Hawaii Volcanos National Park is a must see while you are on the Big Island. If you are staying on the Kona side of the island, this is an all day adventure.
The first thing that I think when I see the volcano is that I feel like I’m on the moon or some distant planet. There is lava rock everywhere, along with vents that let steam out constantly. Even the smell is unique to the area.
Big Island is home to 5 different volcanos. The Volcano National Park tours, movies and ranger talks will give you a great education as to how the Big Island of Hawaii was formed. You will also learn which ones are extinct, how often and when the latest eruptions happened and what is going on currently with the one in the park.
I live in Kona. Kona is on the west side of the island and is about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Volcano National Park. For that reason, we usually get a place to stay when we plan to visit the park. It is best to go in the afternoon. Learn all you can while you are there. Take a few hikes then head back to your room.
We usually eat dinner and wait for the sun to set. At night, you can see a lot more of the burning lava or at least get a pretty good light show. Be prepared with warmer clothing, rain coat or wind breaker. It is frequently windy and rainy with evening temperatures dipping down into the 50s.
Check before you go to see what the latest activities are in the park and what is open. You can go to the Volcano National Park website at: https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm
This site has all the information you need to know about the park. They even have two web cams that you can look at in real time to see what Kilauea is up to.
One of the web cams is a thermal image of the volcano’s activity, in real time, inside the creator. The other one gives you a birds eye view down in the Halema’ua’u crater. This updates every 60 seconds.