June 22-28, 2025 Experience the Big Island's unspoiled landscapes, majestic volcanoes, lush rainforests, and pristine black sand beaches with the Academy's chief of science.

To visit the Big Island of Hawai’i is to explore vibrant traditions and warm hospitality, where the spirit of Aloha is woven into the fabric of the island’s culture. Renowned for its unspoiled landscapes, the island features volcanoes, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and pristine black sand beaches. Enjoy stargazing from majestic Mauna Kea, trekking through the breathtaking countryside of North Kohala and the cloud forests of Hualalai, and exploring the otherworldly landscapes of Hawai’i National Park. Plus, learn more about Dr. Shannon Bennett’s infectious disease research in Hawai’i. You’ll leave with indelible memories and a heartfelt connection to the people and the land, ensuring a farewell that's filled with the feeling of "Aloha! A Hui Hou!"—until we meet again!

  • When: June 22-28, 2025
  • Where: Royal Kona Resort and The Volcano House (in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park)
  • Activity level: Moderate
  • Good for families: Yes
  • Price: $7,390-$8,540 (based on party size)

Explore more details below!

Save your spot!

Click the "Register now" button below to reserve your spot through our tour partner, Royal Adventures.

Please note: You must be an Academy member or donor to register for this trip.

Image of Shannon Bennett

Your Academy expert

Shannon Bennett, PhD, Chief of Science and Harry W. and Diana V. Hind Dean of Science and Research Collections

Dr. Shannon Bennett leads science at the Academy and studies infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. Small but mighty, microbes have a major impact on global health, hence the urgency to understand where they come from and how they evolve.

Image of observatories in Hawaii

Trip highlights

  • Visit the Big Island's iconic landscapes including Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Hawaiian Islands, the North Kohala Private Nature Reserve, featuring cascading waterfalls, Hualalai Volcano and the Kaloko Cloud Forest, Volcano National Park, and ‘Akaka Falls State Park.
  • Venture to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach to look for the endangered Hawaiian honu (green sea turtles).
  • Enjoy activities such as snorkel adventures with giant manta rays, whale watching, guided hikes alongside Dr. Shannon Bennett, the Academy’s chief of science, 4-wheel drives around cascading waterfalls, and more!

Day 1 (Sunday, June 22) Arrivals: Arrive in Kona where you’ll be welcomed to Royal Kona Resort with dinner, introductions to your Academy host, and orientation.

Day 2 (Monday, June 23): Take the morning to settle into your accommodations and explore the area. A short distance from the resort are picturesque beaches, Kona’s famous Ali’i Drive, and Hulihe‘e Palace. Meet your fellow Academy Adventurers and host at a luncheon and lecture before heading to Mauna Kea, the highest point in the Hawaiian Islands, to watch an incredible sunset and stargaze.

Day 3 (Tuesday, June 24): Journey to the North Kohala Private Nature Reserve for a 4-wheel-drive adventure with cascading waterfalls and a lunch with a view of Pololu Valley. Your afternoon is spent at your leisure with a group dinner and scientific lecture, and a snorkel with gentle, giant manta rays to follow.

Day 4 (Wednesday, June 25): Spend the morning hiking through Hualalai Volcano and the Kaloko Cloud Forest. After you’ve worked up an appetite, lunch will be held at the famous Kona Coffee farm. Enjoy the rest of your afternoon at your leisure before heading to a lū‘au for dinner.

Day 5 (Thursday, June 26): Up and at ‘em! We’re heading out early for Honokohau Harbor where we’ll catch a boat to Kealakekua Bay and visit Marine Life Conservation District. Aboard the boat, you’ll enjoy snorkeling, whale watching, and lunch.

Day 6 (Friday, June 27): Depart the east island and explore Nā‘ālehu Village with lunch at Hana Hou. On our way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we’ll stop at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach to look for the endangered Hawaiian honu (green sea turtles). Check in to the Volcano House and enjoy dinner at The Rim restaurant within the National Park.

Day 7 (Saturday, June 28) Volcano National Park & Departures: Head out for a hike in Volcano National Park with an Academy geologist guide to learn more about the incredible sites. We will be departing for Hilo and visiting a local Farmers Market and ‘Akaka Falls State Park before heading to the airport. It’s not farewell, it’s “Aloha! A Hui Hou!"—until we meet again!



  • $7,390 per adult (double occupancy)
  • $6,490 per youth (double occupancy for children 17 and under with at least one accompanying adult)
  • $8,540 per adult (single occupancy)

Payment schedule:

  • $1,000 deposit is required per person to reserve your spot.
  • Final Payment due on March 3, 2025. 
  • Cancellations received before March 3, 2025, will be assessed a cancellation fee of $500 per person.
  • Cancellations received on or after March 3, 2025, are subject to a 100% penalty of all deposits and payments, regardless of the booking date.

What's included:

  • Accommodations at hotels noted in the itinerary
  • All meals in trip itinerary
  • All transportation within trip itinerary
  • Guided field trips, excursions and tours
  • Gratuities to local guides, drivers, and wait staff
  • Private group airport transfer on departure day from Volcano House to Hilo airport

What's NOT included:

  • Roundtrip airfare to Hawai’i
  • Room service
  • Personal room charges (phone calls, baggage charges, laundry, etc.)
  • Travel or medical insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages, aside from Welcome and Farewell dinners and lū‘au

Travel insurance:

  • We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance as the cancellation penalty listed above and in the trip registration will apply. An application for trip cancellation insurance will be available upon confirmation. Most insurance plans must be purchased within 14 days of paying the initial deposit in order to waive preexisting medical conditions as well as to purchase “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance.