Tucked into a lush rain forest near the 4,091-foot summit of Kilauea volcano, this little village is a great place to dine, shop for art gifts, or stock up on picnic goodies while visiting nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The village’s excellent inns and vacation cottages can also serve as a secluded home base for day trips to funky, friendly Hilo and Punalu‘u’s black sand beach.
Nearly everyone who visits Volcano comes to explore Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HVNP). A roiling lava lake glows and steams in Halema‘uma‘u, the summit crater. The park also has miles of trails through native rain forest and across dramatic lava plains. Displays at the visitors center and a museum at the crater’s edge vividly explain the area’s rich natural history. Entrance off Highway 11 between mileposts 28 and 29. 808-985-6000; nps.gov/havo.
In the village, the Volcano Art Center has a short nature trail where visitors can take a free guided tour. 19-4074 Old Volcano Road. 808-967-8222; volcanoartcenter.org.
Ira Ono, a native New Yorker, sells his art and works by other artists in his gallery, Volcano Garden Arts, which also has a café with a changing vegetarian menu of savory sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts. 19-3834 Old Volcano Road. 808-985-8979; volcanogardenarts.com.
Quilters will enjoy Kilauea Kreations and its homey, Hawai‘i-style arts and crafts. 19-3972 Volcano Road. 808-967-8090; kilaueakreations.com.
Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant offers fine Continental dining and game dishes from German chef Albert Jeyte. A 1938 building built as a YMCA camp also has 12 rooms. 19-3948 Old Volcano Road. 808-967-7366; kilauealodge.com.
For spicy Thai food, the Tuk-Tuk Thai Food Truck serves those on the go. Cooper Center in the Volcano Village. 19-4030 Wright Road. 808-747-3041; tuk-tukthaifood.com.
Thai Thai Bistro and Bar also offers notable pork chops. 19-4084 Old Volcano Road. 808-967-7969; lavalodge.com/thai-thai-bistro.html.
Lava Rock Café specializes in hearty breakfasts and local-style dishes. 19-3972 Volcano Road. 808-967-8526; www.lavarock.cafe.