Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with KIDS

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Visiting National Parks is a great way to introduce kids to the wonder of the United States. The National Park service was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson to preserve the nations natural wonders and create revenue for the country – for every $ we spend to preserve the parks it earns $10.ย 

According to the writer, Wallace Stegner,

“Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”

Now, there are 58 national parks in the United States. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is extra special because it is also a World Heritage Site. World Heritage sites are recognized as being of outstanding international importance and it is most certainly an amazing place to visit.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Why visit a national park?

Visiting national parks is a great way to get kids into the great outdoors.

Kilauea Visitor Center, Hawaii National Park, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Thanks to wonderful technology kids spend more time indoors than they did just a generation ago. My kids are amazed that when I was a kid we had only 5 channels and if you didn’t see a show when it came on…you just missed it!

Kids benefit from time spent outside. Studies show:

“…outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.”

Entrance to Thurston Lava Tube, Hawaii National Park, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Getting outside is good for the brain, too! R. Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, says

“…nature creates a unique sense of wonder for kids that no other environment can provide. The phenomena that occur naturally in backyards and parks everyday make kids ask questions about the earth and the life that it supports.”

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – See an active volcano!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Kilauea has been erupting since January 3, 1983 – longer than your young travelers have even been alive!

The volcano produces enough lava every single day to resurface a 20 mile long road. That is a lot of lava! What better way to explain to children how a volcano creates islands?

Visit the Halemaumau Crater and watch the steam venting!

Steam vent in Halemaโ€˜umaโ€˜u crater, Hawaii Volcano National park, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Thurston Lava Tube

There are different types of lava depending upon the thickness of the lava. Lava tubes are created when part of the lava cools and hardens quicker than the rest. The outer portion cools and hardens like a straw while the inside lava continues to flow eventually leaving the straw portion empty. This empty ‘straw’ is a cave you can visit. The Thurston Lava Tube was discovered in 1913 by Mr. Thurston. Ask they kids what they would name a lava tube if they were to discover one.

Thurston Lava tube, Hawaii National Park, www.theeducationaltourist.com

From the road this is an easy walk, but on a slanted surface. Be careful if it is wet as the ground can be slippery. This is another reason to always wear sturdy closed toed shoes on adventures!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Volcano House

Consider staying at Hawaii’s oldest hotel which is located right inside the park. From the hotel you can view the Halema’uma’u Crater and see the glow from the lava at night.

If you don’t stay the night be sure to visit anyway. Sit for a few minutes and see the video playing in the sitting area and check out the souvenir shop. ย They have everything from kid stuff to wonderful art.

Volcano house in Hawaii, Volcano National park, www.theeducationaltourist.com

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Crater Rim Drive

The Crater Rim Drive is a 10.6 mile drive that goes around the Kilauea Caldera. You’ll see the main attractions like the Kilauea overlook, Jagger Museum, Halemaumau Crater, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook and the Thurston Lava Tube.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Plan PLENTY of time.

If you aren’t staying in the park, be aware that the park is FAR away from pretty much anything. Hilo is only 45 minutes away but Kona (which doesn’t look that far on a map) is 3 hours away. Look carefully at a map of Hawaii – there aren’t really that many roads in general.

We stayed near Kona in the Hilton Waikaloa Village and did the trip in one day. Leave early and plan on getting back late.


Happy Aloha Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo,Hawaii Volcano National park , New Orleans, www.theeducationaltourist.com



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28 Responses

  1. Stacey says:

    My boyfriend has been dying to go to Hawaii, probably for the surf but this is more my speed. This looks like a fun adventure for the day. Volcanoes are fascinating to me and to see one going off would be pretty epic

  2. Kids these days are lucky that traveling is much more convenient. They should definitely make the most of it instead of being indoors with their ipads and the whatnots. I sound like a grumpy old woman. Lol.

    This looks like a fun tour! I would love to do this too.

  3. This really reminds me of my trip to Lanzarote! When I was there we did a similar trip through the Lava tubes, was pretty awesome. I would LOVE to visit Hawaii.

  4. Naomi says:

    I never really like the smell around volcanoes but I do appreciate its magic powers of nature! I’d like to check these out

  5. The lava tube looks awesome! Thanks for the tip about the closed toed shoes. I really need to plan a trip back to Hawaii sometime as there is just so much to do and see.

  6. Gemma says:

    This is super interesting, I had no idea the volcanoes were so active in Hawaii. I would love to visit after reading this. It seems like a great place to explore.

  7. Ivy says:

    Ah how true is that! My husband works with youths and kids and he’s always telling me that they spend waaaaayy too much time on technology nowadays. I’m glad yours learned lots from these volcanoes! We’ll have to check these out when we go back to Hawaii one day.

  8. I was not aware that I could visit an active volcano. That too in Hawaii. I will definitely keep visiting active volcano’s on my to do list when I visit Hawaii.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      There is a lot to see in Hawaii. You can visit farms, too – chocolate, orchids, tea, coffee….wonderful opportunities. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Neha Verma says:

    Really great way to enjoy with your kids. I wish to have seen an active volcano as a kid. I would definitely like to take my kid here.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Giving kids of travel really opens their eyes! You get to be a big kid while you show them, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Abby says:

    I work for a travel blogger and I’ve heard so much about this park. It looks so interesting and fun! It’s great that it is family-friendly too!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Yes, national parks are a great way to explore the beautiful country. It was extra fun to see it on a big national park birthday. Happy 100 years!

  11. Oi Meira says:

    How lovely! I haven’t been to and read something about Hawaii. What I know about it is, Hawaii has some beautiful beaches! Now I know they have volcanoes too. Seeing your pictures of the volcanoes, it seems very scary and hot. But still beautiful and interesting. Do you know that Indonesia has a lot of volcanoes too? You need to visit my country. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I would so love to visit Indonesia! It is on our list of places we want to visit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hawaii not only has beautiful beaches but they are all so different! Really interesting to see them all.

  12. Coming from New Zealand, where we have lots of volcanoes (most extinct but some who like to remind everyone of their presence) I’ve always been fascinated by volcanoes. We learnt a lot about them in school as the landscape in NZ is very volcanic. This sounds like a really awesome place to visit and a great educational opportunity for kids and adults alike.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      The people who have traveled to New Zealand always tell me it is the world’s most beautiful place. I would love to see it and will bring the kids!!

  13. Hawaii has always been one for the list and so has the volcanoes! I’ve always been amazed by them as a child… Since it’s still an active volcano, I wonder how close you can get and what would you do in an instance it erupts?!

    But it is honestly really awesome of you to bring your kids here.. Imagine all the experiences they’ll have! Travel and education – what more could you want? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • NatalieTanner says:

      It is a great combination! Who says education has to be boring??? ๐Ÿ™‚ The volcano is actively erupting and has been since 1938! You can see the lava at night…not a good idea to get too close though I think it is technically possible but involves a VERY difficult hike. The easiest way to see the lava glowing would be to take a helicopter flight over it at night!

  14. 2travellingsisters says:

    Totally agree with you that kids achieve a lot from spending more time outdoors, creates awareness what happening around them! We have visited few places where volcanoes had changed the whole landscap, but visiting an active volcano is our next must do in the list! This volcano tube looks so amazing!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      It was and was a highlight for the whole traveling group! Volcanoes are such a cool sight…. you can see the lava itself at night. Wouldn’t that be crazy awesome??

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