©U.S. Geological Survey. Predictable eruptions of Mauna Loa draw crowds to view the impressive fireworks display

Family Vacations in Hawaii: Mauna Loa

Part of Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Loa (meaning "Long Mountain") rises 13,677 feet above the blue surface of the Pacific Ocean. It is second in height (in Hawaii) only to Mauna Kea, a quieter volcano. While many mountain peaks rise higher than Mauna Loa, its actual size is nothing short of astonishing. Measured from its base, which is 18,000 feet underwater, Mauna Loa exceeds even Mount Everest in height -- by a full 2,000 feet. And the sea floor, compressed by the sheer bulk of the mountain, has sunk nearly another 30,000 feet. This makes Mauna Loa the world's most massive single mountain, with a bulk more than 100 times that of Washington's Mount Rainier.

Atop the summit of Mauna Loa, a caldera called Mokuaweoweo features a number of craters that have previously erupted. The caldera floor is covered with lava contorted into otherworldly formations, daunting pits, and towering cinder cones. Current-day eruptions within the crater of the volcano are relatively harmless. Volcanologists have been able to reliably predict activity. Because of this, an impending eruption typically draws thousands of people to the crater's rim.

Mauna Loa Information

Address: HI-11

Hawai`i National Park, HI

Telephone: 808/985-6000

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

Admission: $10 per vehicle or $5 per person

Continue to the next page for details on family vacations in Hanakapi'ai Falls -- a tropical paradise.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Hawaii State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Hawaii, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.