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lava hike with kids

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lava hike with kids

Hello, my husband and I booked two nights at Hilo and would like to do lava hike at night. I have two kids, 5 and 7. I understand that they are too young and can't make to the tour. So my husband and I plan to hike seperately for two nights.

Our plan is, for first night, I drop off my husband at lava hike starting point, I take kids to Jaggar museum, then I drive back to pick him up.

For second night, my husband drops me off and he drives to Hilo and let kids play around in downtown, then comes to pick me up.

Does this sound a reasonable plan? We know a lot of lava hike tour start at the end of highway 130. It is a bit drive either from Jaggar meseum or Hilo downtown. Is there a better plan or any place kids can enjoy at the end of highway 130.

We really need some advice.

Thanks a lot!

ON, Canada
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1. Re: lava hike with kids

Some tour operators, such as Volcano Discovery Hawaii, will pick you up/drop you off at your accommodations. That would free up a lot of driving time and give the others more flexibility in their plans while the other spouse is away for the hike.

If you are looking at one of the less expensive tour operators that doesn't pick up/drop off, I would consider a second rental vehicle for those 2 days. Depending on when you are going, you might be able to get one for under $40/day, probably well worth the cost to save all that extra driving.

p.s. forgot to add, you might be able to spend an hour in Kalapana with the children, but it would be too long to spend your whole time waiting there as there isn't enough to do.

Edited: 6:35 am, August 20, 2013
Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: lava hike with kids

What time of night are you talking about?

There is no place for kids to play around in Hilo downtown after dark.

There are only two things in Kalapana; the Kalapana Cafe, which is a lunch place, and Uncle Robert's Awa Bar, which is not for kids.

Pahoa is 15 minutes from Kalapana, and is not for kids on the streets, for sure.

Jaggar Museum is an hour or a bit more from Kalapana, each way. The view there is good for 15 minutes or so and is very cold, after which there is nothing to do there either.

You're talking about driving

45 min from Hilo to Kalapana

1 hour to Volcano

1 hour back from Volcano

45 min back to Hilo

3 1/2 hours for the kids in the car mixed with a lot of boring waiting, and that's just the first night.

It doesn't seem like a good plan at all, but knowing the hike hours would be helpful.

Edited: 2:34 pm, August 20, 2013
Lagrangeville, NY
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3. Re: lava hike with kids

If you decided not to have the guides pick you up at your Hilo lodging, I think the better way is for one of you to stay with the kids at the lodging while the other take the car to the lava flow hiking meeting point. Have some activities books with you for the kids.

Island of Hawaii...
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4. Re: lava hike with kids

Agree.

Hilo is not a town for families out at night, unless they are in stores, restaurants, the mall, or movies. Even then, town closes up early.

The mall stays open later on Fri-Sat, and closes earlier than usual on Sunday (at 6 PM). There are movies until almost midnight though.

Note that by stores outside the mall I mean Walmart, Target, Safeway. All the small stores are closed.

Edited: 5:28 pm, August 20, 2013
Island of Hawaii...
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5. Re: lava hike with kids

PS. Annie, I am thinking it may be hard for you to understand the remoteness of the area where the lava hikes take off. I see you are from San Francisco. There is no place in the Bay Area where a lot of people go for an activity, yet there is nothing else there to speak of.

There is no town in the Bay Area where there is no one out and about (other than seedy bars) after 9 PM, but thatʻs how Hilo is. Most of the things catering to tourists in Hilo are going to close at 4 or 5 PM, and the parks are not safe after dark.

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6. Re: lava hike with kids

Thanks a lot for good advice. I think I under estimate the distance among Hilo, Museum and the lava hiking starting point. I can see that my plan is time consuming and inefficient.

KamaainaK , thanks for your expert advice, we plan to hike around 4:30 both days in the first week of October. Knowing the distance of places, I feel uncomfortable to drive by my own at night. :)

I will go with Volcano Discovery Hawaii as Susan suggested and have them pick me up from lodge. And do the same for my husband.

And one of us can stay with kids, have dinner with them and followed with some books reading as Yung suggested.

ON, Canada
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7. Re: lava hike with kids

I would consider going to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens with the kids. A great way to pass a couple of hours and interesting for everyone. Our hike with Volcano Discovery had us meeting at 3:30 in Kalapana ... which means about a 2:45 departure from Hilo. That might be a long time to fill without going somewhere. On the other day you could head up to Jaggar Museum for night time viewing of the lava glow. Or, if you all want to go up to VNP in the morning, ask VDH if they can pick up the spouse who is hiking up there & drop off at your accommodations in Hilo. I think their website says that they pick up in both Hilo and Volcano. Then the spouse with kids could stay at VNP for a few more hours.

Edited: 9:14 pm, August 20, 2013
Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: lava hike with kids

No no ... Not a good time for thr gardens. The late afternoon. Is when the mozzies are in full feeding frenzy, and it is getting dim in the gulch by then.

ON, Canada
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9. Re: lava hike with kids

Perhaps they could go earlier in the afternoon ... what is the latest that you'd suggest being there to avoid mosquitos, and for lighting? It closes at 5 p.m. We arrived around 11 and stayed till after 1 ... which was a really good time to be there.

Island of Hawaii...
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10. Re: lava hike with kids

Itʻs going to be better in the morning and midday. I would think 3 PM, but time of year matters. Of course the weather is going to be a factor. Sometimes it rains in the morning here, sometimes, at noon, sometimes late afternoon, sometimes at night, sometimes no rain ror a day ... if you get the picture.