Plan Your Visit
If you are staying for one night or several, there are many ways to experience this part of the island. Whether you enjoy hiking, shopping for unique gifts and artwork or taking it easy, staying in Volcano Village has something for everyone.
Suggested length of stay: 2 to 3 days
Best time to visit: Any time of year. Volcano receives more than 100 inches of rain a year, but that provides us with our wonderful rain forest environment. The rainiest months are from November to March. At an elevation of 4,000 feet, Volcano enjoys cooler daytime temperatures than Hilo.
Weather: Temperatures and conditions can be unpredictable, so it is advisable to pack for cold and warm weather. Be sure to check the weather forecast and don’t forget sturdy walking shoes or an umbrella. You might experience several seasons in one day.
Current Lava Conditions: Learn more about current lava conditions at both the crater's lava lake at the summit and Puʻu ʻŌʻō on the East Rift Zone.
Download a Driving Tour App: Explore Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park with a guided tour experience designed to help visitors make the most of their stay on the Big Island.
Day One – Arrival at Hale ‘Ohu
Arrive between 3 and 6 p.m., so that you can relax and take a stroll around the property. Explore Hale ‘Ohu’s well-maintained garden and take a short stroll along our Rainforest Walk.
Then, head over to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park is open 24 hours a day. The vehicle pass is $25 and is valid for seven days. Visit the Kīlauea Visitor Center to get some maps and ask questions. Ask about any special events or guided hikes that may be offered. Plus, get advice on viewing lava activity. The center closes at 5 p.m. Next, drive over to Jaggar Museum, which is open until 8 p.m. At the Jaggar Museum's lookout you can get a glimpse of Halema’uma’u (Kīlauea’s crater) with its active lava lake. You can get information and talk to Park Rangers here too. On the way to Jaggar, stop by the Sulphur Banks and Steam Vents.
Return to the park in the morning to continue your Crater Rim Tour by exploring the Thurston Lava Tube and taking a short walk along Devastation Trail. There are also longer hikes to Kīlauea Iki Crater or to the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs. Then proceed to the Chain of Craters Road, which is a 38-mile roundtrip drive that will take you to the ocean. Along the way you can stop at lookouts and trail-heads where you can see first-hand the effects of past lava flows. You can spend from two hours to all day depending on the hikes and activities you choose.
Lunch: Eagles Lighthouse Café or Kīlauea General Store – Pick-up lunch items for a picnic at either of these two shops. There are a number of picnic spots in the park.
Alternative – Get up super early for a lava boat tour and see first-hand lava entering the ocean from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō on the East Rift Zone. Boat tours leave from Isaac Hale Beach Park/Pohoiki Boat Ramp in Pāhoa, which is about a one-hour drive from here. There are morning and afternoon tours, but the early morning tours are the most popular to see the spectacular lava glow. After your tour, return to Hale ‘Ohu to enjoy your breakfast before heading out on another adventure. Please note that the ocean entry lava is currently not flowing.
These four operators are licensed to offer ocean entry lava tours (should be booked in advance):
Alternative – See the sunrise over Halema’uma’u (Kīlauea’s crater) or down by the ocean. You can either head over to Jaggar Museum to watch the sunrise or drive down to the end of the Chain of Craters Road. At the ocean's edge from December to May, you may catch a glimpse of the North Pacific humpback whales returning to Hawaii from Gulf of Alaska.
Dinner: Ōhelo Café – Grab a wood-fired pizza and delicious salad. You can take it to go or eat there. They have wonderful beers and cocktails too.
Hike to the lava. Lava flows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō have mostly flowed to the south, down the slopes of Kilauea, across the coastal flat, and eventually flowing into the ocean where new land is created. You can hike to see lava from two different directions. First, from the end of the Chain of Craters Road in the park or from the Kalapana side (near Pāhoa at the end of Highway 130). The current lava flow is closer to the Kalapana side. At the Kalapana side, there are bike rentals available or consider a group hike with an experienced guide, but book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Lunch: Crater Rim Café – Get a sandwich, burger or salad at this no-frills and affordable eatery located at the Kīlauea Military Camp in the park.
Alternative – Volcano is home to many artists. First, visit Volcano Art Center’s gallery in the park featuring artwork inspired by Hawai’i. Then, head to 2400 Fahrenheit down the road to see a working glass-making studio and gallery. Finally, just down the block from Hale ‘Ohu is an enchanting gallery and shop called Volcano Garden Arts. They have a wide selection including jewelry and glassworks from Hawaiian artists. End your day tasting locally produced wines at Volcano Winery.
Lunch: Café Ono – Enjoy a wonderful vegetarian meal in the garden during your visit to Volcano Garden Arts.
Dinner: Kīlauea Lodge & Restaurant – Sitting by the roaring fire on a rainy night is a cozy way to spend the evening. The owners, Lorna and Albert, spent their honeymoon in the main house when Hale ‘Ohu was run as My Island Inn. Reservations are recommended.
Visit black and green sand beaches. Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is located 30 miles from Hale 'Ohu along Highway 11 between mile markers 55 and 56. This beach is easily accessible. You can often see endangered Hawksbill turtles and green turtles basking in the sun on the beach. Further down Highway 11, towards South Point, is Papakolea Beach, which is one of only four green sand beaches in the world. This beach is very remote. Swimming in the bay is possible although at times the surf can be rough. Also, there are no lifeguards, facilities or places to buy food and/or water here. At the South Point road sign between mile markers 69 and 70, take this road for eight miles to a parking area. Beach access is by foot only and is another 2.5 miles from the parking area.
Lunch: Punalu'u Bake Shop is famous for its Hawaiian sweetbread. This shop in Na`alehu also has other baked treats plus sandwiches, plate lunches and salads. Also in Na`alehu is Hana Hou Restaurant featuring burgers, sandwiches, salads and local favorites. Alternatively, you can bring a picnic lunch as there are tables at Punalu'u Beach Park.
Dinner: If you like Thai food, Volcano Village has two options for you. For an early dinner, head to Tuk Tuk Thai Food Truck before 6 p.m. Located around the corner at the Cooper Center, this popular food truck serves up reasonably priced and delicious Thai food. Or, visit Thai Thai Bistro for fresh, authentic Thai food.
Head to town, Hilo Town that is. Start off at the Hilo Farmer’s Market at the corner of Mamo and Kamehameha, which operates every day from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, there are more than 200 vendors. Afterwards, learn all about tsunamis, the destructive waves, at the Pacific Tsunami Museum. Hear first-hand stories and view exhibits detailing the history of tsunamis that have devastated Hilo as well as other parts of the world. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After visiting the museum, stroll around the quaint shops nearby. If you feel like some coffee and pastry, drop into Moonstruck Patisserie at 16 Furneaux Lane. Open Wednesdays to Saturday for incredible pastries, quiches and cakes. Then head back towards Volcano, stopping at Akatsuka Orchid Gardens for the 2 p.m. farm tour that takes you through an orchid maze.
Lunch: Ken’s House of Pancakes – A Hilo institution for local favorites like loco moco or saimin. They also have all your favorite American diner fare too.
Alternative – Take a soak in a natural hot tub at one of the warm ponds in the area. Try going to Kapoho Tide Pools, which is past Pāhoa and wander the tide pools. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear.
Lunch: Strato’s New York Pizzeria – After you have worked up an appetite at the warm ponds, head back to Pāhoa, a quirky small-town, for the best New York style pizza on the island. They have great salads too!
Dinner: Lava Rock Café – Casual dining with options like burgers, pastas and local specialties.
Add these weekly happenings to any of the suggestions listed above:
On Sundays, get an early start and head over to the Volcano Farmer’s Market at the Cooper Center, just around the corner on Wright Road. The market is open from 6 to 10 a.m. and has fresh local produce, breads, coffee, jams, candy plus some craft/gift items.
On Mondays, the Volcano Art Center offers a free guided tour of the rain forest from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. rain or shine on an easy, level gravel trail. Learn about the Niaulani rain forest and the ecological importance as one of the last old-growth koa and ōhia rain forests. Departs from the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani campus at 19-4074 Old Volcano Road. Donations are appreciated. Visit www.volcanoartcenter.org/rain-forest for more information.
On Wednesdays, stop by McCall Flower Farm in Volcano from 2 to 5 p.m. This farm stand has seasonal fruits and vegetables including strawberries, blueberries and blackberries as well as local honey and jam preserves. A quaint country road takes you to their stand at 19-4277 Haunani Drive.
On Fridays, the Crater Rim Café has a Lu’au dinner buffet from 5 to 8 p.m. Then, enjoy the free hula show (most Fridays) in the Lava Lounge next door, which is from 7 to 8 p.m. Call +1.808.967.8356 to confirm lu’au and hula dates.