see the best of the Big Island, with views only accessible by air. See giant waterfalls flowing down gorgeous cliffs and active glowing lava. For those wanting to see Hawaii from a bird's eye view, this tour will take you there. Jump aboard the Hughes 500 Helicopter doors-off and fly over one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Find out for yourself why this is the ”hottest helicopter ride on Earth.” After over 35 years of activity, Kīlauea Volcano has made its mark on the geological structure of the island. Witness otherworldly landscapes like the incredible 8-mile river of frozen lava from Fissure 8 to the Pacific Ocean, the newest black sand beaches, and enormous craters created by recent events. Along the way, view Mauna Loa’s vistas, the beauty of lush Puna rainforests, and mesmerizing Hilo waterfalls. With no windows to shoot through, there is no better way for you to share crystal clear photographs and videos of your experience. Many of these Hawaii waterfalls are accessible by air only so you will gain exclusive access to some of the largest waterfalls on the island. 

Big Island: Evening Volcano Explorer from Hilo

2. 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.

From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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.

Big Island: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, & Coffee Farm Day-Trip

6. Big Island: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, & Coffee Farm Day-Trip

The morning is filled with guided visits to some of the most majestic waterfalls on the Big Island. The views stop you in your tracks at the Waipio Valley lookout, where a dramatic backdrop of lush cliffs drops into the sparkling blue ocean. Continue riding along the Hamakua coast as more postcard-worthy views pass by your window before visiting Akaka Falls and the famous Rainbow Falls. Take a short walk through the rainforest for an up-close view and plenty of photo opportunities. In the afternoon, explore the wonders of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, including steam vents, the Halema’uma’u and Kilauea Iki crater lookouts, and take a short hike along crater rim trail. From here, relax and take it all in at Punalu’u Beach, a great place to spot marine life from the black-sand shore. On the leisurely drive back around sunset, you’ll see views of South Point, the southernmost point of the United States, and Kealakekua Bay. Finally, enjoy a visit to Kona Coffee Farm. Stroll through the orchards with your guide and learn about the harvesting and milling process while sampling a warm cup of Kona-grown coffee.

Frequently asked questions about Hilo National Parks

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What people are saying about Hilo

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 11 reviews

The tour was really good and specially for our tour guide Brett. It was raining that day amd the visibility was really low, so we could not go to the active volcano but to make it up he drove us to the solidified lava fields and also showed us another dormant crater. He provided us with snacks, umbrellas and rain jackets and took very good care of us. The two waterfalls Akaka and Rainbow falls were amazing. We went to the big island just to see the active volcano, too bad it was raining… wish we could still walk up there. Other than that th whole tour was fun.

This was by far the highlight of my trip to Hawaii! Kurt, our guide, was OUTSTANDING! My daughter and myself spike about it later and agreed that Kurt made the adventure. His knowledge of the islands, the legends and the actual history, the plants as well as all the wild animals ... unbelievable. The places that we stopped at were beautiful, but with the information from Kurt... they came to life. We would do the tour again and are recommending it to everyone we speak to.

David was a great tour guide. Got to see all the highlights. Perfect if you don’t have a vehicle or have limited time to explore the big island

Loved the different scenery. Our guide was wonderful and caring. Highly recommend this tour.

Guide was incredible and given ample time to experience all stops.