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Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

San Francisco...
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Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

We are planning on staying at least 7 days (but possible up to 9 or 10 days) in the Big Island in late May / early June timeframe. The plan is to stay on the beach side for the majority of the time. Is the Volcano side worth an overnight or two or would day trip suffice? What would be missing if only doing a day trip?

Best,

Tiffany

Big Island, Hawaii
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1. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

Yes you should overnight. The only way to see any active lava as of now (which right now is limited to the glow from the lava lake inside Halema'uma'u) is to stay the night - driving cross island at night is ill-advised. Also just the basics of VNP really need 7-8 hours. Best done over two days since a one way drive from the Kohala Coast beach district is about 3 hours.

Edited: 19 April 2014, 04:55
ON, Canada
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2. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

Agree .. an overnight would be best. With a 7 night trip, I would spend one night in Volcano, and if you can make it a 9 or 10 night trip, then 2 nights. In addition to VNP, there are other highlights on the east side, as well as on the drive between the west and east sides.

Are you able to fly into one airport and out of the other (ITO and KOA)? That would make it more convenient with accommodations and also reduce your driving. You could do a one way car rental.

pzp
Kauai, Hawaii
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3. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

Definitely do at least an overnight in Volcano, two nights if possible. You want to be there well after dark to to see the glow from the crater. At least 2 full days in the park are well worth it.

Nanaimo, Canada
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4. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

If you can't arrange flying into one airport, and out the other, you may want to consider double booking. There are some really nice places on VRBO in Volcano, and it makes it so much easier for seeing the glow at night. Jaggar Museum is usually the best place for viewing it. The other bonus to double booking, is just packing an extra set of clothes, and maybe some food for snacks. You don't need to worry about all your luggage in the vehicle then, and makes the trip from one side of the island to the other more enjoyable.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

Thanks everyone for your valuable advice!

We are coming from San Francisco and flying in and out of Kona. If we were to stay in Volcano overnight, we will likely do that towards the end and would therefore make that drive from Volcano back to the airport.

That said, it's just what we are thinking right now. We haven't booked anything yet so we're open to suggestions!

It would be our first time on the Big Island and our second time to Hawaii (last year we were in Kauai and loved it!)

:)

Big Island, Hawaii
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6. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

It's generally not a good idea to plan it so you have to drive cross island to catch a flight. We have limited cross island routes (three to be exact) and if something goes wrong on one, which is an all too frequent occurrence, backtracking to another can be a major ordeal. I would double book one night in the middle of your stay.

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7. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

You want to stay overnight ... at least one night. You don't want to day-trip a visit to Hilo/Volcanoes National Park from the Kona side.

Count your nights, not your days.

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

Following up with what Shea said:

Any serious accident here will shut down a route in most cases, and it can take quite long to clear, as any injury accident requires a lot of protocol, and in many parts of the highway there will be no way to detour around the spot.

Say you are going around the south and the road is closed at HOVE, you are looking at two hours to turn around and get to a starting point for one of the other routes. If you are taking a red eye and you leave mid day, including a good cushion, fine.

Stuff like planning to make an 11 AM flight out of KOA after staying the night in Volcano, no.

Ideally a one night stay east side you would have both before and after open for exploring. For an extensive VNP experience, better to book two nights and have one day that is not a transit day.

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9. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

We were recently on the Big Island for six days.

We took the noon flight from Maui, and were leaving the Kona airport at 1:00 PM in the rental car.

We drove the southern route and checked in to our lodge room in Volcano at 4:15 for two nights. We booked two nights so that we'd have enough time if it rained. It did drizzle the first night, so we checked out the volcano view from the park lodge, which turned out to be an enjoyable evening with entertainment in the lounge.

The second day we toured the park and Hilo, then about 7:30 pm watched the glow about 1-2 miles in the park from the musuem overlook. We then returned to the west coast via Saddle Rd using rt 2000 to avoid downtown Helo.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Volcano: Day Trip or Overnight?

I look into one way airfare in and out of different airports more. They look fairly reasonable in fact. We are hoping to not have to double book. But still really appreciate all the tips since we would have no idea about these considerations!

On a separate note (Let me know if it would be best for me to start a new thread), we wanted to be reasonably close to snorkeling spots (We are beginners) on the Kona side. Any suggestions as to which towns to look for accomodation on that end?