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Suggestions needed for one night on Big Island - volcanoes

houston
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3 posts
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Suggestions needed for one night on Big Island - volcanoes

We will be staying on Maui for one week in March but, want to spend one day/night on the Big Island at the Volcano National Park. We assume we should fly to Hilo, but where should we stay and should we take a tour into the park for the day rather than rent a car? Suggestons as to the best way (we have 3 kids 12, 9 and 6) to see the park, spend the night and enjoy ourselves would be appreciated!!

Honolulu, HI
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1. Re: Suggestions needed for one night on Big Island - volcanoes

Definitely fly into Hilo because driving from Kona would take about 2 hours. I'd rent a car, just so you can do things at your own pace and see attractions not included in the tour. The park rangers are very knowledgeable and can tell you all you want to know about the park.

Get there early so you have time to leisurely drive around Crater Rim Drive and stop off at all the areas of interest. This way, you'll also have time to do a small hike through the rainforest.

You can have lunch at the Volcano House hotel that overlooks the crater or do a small drive to Volcano town to grab a cheap bite to eat. We've always liked the Lava Rock Cafe for a casual lunch. Check if the little store in front has Ohelo berry turnovers. Ohelo berries only grow around the volcano area and are pretty rare. There's also a small winery nearby that has sampling available of their tropical wines. Of course the kids won't have much to do there, but the trip there is quick and we usually pop in to pick up a bottle or two for back home.

After lunch, head back to the park and down the Chain of Craters Road. Few stop offs along the way and it's a gorgeous ocean view the whole way down. Definitely worth it to see the authentic petroglyph field. It's amazing how many there are and that they were created so long ago. There's also a sea arch worth stopping to see. What's also interesting is that the different flows are marked with what year they happened. We used to keep an eye out for the year we were born. Your kids are probably too young, but you and your husband will probably find one.

Most people wait until almost sunset to rush down this road and they miss the stops. It's about a 30 minute drive that has a lot of hairpin turns, so it's not the best idea. Also, the earlier you get to the end, the better your parking spot will be. We've had to walk almost a mile to get a good view of where the lava hits the ocean because parking is so limited.

After the sun goes down, stay a while to enjoy the views of the fiery orange lava hitting the water and creating a giant steam plume. Then pack it up and drive to your hotel. I'd suggest the Volcano House because of its location and historical value. Hilo is not known for great accommodation and most of the hotels there are overdue for renovations.

houston
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2. Re: Suggestions needed for one night on Big Island - volcanoes

Thanks for the great info. We will be sure to follow your advice. Can not thank you enough for taking the time to help us make the most of our trip over to the Big Island.