8. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Self-Guided Driving Tour
Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Once you’ve downloaded the tour, your journey begins at the entrance station to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From there, you’ll head to the Visitor Center and have an option to hike the popular Sulfur Banks Trail. Then, you’ll pass steam vents where water is constantly boiling beneath the earth’s surface, before continuing on to Kilauea Overlook. This astonishing vista looks out across the massive Kilauea Crater, and it’s one you won’t want to miss! Next up is Kilauea Iki Trail, which actually goes through a volcanic crater that was once filled with lava! Then there’s the Thurston Lava Tube, offering an underground experience you won’t soon forget. As you drive toward Puʻupuaʻi Overlook, you’ll hear about how volcanoes actually created the Hawaiian islands. Then you’ll pass a string of remarkable craters left over from past eruptions. On your way to the Pu’u Huluhulu Trail, next, you’ll hear about the goddess Pele and her mysterious hair, which can be found across the park. Then you’ll find out how that national park was created in the first place. After that, you’ll reach Mauna Ulu Lookout, offering views of the aftermath of a five year long eruption! Then you’ll visit a spot overlooking the site where a village once stood… before disaster after disaster erased it. Continuing on, you’ll learn to identify different kinds of lava, find out how certain plants survive in this inhospitable climate, and hear the dramatic true story behind the “day of falling sands.” Next, you’ll hear an ancient Hawaiian legend and stop by Alanui Kahiko Overlook, offering views of where the Chain of Craters Road was before being destroyed by a lava flow. Then you’ll reach the Pu’uloa Petroglyphs, authentic rock carvings dating back hundreds of years! Finally, you’ll arrive at the Hōlei Sea Arch, a magnificent sight that may not last very much longer. Your tour concludes here.