We stayed in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park at the Kilauea Military Camp for 3 nights while in Hawaii. My boyfriend booked us a one bedroom cabin right inside the park, which was pretty neat. We were only a few minutes away from an active volcano. 

There’s a lot to see and do inside of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and it would have been nice to have even more time there. I’m sure we will go back one day to see more of the park and island.

When we first arrived we did the full drive on the ‘Chain of Craters Road’ before it got dark. I recommend taking the drive if you are there. It’s 19 miles and you go from 4,000 feet down to sea level.

The road ends near the ocean where the lava spilled over. I wish I had visited during the time when the lava was flowing into the ocean, would have been pretty neat to see. At the end of the road there is a short trail to the the Holei Sea Arch. The arch is (when I visited) 90 feet high and it will deteriorate over time and eventually fall into the ocean. 

Holei Sea Arch Hawaii

We stopped at the Nāhuku – Thurston Lava Tube on the same day. At one time several hundred years ago a river of lava rushed through the tube. It’s about a 1/3 of a mile walk through the tube, in one end and out the other. I recommend stopping at a lava tube while in Hawaii whether it’s this one or not.  

Nahuku - Thurston Lava Tube Hawai

That evening we went and took a look at the Kīlauea Volcano, which is an active volcano in the park. It’s an amazing sight, watching the volcano. I wish we had our good camera to try and get some night shots of it.

Kīlauea Volcano

I went back and visited the Kilauea Volcano every day because I couldn’t get enough…

Kilauea Volcano Hawaii

The next morning we wanted to do a hike and decided on the Kīlauea Iki Trail. We didn’t do the entire loop, we walked down the side of the crater through the rainforest. Then we walked all the way across the still steaming Kīlauea Iki Crater, and then back. We would have done the entire loop if we had more time. The area that we were walking across was once a lake of lava (in 1959), it was interesting to think about as walking through the crater. Plants have started to grow through the rocks and maybe one day it will be a lush rainforest.

Kilauea Iki Trail Crater Hawaii

After our hike we wanted to go drive around the coast of the island to see some more sights. We drove along the coast up Kona and back across through the middle of the island. We saw quite a few sights that day. It’s hard to list them all in one blog post. 

I’m obsessed with sandy beaches and I really enjoyed the black sand beaches, they were gorgeous! The black sand is formed from lava, when it crashes into the ocean it cracks into pieces that resemble sand. I think I like black sand more than regular sand, it didn’t really stick to my skin and make me feel itchy. The only that I disliked about it was how hot it was on my feet. The beach in the picture below is Punalu‘U Beach.

Punalu'U Beach Hawaii Black Sand Beach

We also drove up to the Mauna Loa Observatory, the road was something I’d never seen before. It’s just a one way, paved road through hardened lava and rock. We thought it was worth the drive up although there was nothing really to see when we got up there as it was dark.

Road to Mauna Load

The day we were scheduled to leave we had a bit of time to kill before heading to the airport so we went and drove through Pahoa (one of the towns that was recently affected by lava flows) and down to the southern coast. We headed over to Kalapana, a town that has been covered with lava a few times over the years. It was amazing to see people who lived on fields of hardened lava. We are debating on buying some lava covered land to put a trailer on and use as a getaway.  

Kalapana Homes on Lava Fields Hawaii

We stopped at another black sand beach called Kaimu Beach. It was just stunning, and there was no one there. Locals were there planting plants along the path to the beach to revive the area as it was covered with lava in the past. This beach wouldn’t be the best place to swim as the current is fairly strong, but it’s definitely a great place to suntan and/or relax. 

Kaimu Beach Hawaii - Black Sand Beach

After that it was time to head back to the airport for our flight back home. I had a great trip to Hawaii and can’t wait to go back again. We just won’t be going standby again. 🙂 

What is your favourite place in Hawaii so I can add it to my list of places to visit?

Read my other Hawaii travel blogs here.

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