When it comes to volcano adventures, there's no bigger thrill than actually seeing molten lava up close and personal. Weather and volcano conditions permitting, at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park you can come within spitting distance of lava. The park boundaries include two of the world's most active volcanoes: Kilauea and Mauna Loa.
Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983, and the eruptions aren't exactly predictable Old Faithful-like fits limited to the confines of the national park boundaries. In March 2012, a molten finger of lava rolled down from Kilauea and ravaged the last house in a subdivision that Kilauea has been systematically destroying for years [source: Sur].
Compared to Kilauea, Mauna Loa, the other volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is a gentle giant. Its last major eruption occurred almost 30 years ago, in 1984. Mauna Loa isn't exactly the picture of serenity, however. It is the single most massive mountain in the world -- more than 27,000 feet higher than Mount Everest when measured from the sea floor.
Any visit to Hawaii definitely merits a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but strolling right up to a thread of hot, molten lava may not be for everyone. For those who prefer their volcano vistas from far away, our next volcano adventure is the one for you.