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Lava Flow from Overlook at Night.
Lava Flow from the Overlook at night.

New Information for Viewing the Lava Flow

Kilauea, the active volcano in Hawaii has been erupting for almost 35 years and is one of the most active volcanoes on earth. Most of the time in Hawaii the lava flows at a very slow pace and it was possible to get close to the action. But in May 2018, new fissures opened in a residential area in Leilani Estates near Pahoa Town. Many homes have been destroyed and it has of course been very devastating to area residents. While this new flow has a serious impact on an area of Hawaii it should not effect the quality of your vacation in the Kailua-Kona area other than perhaps increased vog on some days. This volcano flow in the East Rift zone is on the East side of the island (opposite of Kona.) It is South of Hilo toward Hawaii National Park. At this time most of the park is closed.
In The FAQ section of the National Park Service Website this question was asked:

Q: Should I change my vacation plans for another time?
They replied; “There is no reason at this time for travelers to change or alter their travel plans. There are numerous activities still available on Hawai‘i Island (including four other national parks), and part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is still open to the public. All accommodations, activities and attractions on the island are also operating normally, with the exception of those in areas affected by the current volcanic activity (for example, the Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp, and park campgrounds are part of the park closure). Both public airports remain open.”

Hawaii Volcanos National Park service is very aware that many people travel to Hawaii to see an active volcano. While most of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park remains closed, Park Rangers are greeting and serving visitors at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center, 76 Kamehameha Avenue in Downtown Hilo. Rangers are available to meet with visitors and answer questions about Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park at the center. Additionally, they will share daily updates at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to teach visitors about volcanic activity and clarify the conditions at Kīlauea summit. Visitors can also get their official Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park passport stamp.

Other places to visit to find out more about Volcano’s National Park:

Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association, the park’s non-profit cooperative partner, has opened a museum retail store also located at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center. The Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association store proceeds benefit six national park sites in Hawai‘i and American Samoa. Other locations to visit with rangers include:
Prince Kuhio Plaza.
What is open: Everyone is invited to visit the park’s Kahuku Unit, located an hour south of the main entrance on Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū. Kahuku is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but can be impacted by poor air quality depending on wind direction.

Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus. You can also find your park ranger at the Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus at 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd., in Volcano Village. Rangers are there most days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide talks and answer questions about the current eruption. Free!

Park rangers also greet incoming arrivals at the Hilo International Airport, welcome cruise ship passengers as they disembark at the Port of Hilo, and inform visitors at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center most Sundays.

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Viewing the Lava Flow From the Ocean

Hawaii Lava Flow from the Ocean.

Several years ago we were able to see the lava flow by boat. This was one of the most awesome sight I have ever seen. This type of activity is not always possible and is probably best not to plan on a boat tour now but for future reference : There are four Coast Guard-approved and permitted boat operators. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for more and current information.
Lava Ocean Tours: 808-966-4200
Moku Nui Lava Tours: 808-938-1493
Kalapana Cultural Tours: 808-345-4964
Hawaiian Lava Boat Tours: 808-640-0806

Lava Flow from Tour Boat
Viewing the Lava flowing into the Ocean by Tour Boat.