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Hawaii is made up of several islands with the southeastern most called simply: Hawaii. Nicknamed the Big Island, this is the largest island of the chain and can actually fit all the others inside its land mass. While Hawaii is home to Kona and coffee plantations as well as the quaint city of Hilo, there is also a magnificent attraction that’s a must see. Any tour to the Big Island includes a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This park is 30 miles southwest of Hilo and has one of the most active volcanoes on earth: Kilauea. This area is a sacred place for Hawaiians as well as the most popular tourist draw to the Big Island.
More than 330,000 acres of national park stretch from the sea to the summit of Maunaloa. Maunaloa is a volcano that last erupted in 1984 and is still active. Lava tubes, hiking trails and petroglyphs grace this national park. While Maunaloa hasn’t seen action in several years, Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. Kilauea produces between 250,000 and 650,000 cubic yards of lava each day and has created nearly 500 acres of new land from it’s eruptions. If you’re lucky enough to see this amazing force of nature erupt, it will make your adventure to the Big Island worth the whole of your trip.
Other features of the park include a 10.6 mile drive around the Kilauea Caldera. By driving this path you can see all the park’s attractions including the Jaggar Museum. The museum has information, maps and videos about the study of volcanoes and will educate your family a bit more on how these amazing geological wonders come to be. You’ll also see the Halemaumau Crater which consists of steam vents and is known as the home of Pele. Pele is the volcano goddess and you’re bound to run into her in the park, whether in legend or if you try to take some lava rock as a keepsake (Hawaiian lore says that spirits will come home with you and Pele will be sure to haunt you should you steal some lava rock. Tip: don’t do it.).
Finally, you’ll come to Volcano House hotel which has been operating since 1846 and overlooks Halemaumau Crater. This is a great way to end your tour of Volcanoes National Park. It’s an amazing sight to see a live volcano and something you and your family will never forget!