National Volcano Park is worth a drive to the southeast part of the island if you’re interested in seeing the remnants and quite impressive effects of centuries-old lava flows and possibly some volcano-in-action right now.
I was curious how far we could go into the park given the recent volcano eruptions there. Answer- pretty darn far, all the way up to the lookout point and museum, however that’s where they had barricaded any further traffic. Don’t bother trying to trek on foot across the barricades, rangers are stationed there and they will Gandalf your curious butt should you try to pass. Not that I know personally. Nope.
There are many, many marked stops along the major artery through the park that will afford good views of lava flow effects; some are quite stunning. Definitely see the museum at the top, it will answer every question you didn’t know you had about how volcanoes are formed, become active, erupt and then become dormant or extinct.
Another focal point is the ‘Sea Arch’. Don’t get your hopes up about how awesome the Sea Arch will be, its just a rock arch that juts out into the Pacific. Its interesting but more interesting is the drive down to the location. The views of the black, jagged terrain against the blue-green of the ocean are amazing.
I did stop at the so-called petroglyphs on the way to the Sea Arch. Um, they looked fake to me but what do I know. Its an interesting walk out to the site but once you get there its just a bunch of black dots on rocks that your 5-year-old might have done. The upside was that there were some massive rainbows in that location.