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Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

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Calgary, Canada
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Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

I am travelling with my teenage sons to the Big Island. We are based at Waikoloa on the West Side of the Island. We plan to travel to Hilo and Volcano Park. Were going to do a day trip, but are now wondering if we should stay over-night in order to best explore. We are there 7 nights, already booked at our condo, but would do an overnight trip if you think its worth it. Any opinions out there?

California
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1. Re: Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

Hard question, sort of depends on how much time you wish to dedicate to exploring the park. I'm just guessing but I bet 2/3 of the people visiting VNP are staying on the Kona (Waikoloa) side of the island and just make a long day trip out of it. For me I would hate to change hotel rooms if I was only spending 7 nights on the island. Your kids would be another question, my 3 teens are ready to leave after a few hours, other's might love a couple of days.

Canada
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2. Re: Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

An option to consider would be 1 double booked night stay in Volcano. The accommodation choices are pretty reasonably priced.

This would allow you to stay for any evening viewing of the Volcano....without having to worry about a brutal night time return drive to the west side. ( which I don't recommend)

You would not have to check out of your condo..just pack an overnight bag and do some exploring...perhaps taking in the Hamakua coast on the return.

If you are flying in and out of KOA....which I suspect you are.....then plan for a mid-week East side adventure.....maybe even incorporate a Wednesday so you can take in the Hilo Farmer's market.

Safe Travels

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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3. Re: Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

I say definitely yes, primarily because right now there is a lot to see at night in terms of the lava lake glow and distant surface lava flows, and it is really not, IMO, a good idea to try to drive back to Waikoloa at night from Volcano.

Many people, as Clint says, do it as a long day trip, so it's definitely doable, but I wouldn't want to. Accommodations in Volcano and Hilo are quite affordable, so double booking makes more sense than you might think.

Chicagoland
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4. Re: Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

Yes. You've come all that way to see the sights of Big Island. VNP is a pretty major sight -- best at night. Double book, staying overnight in Volcano. Hilo is an hour's drive from the volcano. You might fit in Waipio Valley on your return to the west side.

I don't drive Big Island at night anywhere except the straight stretch from KOA to Kohala.

We have had several guests their luggage in our South Maui condo and overnight at Hana.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

Great advice - thanks everyone. I have found some reasonable B and B's in Volcano so think we might do it. It is also good to know that you can see the glow from the lava right now. I was a bit worried about driving at night, so your comments confirm that it isn't a great idea. Thanks again.

6. Re: Should we stay overnight on Hilo side of Big Island?

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