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America is famous for its National Parks.  There are over 60 parks across the country, each comprised of their own natural beauty.  These are great locations to add to your next vacation itinerary.  Many National Parks are comprised of rugged mountain terrain, vast grasslands, and other landscapes.  But, if you are looking for an experience that is made from the four elements, a trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is just want you need!  

Getting There

Getting to this park requires a trip to Hawaii’s Big Island, home of Pele the Hawaiian goddess of fire!  There are airports scattered throughout the islands, with island hopper flights available.

While there are a variety of ways to experience Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, we figured there was no better way to take in the gorgeous views than by helicopter tour!  We chose Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours.  This is located on the west side of the island near Waikoloa Village.

There are some risks to helicopter tours, as well as negative environmental impacts to consider.  Be sure to research your tour company thoroughly.

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The Four Elements

One of many things we love about Hawaii is how the people are deeply rooted to their environment.  This is evident in their cultural traditions and can even been seen in luau practices.  

We took this a step further and experienced it during our tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  

Earth

The Hawaiian islands are some of the most beautiful islands on earth.  We soared over this landscape and saw spectacular coastlines, cascading waterfalls, lush fields, and volcanoes.  This tour gave us one of the most diverse views of what earth is. 

Seeing earth that has formed from the fury of volcanoes is incredible.  Interestingly, the island of Hawaii is one of the few places that is an every growing land mass.  Each time one of the volcanoes erupts and lava flows into the Pacific, the island gets a little bigger.

Air

We experienced air in so many different ways at this Park!  Touring by helicopter elevated us into the midst of this element.  It was fascinating to see the landscape by air!

We also had an interesting interaction with the air element during our trip.  We planned our tour during a time of national shutdown.  This meant the air space above Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was shutdown!  Thankfully, the ban lifted the day before we were supposed to fly.  We definitely gained a new perspective on the element of air related to travel during our trip.

Fire

Exploring the four elements in Hawaii wouldn’t be complete if we weren’t able to add some fire to the mix!  Unfortunately, neither Kilaua or Mauna Loa were actively erupting during our tour.  However, we were able to see spots of molten hot lava peaking through the hard, grey formations from recent flows.

We also witnessed much of the past volcano activity that has impacted the residents of this island. 

Water

Surrounded by the beautiful water of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is like something out of a dream.  The beaches on the Big Island are not as crowded as neighboring Oahu.  That makes this an ideal place to escape for a bit. Having a birds eye view of paradise below made us appreciate this beautiful spot even more.   

Not only did we enjoy the sweeping ocean views, but a helicopter tour takes you inland to see some of the island’s waterfalls!  There are countless narrow streams cascading hundreds of feet off the sea cliffs into the lush valley floors below.  It seems every nook and cranny on this island offers a beautiful water feature.

We flew over the “road to no where” which has been destroyed by lava flows on both ends.  This shows how easily a volcano can isolate populations. 

At the water’s edge where the lava has been flowing into the ocean.  This  actually increases the size of the island with as it cools and hardens, making it one of the few places that is getting bigger over time.  The landscape and coastline is never the same thanks to the volcanoes!

Our tour also took us over plantations and the town of Hilo, as well as the towering sea cliffs at the north end of the island.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is great for hiking, guided tours, and of course helicopter flights.  If you want to see  and photograph the unspoiled beauty of volcanoes, waterfalls, and lush tropical rain forests, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must for you!

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32 Comments

  1. Gorgeous pictures of such a beautiful place. I love taking my family to different National or State Parks. I wish we lived closer to Hawaii because it truly looks amazing.

  2. I have not done the helicopter tour. What a different perspective than hiking through and around the lava flows. Nature is awesome!

  3. Amazing! Love the view from the Sky….the photos are amazing and I like how your featuring a countdown of the national parks!

  4. What gorgeous views – love them! I also love the series you are doing on National Parks – fab idea! It’s a lovely way to support nature for their 100th birthday! Looking forward to reading more 🙂

  5. We did a helicopter flight last year during our babymoon on the Big Island! It was definitely a highlight of the trip 🙂

  6. Seeing the Volcanoes National Park from the air is surely impressive. I think it is hard to imagine the size of the lava flows without seeing them in their entirety. The road to nowhere is a stark reminder that mother nature is in control.

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