There is great hiking available in the area around the town of Volcano, including a day hike across the bottom of the caldera of the volcano, which is within the national park.
It makes for a rugged but beautiful hiking experience. I have also been on a couple of different hikes where you could see the smoke plumes from the volcano.
There are also helicopter rides for hire, to fly along the coast, where the molten lava pours into the sea and creates the giant plumes. It is breathtaking and dramatic.
Volcano is about two hours from Kona International Airport and about forty minutes from Hilo International Airport. Rental cars are easy to get from many different companies at or near each airport.
The locals tend to be very familiar with the current volcano conditions and the opportunities for hiking and sightseeing in the vicinity.
Before you arrive, you can visit the web sites for the National Park and accommodations in the area such as bed and breakfast inns (of which there are plenty).
Once you arrive, you can ask your hosts, as well as at the local shops and grocery stores in Volcano and other towns along the highway. If you want a guided hike or a helicopter ride, ask for recommendations.
Some of the area's restaurants are quite good. The big restaurant in the town of Volcano is popular. It is next to the Post Office. I have enjoyed some great local style meals at the coffee shop in the nearby town of Mountain View ((Koa Shop Kaffee), which is very friendly.
Be sure to ask for a serving of chili water, which you can use for dipping or to sprinkle on any kind of egg dish. Also, I love Luquin's, the Mexican place in Pahoa; the food is so good that it attracts visitors from all over the Island. Pahoa is about 45 minutes from Volcano, on Highway 130.
In Kalapana, about fifteen minutes further down the highway, there is also a popular place to eat. Kalapana also attracts a large number of tourists who like to hike out to watch the volcano plumes.
Just drive to the end of the Kalapana highway (130), and follow the signs to Kalapana and the parking area. Arrive a bit before sunset for the most dramatic views, and allow about half an hour to do the walk down the trail.
Wear comfortable walking shoes, and bring water and a flashlight, as well as a snack and some headgear in case it rains, and you will not be disappointed. These are my ideas on the best Hawaiian vacation.
The wedding was just a perk. We stayed at the most beautiful and quaint condo site on the island called Hanalei Colony Resort. The condos were right on the ocean, and we woke every morning for a little scuba diving the the "back yard."
The island of Kauai is relatively small, so you can explore the whole island if you're feeling up to it. Take a lovely drive to Wiamea Canyon, to see the "Grand Canyon" of the island.
Then hike about 10 miles down the road to Kalalau Lookout, where you can see the great pacific and the breath taking Napali Coast. Take at least one day to check out the Hindu Monastari in Kauai. What great vacation ideas, a wedding, fun, sun, family, and friends. What more could you ask for?
Contributed by Cayla, Houston - My favorite vacation in my life thus far has been to Hawaii. It sounds cliché, but it was beautiful! We stayed in Maui at two different hotels on opposite sides of the island, 4 days at one and 4 days at another. I recommend switching hotels in order to really appreciate all Maui has to offer.
We did a little bit of everything including the following: snorkeling, a dinner cruise, a luau, parasailing, submarine ride, helicopter ride, and other small attractions. The beaches were beautiful, the food was fabulous, and the sites were amazing.
They have cuisine from all over the world, but the Hawaiian cuisine is truly unique. The have the freshest fruit and fish, and the best Kona coffee you'll ever taste. My favorite activity was snorkeling. We went out to Molokini Bay and it was full of fish and coral.
We even saw a shark. Parasailing was also one of a kind. If I were to go back to Hawaii, I would spend less time on the activities and more time taking in the sun and the marvelous views.
Talk about picture perfect sunsets! However, I wouldn't miss the luau for the anything! It is also a one of a kind experience. I enjoyed Maui, Hawaii mostly for the beautiful landscapes and crystal blue waters. I highly recommend saving for a trip to this breathtaking island.