Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
A Sacred Experience
When Members ask us for our number-one Big Island travel recommendation, this is it!
Witnessing a volcanic eruption is perhaps one of the most humbling experiences a person can have in a lifetime. Visiting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park will demonstrate the sheer magnificence of the planet beneath your feet. You will watch as a seemingly destructive force engages in the act of creation of what will one day become fertile land. There are four major volcanoes on Hawaiʻi Island. But it is each eruption of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, both within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which cause the Big Island of Hawaiʻi to continue to grow.
Kilauea, perhaps the most famous volcano on the Big Island, is almost as big as the island of Oahu. The Halemaʻumaʻu crater is said to be home of the goddess Pelehonuamea, and she has been quite busy. Kilauea is thought to be among the most active volcanoes on Earth, putting on dazzling shows with her eruptions. You will definitely want to explore the best locations to view Kilauea’s eruptions before visiting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. When you see Kilauea, please be respectful as you are witnessing a sacred event on sacred land.
It’s almost hard to comprehend the staggering magnitude of the Mauna Loa volcano. Greater than 13,000 feet above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth. But its beginnings are not what you see. It begins at the bottom of the ocean, more than 30,000 feet below the summit you see. Mauna Loa actually makes up more than half of the island of Hawaiʻi and is so massive that the seafloor bends under its weight. Mauna Loa lava flows were relatively active in the past, erupting about every five to six years. However, it hasn’t erupted since 1984. While it’s not something to bank on, you could be fortunate enough to see activity from Mauna Loa when you’re visiting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
Driving To and Through
Visiting Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park will definitely require your own transportation arrangements as there are no shuttles or public transportation within the park. How you get to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park depends on whether you are coming from Hilo, Kailua-Kona, or Waikoloa. If you are heading to the park from Hilo, it’s about a 30-minute drive. Kailua-Kona or Waikoloa can take between two and three hours.
You can drive through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park easily without requiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Once inside the park, it will take anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours to complete the 38-mile round trip experience. You may want to plan more time if you plan to do a bit of hiking. No matter how long you decide to visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, make sure you’re prepared for changing weather.
Hours & Fees
You can get to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park whenever is most convenient for your schedule. The park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This includes holidays. As you’d expect, summer months and other popular travel times can cause the park to be crowded.
There are fees to enter the park, which can be paid in advance, online. Standard size vehicles are $30 each for a 7-day pass. You’ll want to check the National Park Service website ahead of time for any restrictions or road closures.
The Easiest Way To Get There
You will want to rent a car so you can drive through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park at your leisure. Plus, the drive to and from the park offers a host of beach parks you can visit to complete your day. Discover how to get to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park hassle-free by renting your vehicle with GoVibe. Our entire process from choosing your vehicle to our concierge pick-up and drop-off is simple and stress-free. Find local cars at prices cheaper than the national rental chains. Download the GoVibe app now and start planning your visit to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.