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Fly into ITO out of KOA in 1 day

Fly into ITO out of KOA in 1 day

Old Mar 16, 17, 8:49 am
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Fly into ITO out of KOA in 1 day

Aloha!

I am spending a week in Maui and will be stopping on the Big Island to catch my flight from KOA-SEA. I could OGG-KOA around 6 pm and catch my 9pm departure but am debating getting an earlier flight (noon) to spend some time. Any thoughts on this? Should I attempt to road trip ITO-KOA and see some sights on the way? Just fly into KOA and stick around there?

I am traveling with my 3 kids ages 7-11 and they would love to see lava but I'm not sure of the logistics. I'm open to pretty much any options, including boat to lava and helicopter tours.

Mahalo!
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Old Mar 16, 17, 10:25 am
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Originally Posted by Familyof5 View Post
Aloha!

I am spending a week in Maui and will be stopping on the Big Island to catch my flight from KOA-SEA. I could OGG-KOA around 6 pm and catch my 9pm departure but am debating getting an earlier flight (noon) to spend some time. Any thoughts on this? Should I attempt to road trip ITO-KOA and see some sights on the way? Just fly into KOA and stick around there?

I am traveling with my 3 kids ages 7-11 and they would love to see lava but I'm not sure of the logistics. I'm open to pretty much any options, including boat to lava and helicopter tours.

Mahalo!
The big island is a very big island, and if you're looking to build in a trip to the active lava flow, you'll need at least an entire day to drive to the area, hike, and then continue the drive to KOA. A noon flight to ITO with a 9 pm departure out of KOA probably won't allow you enough time for the lava. Also, seeing an active flow of lava in the day is like seeing fireworks during the day. If you want to see a lot of old lava, there's plenty around KOA... the entire island is carved from lava.

Personally, I would spent that last day savoring a Maui beach, but that's just me.
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Old Mar 18, 17, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by Familyof5 View Post
I could OGG-KOA around 6 pm and catch my 9pm departure but am debating getting an earlier flight (noon) to spend some time. Any thoughts on this? Should I attempt to road trip ITO-KOA and see some sights on the way? Just fly into KOA and stick around there?

I am traveling with my 3 kids ages 7-11 and they would love to see lava but I'm not sure of the logistics. I'm open to pretty much any options, including boat to lava and helicopter tours.
Flying in early will give you some opportunities to educate your children to the world of volcanology. But, your experience will be limited, so moderate your expectancies:

1. If you fly into Hilo, it will be about an .75 hour trip to get to the Hawaii Volcano National Park. https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm

Going into the park will allow you to visit the the Jaggar Museum, the Thurston Lava Tube and the Observatory. This will take a few hours.

Your drive from HVNP to Kona Airport will take around 2.5-3 hours. It is generally a pleasant drive with diverse scenery.

So, if your children are adaptable to being in a car for a long time, and like museums and such, this will be an excellent day drip for you. Just make sure that all your valuables are stored in your trunk and not observable in your backseat. (however, crime is almost nonexistant within the HVNP).
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Old Mar 19, 17, 3:08 am
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You could also do the Tsunami museum in Hilo. I really enjoyed it. I personally would not try to go to Volcano. Not that its not worth it, but the time it takes, and how little of it you would get to actually see. I spent a full day up there, and it was not nearly enough.

I would spend the day leisurely driving from Hilo to KOA, stopping at the many many sights to see on the way. I spent a whole day on this drive my first trip to the Big Island. Akaka Falls, Rainbow Falls, Waipio Overlook, botanical gardens, Kolekole County Park for a picnic.... just several ideas.

The danger with planning just a day trip in that area, is rain. It is the wet side, and can be pretty cold and damp depending on time of year.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 11:56 am
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Some Thoughts

With the kids they may get antsy with long drives.

If I were to do this trip with kids, I would fly into Hilo early.

If you have not had breakfast, Kens House of Pankcakes (I call it Kens House of Everything) and the kids may well remember that place for the sheer number of items other than pancakes.

I would skip the volcano park. As mentioned, it takes a long long time to see the actual flow (best at night) and the caldera is nothing much more than a view of steam and smoke coming out of a big hole (during the day). At night you may see lots of glowing.

Instead go to the Rainforest Zoo (just south of Hilo). You can adjust the rest of the day based upon how much interest that gives, what with tigers and all :-)

Akaka and Kahuna Falls are neat however there is some walking involved. Taking the left at the first opportunity bypasses the longest walk but you see only 1 of the falls. Still, impressive enough.

Up to Texs for malasadas and the bathroom break.

A stop by Waipio overlook.

Through Waimea and down to Kona before dark.

Saddle Road is available should you need to get from Hilo to Kona quickly, but it bypasses lots of places I mentioned.

Because of the kids, I do not recommend a trip up Mauna Kea. You could get to the visitors center but I think they would be bored and not get the jist of where they are.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 8:22 pm
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If you're taking the saddle road across the island, keep in mind the possibilities of construction delays on the highway near Hilo. It delayed us a good 20-30 minutes crossing the island, I'm glad I left early.
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