Hawaii’s National Parks: Exploring Four Islands from Volcanoes to Pearl Harbor
Join local experts on an exploration of Hawaii’s volcanoes, where you’ll learn about Hawaiian mythology, unique island ecology, natural monuments and sacred sites.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 2810RJ
15 days
Starts at
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4.89 Average

Hawaii National Parks, March 5-19, 2018 This tour upholds Road Scholar standards, and the duration is enough to make the cost a good value even with travel expense from the eastern US. There is no guarantee of good weather. Be prepared for variable temperature and possibly mist and light rain, but also bright equatorial sun. The residents of Hawaii seem to ignore the changeable weather. Malls, dining rooms, and even airports are open to the air and cannot be heated or cooled. The vagaries of the weather notwithstanding, this is a delightful tour. You will learn about volcanoes, geology, Hawaiian culture and language, the leper colony on Moloka'i, and the declining agricultural economy. You will visit many parks and historical places and a rain forest with picnic lunches at some stops. You will see many plants, native and invasive, growing wild that are only in greenhouses on the mainland. Turtles and whales also are on the visual menu. The lectures are given by experts, and a lu'au provides a delightful sampling of traditional food. Unless there is an eruption, do not expect to see flowing lava, but at night you will see the glow from the pool of lava on Kilauea. Bring a flashlight if you want to take a hike at night along the crater rim. Best view is from the Jaggar Museum. You will have the opportunity to hike into the crater, but not close to the lava, due to dangerous gases. There are a number of opportunities for swimming in the warm ocean. Waikiki has a swimming area protected from waves, but the beach is crowded on weekends. At the end of the tour on the day of departure, you may have time for a strenuous hike to the top of Diamond Head crater. This popular hike is not part of the tour. Expect a steady stream of tourists and standing room only at the top. We missed two of the scheduled sights due to rain and mist, but don't let that stop you. This is a highly recommended tour.


Hawaii presents a unique place to see volcanic island production and its unique landscape. The information presented is necessary to understanding the makeup and situation of the islands. This is a great place to start. Road Scholar is the leader, a great host.


Our Hawaii's National Parks program was an interesting and fun trip. We saw so much that otherwise would not have if on our own. It was very well organized, educational and fun.


This tour will give you a wonderful opportunity to learn about Hawaiian culture and nature. The scenery is spectacular.


This was a fantastic program and a great introduction to the geology, geography and history of Hawai'i. I recommend it. (However, bad weather caught us. The weather in Hawai'i is changable, daily and hourly!)


This was an exceptional experience that changed my perception of Hawaii as simply a beach-based tourist vacation. It included fascinating learning experiences about volcanoes, nature, culture, history and more. Flying in small planes out to visit the leper colony on Molokai was a highlight as well as seeing hot lava bubbling out of a volcano at night. Can't recommend this program enough for those who like the outdoors and who love learning. Loved this trip!


If you desire a trip to the Hawaiian Islands to be immersed in the beauty, culture, history, spirit, ecology, and people...this is the trip for you! I cannot believe how much territory and subject matter we covered in this 15 day excursion to four islands. I feel like I know the island better than any resort vacationer as we were immersed in everything Hawaiian. I highly recommend this trip.


For anyone who wants to learn more about the history of Hawaii -- both its land and its people -- this is the trip for you. Two of the national parks, Volcanoes and Haleakala, explored the geologic formation of the islands. The national historical parks explored the history of the Hawaiian people. Other excursions explored both. At the end of the trip was the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor, so beautiful and moving. This trip was packed with activities and field trips, at times exhausting, but always interesting. I am left with beautiful photographs and even more beautiful memories.


Let me say that if you are a prima donna, reconsider this trip. You will stay in a military camp and a place that has no AC and has chickens and roosters. If you only know upscale type hotels, this is not for you, however we did stay in nice places as well. But, this trip is AWESOME!!! It was transformative for me. We saw active lava, steam vents, waterfalls, cliffs, amazing beaches and much more. We were a group of 17 plus our leader, Susan McGovern (amazing I must say) and we seemed to be cohesive and friendly. Going to Molokai and Kalaupapa was definitely not on the beaten path of tours, so that was introspective and amazing. I didn't want the typical touristy corny trip, so this trip fit my needs. If you are looking for a Luau that is commercial, you won't get it on this trip. We attended a real family gathering as the word "Luau" was coined by a travel writer in the l950s. In Molakai, we ate all types of REAL Hawaiian food, things you would never get at a Hilton hotel Luau. There were so many activities and experiences we had, but the capper was seeing the lava flowing at night. Swimming in amazing beaches was spectacular. Our food was wholesome and adequate but if you are a snobby foodie, you would not be happy. It was fine for me, but then again, I am a simple person!! This was a wonderful trip with an amazing leader (Susan McGovern) and I would recommend it to anyone who can walk the walk (up to 2 miles on some fairly rough terrain) and see the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.

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