When most people think of Hawai’i, they think of paradise. With its lush green islands, spectacular waterfalls and gorgeous beaches, it’s easy to see why. But what many people don’t know is that Hawai’i is also home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world. So if you’re looking for an adventure, then a trip to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a must.
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the birth and development of the Hawaiian Islands, and ongoing studies into the processes of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.
Each national park has its own unique history and fun facts, but because Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is so dynamic and its landscape changes every year, it’s even more fascinating.
Here are some fun and interesting facts about Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park:
Getting to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
The island of Hawai’i, the “Big Island”, has two airports, one located in Kona and the other in Hilo. The Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park summit area, which is the most widely visited section of the park, is a 45-minute drive from Hilo and 2-2.5 hour drive from Kona.
Most visitors fly into the Kona airport, making that airport a little busier than the one in Hilo. If you can get reasonable flights, I encourage you to fly into one airport and fly out of the other so that you can experience as much of the island as possible. Be sure to check on one-way rental car prices first. If you’re looking for things to do in Kona during your trip, check out this guide.
Don’t worry too much about which airport to fly into, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is accessible from both sides of the island. You will need a rental car to explore the park as there is no public transportation in the park and other attractions are really spread out across the rest of the Big Island.
When To Visit
Temperatures and conditions vary significantly depending on the altitude and time of year in Hawai’i. The weather at the summit of Kilauea, which is 4,000 feet, changes daily and can be rainy and cold at any time of the year.
The driest season in Hawai’i is May through October, but it can rain any time of the year. The park’s coastal area at the end of the Chain of Craters Road is often hot, dry and windy, with the possibility of showers. If you want to avoid the crowds, spring and fall are generally the best times to visit the Big Island.
Time At The Park
If you want to see the lava up close*, allow at least two full days to visit Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. If you don’t plan to see lava up close, you can fit the highlights of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park into one day, but you can easily spend more than 3 days in the park.
Here are some tips to help you plan your visit to the park: