Whether you only have a few hours or an entire week to explore, you can have an enjoyable experience in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park is located on the Island of Hawai’i (also known as the “Big Island”) and you’ll find not just one, but two active volcanoes here. One of them, Kīlauea, is considered one of the most active on the planet … and the other, Mauna Loa, sets size records. All in all, a visit to the park is an epic experience!
A stop at the visitor center just inside the park entrance is the perfect place to begin a day of exploration, and culture vultures will enjoy the nearby Volcano Art Center and the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, which offers a variety of fascinating exhibits.
Crater Rim Drive is a must-see for a quick trip, as the 11-mile road passes through a wide variety of scenery, including lush forest and desert, giving visitors a good overview of the park. There are also plenty of hiking trails that cater to visitors of all ages and experience levels. If you’re seeking a thrill, check out Chain of Craters Road, where you might get the chance to see an active lava flow if the conditions are right. Or, step back in time with a walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, a cave that’s covered in hardened molten lava. Those brave enough to make it through the tube will be greeted with a tropical rainforest on the other side!
Planning on staying a while? You can set up shop at the on-site campground, or kick things up a notch with a stay at the park’s Volcano House, a complex complete with 33 guest rooms, a gift shop, lounge, and dining room. The main attraction, however, is the resort’s incredible view of the Halema’uma’u Crater and the bursts of steam that spews from it. Speaking of the crater, it’s the most honored and respected part of the park, as it is widely considered to be the home of volcano goddess Pele.
You can also just stop right outside the park for a quick bite, as there are several eateries nearby. In addition to the restaurant at the Volcano House, Lava Rock Cafe, Thai Thai, Cafe Ono, and the Kilauea Lodge & Restaurant all offer good eatin’ in the heart of Volcano Village.