It’s not every trip that one gets to vacation at a volcano. So if you’re going to do it, it’s best to do it right the first time to benefit from the most adventurous, lava-filled itinerary on the planet. Each volcano offers its own exploration and (lack of) danger, but don’t let fear defer you as scientists receive plenty of warning to evacuate regions if necessary.
Mount Rainier National Park | Washington
Although it’s snow-capped, this massive dome looks to be on the bubble of bursting one day – thus it’s still an active volcano underneath the glacial beauty. For the best wildflower views, hike in Spray Park or the Skyline Loop Trail located at Visitors Center. Intense backpackers hike the perimeter, which takes approximately 10 days. For those up to the 14,000+ climb, summit Rainier solo or with one of many tour operators. For those who prefer life on two wheels, bikers meet down yonder in Ashford and climb, slowly but surely, up toward Paradise’s Visitor Center.
Rotorua & Tongariro National Park | New Zealand
Three volcanoes, Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, are located in this world heritage park. Get your ski in during the winter months at Whakapapa and Turoa Ski resort located on the Ruapehu slopes. Hikers find plenty of trails during the summer months up and around the volcanoes. Intense hikers hit the Tongariro Crossing, which is an eight-hour trek along the moonscape. Don’t forget your camera, the sites are 100% Pure and stunning.
Mt Arenal | Costa Rica
This continuously erupting volcano is situated amidst an expansive lake and jungle treetops. Hike across old lava fields within the jungle or hit the lake to windsurf and fish. The jungle and lava fields are populated with indigenous wildlife such as toucans, monkeys and the occasional sloth. Take a visit or stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge featuring excellent views of the eruption, bottomless buffets, guided hikes and chill-out pool.
Furnas | Portugal
What a volcano is to nature is an oven to humans. Locals cook pots of meat, veggies and stew, which brews within the hot earth and hot springs. Better yet local spring water is available to cleanse your body on a cellular level. For those who like to burn their calories, canoe, mountain bike or horseback ride your way around the volcano. Relax at the recommended Praque Terra Nostrato swim in the thermal pools. Many local spas use the mineral water and mud for treatments.
Kilauea | Hawaii
Lava, gas and molten rock are the product of this continuously bursting volcano. View or walk the observation point or take a boat or helicopter tour for a better view. If things get too steamy, cool off in one of many coastal beaches.
Eyjafallajökull | Iceland
Although this volcano caused air traffic havoc in 2010, it’s now an even more popular volcano to explore. Jeep and helicopter tours are popular for those who enjoy easy access. For a strenuous vacation, hikers explore the region on foot, which allows access to the now-dormant volcano. Iceland offers a plethora of volcanoes and waterfalls to explore, so be sure to visit the nearby Sejalandsfoss waterfall.
Elizabeth is a fitness professional, workshop presenter and freelance writer. She is an active traveler who treks the globe looking for interesting stories to write and places to photograph. Her most significant travel achievements include living and volunteering in Australia twice and studied yoga in India.