Ways to See Volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii

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Hawaii has been called a land of fire for good reason: three of the Big Island’s five volcanoes are still active, including Mauna Loa, the world’s largest. These fiery outcrops continue to work their magic creating mountains, valleys, and waterfalls. Here’s how to decide which volcano tour is best for you.

For the Time-Crunched Visitor
The Big Island is named appropriately–there’s a lot to see and much ground to cover. Travelers with limited time to explore the island can benefit from a comprehensive Big Island day tour. A full day touring the island might include visits to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and its Chain of Craters Road, plus other notable attractions such as Akaka and Rainbow Falls and Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. Day trips to experience the Big Island’s volcanoes are possible for travelers staying on the island of Oahu too.  

For the Bucket Lister
If there’s any destination for a bucket list-style splurge, it’s Hawaii. One of the best ways to see the island’s volcanoes is from above, aboard a helicopter. Soar over an active volcano, feeling the heat on your skin as you watch lava flow steaming into the ocean. Helicopter tours that include lava viewing range in length from 45 minutes to two hours.

For Couples
Turn up the romance on an already steamy Hawaiian vacation by combining visits to some of the island’s top volcanic sites–Mauna Kea State Recreation Area, Kilauea volcano, and the Jaggar Museum at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park–with a romantic dinner at Kilauea Lodge. Finish your day together gazing at the nighttime glow of Halemaumau Crater.

For the Active Traveler
Outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers can explore Hawaii’s volcanic landscape from the seat of a bike on a cycling tour of the island’s active Kilauea volcano. Peddle past lava fields and steaming caters, stopping for a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube and a visit to the Jaggar Museum with its excellent volcanic activity viewing area.
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