National Treasures: Touring America’s National Parks on a Beer Adventure

Wide angle shot of Halema‘uma‘u and Kilauea Caldera // Photo by Ed Shiinoki, NPS

Wide angle shot of Halema‘uma‘u and Kilauea Caldera // Photo by Ed Shiinoki, NPS

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Founded:

At 99 years old, the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is at the center of the volcanic landscape that helped shape the islands of Hawaii. It’s also the home to the first airfield ever built on the island. With caves, desert, rainforest, and volcanoes, the park truly has it all.

Things To Do:

This unique destination is one of the only landmarks where you can spot live lava flows, tubes, and glowing craters. To get up close and personal with the inner workings of a volcano, we suggest the drive through the luscious rainforest to the Thurston Lava Tube. Here you can hike through a tube where lava once flowed. If you’d rather see the sights in the safety of a car, take the Crater Rim Drive. The drive winds around a portion of the caldera, through rainforest and desert.

Where To Stay:

For visitors wanting more than one day to explore the park, the Namakanipaio campground is a large grassy area surrounded by tall eucalyptus and ‘hi`a trees. Making it one of the best places in the park to pitch a tent for the night.

Breweries:

If you stay on the Big Island for the whole trip, you’d be foolish not to visit Hawaii’s flagship brewery. Kona Brewing Company was started in the early 90s by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa in Kailua-Kona. In 2010, Kona partnered with Craft Brew Alliance to expand their production and distribution, but the aloha spirit remains deep in their roots. After a visit to Kona’s Kailua-Kona Pub, hitchhike northeast on Hwy 19 to Waimea for a visit Big Island Brewhaus & Tako Taco Taqueria for award-winning beer like their Overboard IPA or the White Mountain Porter and the Red Giant. Still thirsty? Make your way around ‘da aina’ to Mehana Brewing Company for a tour—typically available starting at noon, Monday through Saturday.

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