When visiting Hawaii or any other place in the world with active volcanoes they must be checked out. The best place to check out active volcanoes is in Hawaii is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park located on the big island. The park has several active volcanoes, hiking trails, bike trails, and amenities. All of this stretches out across a wide range of land including rain forests, deserts, crater floors, and rocky seaside cliffs.
About the Park
When visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park it is best to go for more than one day. The park has so much to do and enjoy that it can’t all be taken in in just a few hours or even a day. That park can be visited 24 hours a day 375 days a year. A great affordable option is to camp in the park. There is also an onsite visitor center, the Kilauea Visitors Center, where you can acquire information about trails and safety. The visitor center also offers a short film called, “Born of Fire…Born of Sea”. The center is open from 7:45 am until 5:00 pm. The Jaggar Museum and bookstore are open 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. All proceeds from book sales go to fund park programs. A Volcano Art Gallery is also located near the visitor center featuring volcanic art.
The Volcano House is a Polynesian operated hotel, restaurant, snack bar, and gift shop. The hotel is Hawaii’s first hotel and has been in operation since 1846. Here you can learn about Hawaii culture and history. It is also possible to catch a luau and hula demonstration here from time to time.
Entrance fees are based upon method of entrance. US$10 gets one car and all of its occupants into the park for 7 days. If you are traveling on foot or bike the individual entrance fee is US$5. It is also possible to get a Tri-Park Annual Pass for US$25 as well as other special annual passes. For more information on these check with the visitors center. Kids 15 years of age and younger get in for free.
When at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park safety is the primary concern. Because all the volcanoes are active and always spewing lava (that is sometimes visible) it is extremely important to always follow signs and use extreme caution. When hiking the trails its important to only do so during the day. Stay on the trails and never cross closed areas. Because cracks and steam vents can have lava in them you should always be careful where you step. Lava can cause severe injuries and doesn’t feel good!
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Volcanic fumes are always present. Some days the fumes are blown in the direction of visitor areas and the park may close because of high gas levels. Those visiting with breathing and/or heart problems, pregnant women, and those with small children should be conscience of fumes at all times. Even healthy individuals can acquire illness due to the fumes.
Its recommended that visitors wear long, light weight pants and sturdy tennis shoes at all times while exploring. It is also important to drink lots of water while at the park and always follow the instructions of park rangers. As previously stated, the safety of employees and visitors is the main concern of rangers.
Although seaside cliffs and beaches can be found in the park there is no swimming permitted in the park. The waves, winds, and unstable overhangs make swimming at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park dangerous and life threatening. Always use caution while gazing out from an overhang.
Check with the Kilauea Visitors Center at the park for visibility information. If you’re lucky you will be there on a good day and get to see lava flow.
The Big Island of Hawaii has numerous activities and tour operators throughout. For more information about the Big Island check out the rest of our posts on Hawaii Logue.