There are some amazing things to see on the Big Island. It's possible to stand next to lava as it flows slowly, making flaming contortions over the earth to harden into ropey strands of lava that glitter like black diamonds. After visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you may fly over Pu'u O'o vent, which has been coughing up lava more or less steadily since 1983, in a helicopter or an airplane. It is possible to hike to Pu'u O'o, but I'm told that it is a long, hot hike, and there may be restrictions. Even if you cannot get to Pu'u O'o easily, park officials have sometimes cooperated with tourists assisting them to get very close to the lava flows. It depends on where the flows are, so check with park officials to find out if you can see the "live" lava. If you can, take the opportunity to see something you will probably never see anywhere else.
Puu Oo, the center of current lava flows, seen from a helicopter
For more on volcanoes, the Volcanoes National Park, and hiking around the park, click here.
Hawaii Volcanos National Park is both desolate and captivating
Steam weeps from fissures around the Park
Halemaumau, a smoking crater inside a caldera, now contains a lake of lava (2014)
Offerings to Pele can often be seen at Halemaumau
This walkway in the park is now gone
Fiddle head ferns in the rain forest that surrounds Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Towering plumes of smoke created by lava flowing into the sea
Lava flowing into the sea as people watch
Pahoehoe lava is ropey in texture