Volcanoes National Park
The Big Island of Hawaii is the latest arrival in a chain of more than 130 volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain. It is a vast underwater mountain range that stretches more than 3,000 miles through the Pacific and gives birth to the gargantuan volcano known as the Big Island of Hawai'i. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park host the two volcanoes picking up where it’s more than 130 predecessors left off. Mauna Loa the worlds most subaerial volcano and Kilauea, one of the worlds most exciting volcanoes, in that, it’s the worlds most active. Hawaiian natives once believed the the park, and specifically the Halema’uma’u caldera were the sacred home of the volcano goddess Pele. Natives would bring tribute to the goddess and in the 1840’s it became a tourist attraction when entrepreneurs absentmindedly and perhaps a little selfishly set up hotels along the rim. They have since been shuttered out and the only existing hotel inside the park is Volcano House. The park can be considered controversial in that a once sacred area with deep religious significance to the Hawaiian people has been turned into a tourist destination. However the park trails do tastefully loop visitors through the park and help keep the park pristine. The park offers breath taking hikes and gives visitors a glimpse of the hundred million year process of creating the great Hawaiian Emperor seamount chain. If you're looking for a better experience get there early. Be sure to bring water and wear bug spray and sun block. Not bringing them can spoil your day.
You can also view lava within the park spewing from the vent in the Halema’uma’u Crater which can be seen from the Jaggar Museum overlook. You may also make a reservation for a guided lava tour to the Pu’u ‘O’o vent which is typically done in the evening when the lava is most luminous.