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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is bordered by Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. This is a place where a lot of official scientific observing of the mountain, camping, and hiking takes place. It is a place where people come to vacation and a place where people come to study. For everyone it’s a place of inspiration, because Mauna Loa peaks at more than 16,000 feet and is one of the largest mountains in the world.
In the center of the park is Kilauea Caldera, a large dormant volcano. In 1823, William Ellis became the first white man to climb to the top of the volcano. Then for the next century people came to see inside the volcano and watch the lava burn. But then in the 1920s the lava stopped bubbling and burning and started to harden. You can now drive on the center of the volcano. The volcano has erupted in recent years, but people come to see it erupt. It’s not dangerous anymore. There’s no big explosion; it simply bubbles over the top and the lava flows downhill.
If you’re visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the first time, you should certainly stop at the visitor’s center first. Here, you can find out all the information you need to know about when the eruptions will take place and you can give yourself a tour of the natural history museum in the center. If you plan on going up the mountain, you’re required to tell the rangers at the center. You can camp there for free, but be sure to tell people where you'll be.
The other major attraction here that you won’t want to miss is Volcano House. This is a hotel where you can get a volcano-side room. You can stay in one of their 37 rooms for anywhere from $50 to $110 a night. They also have a restaurant there that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So if you’re looking at making a weekend of your volcano visit, this could be the best place to do that!