In the past, My Vacation Lady has suggested that our clients could do star gazing on Hawaii Island in 2 different ways.

  1. Take a star gazing tour which will bring you all the way to the observatory
  2. Drive to the Visitor Information Station and take advantage of the free stargazing program offered by the park rangers

When clients visited Hawaii Island in April, we suggested that they double check with the hotel concierge before making the trip on their own and were told that the daily stargazing program has recently changed.

Stargazing Program Update

The free, public Stargazing event is now held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings (weather permitting). Parking is available for up to 115-vehicles on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the parking lots are full, all vehicles will be turned away.

Star Gazing Program!  

The Visitor Information Station (VIS), at the 9,200 foot (2,800 m) level of Maunakea, offering a free Star Gazing program on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6:00 pm until 10:00 pm, weather permitting.

The program begins at 6:00 pm with the showing of First Light, a documentary about Maunakea made by PBS Hawaii about the history of the mountain from both astronomical and cultural perspectives. You can come any time, however, and stay as long as you like.

After the video, telescopes are set up for viewing, operated by our staff and volunteers.

As soon as it’s dark enough, a star tour will be given, using a laser pointer to point out the objects visible that night.

  • Please note that we often experience near-freezing night time temperatures at the VIS. Please, dress warmly!  (But just in case, warm clothing is available for sale at the Visitor Information Station’s First Light Bookstore.)  Also, a red-filtered flashlight will help you navigate safely from the parking lot.
  • Also, please make sure there is a full tank of gas in your vehicle before making the trip up to the Visitor Station. Fuel is NOT available for purchase on Maunakea, and the nearest gas stations are about 35 miles/50 km away in either Hilo or Waimea.
  • Currently we are experiencing both insufficient parking and crowding on our Stargazing deck. Be aware before you arrive of the possibility of long lines and no parking available at the Visitor Information Station. Thank you for your patience.

If stargazing is on your list of Must See/Must Do while in Hawaii Island, let My Vacation Lady recommend a small group guided tour for you.  They fill up fast since they are small group excursions and the # of tours granted access to the observatory is limited.

Read more about stargazing HERE