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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Vicinity

Few visitors realize that in addition to "the volcano" (Kilauea)—that mountain oozing new layers of lava onto its flanks—there's also Volcano, the village. Conveniently located next to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village is a charming little hamlet in the woods that offers dozens of excellent inns and bed-and-breakfasts, a great diner, and a handful of things to see and do that don't include the village's namesake.

For years, writers, artists, and meditative types have been coming to the volcano to seek inspiration, and many of them have settled in and around the village. Artist studios (open to the public by appointment) are scattered in the forest, laden with ferns and mists.

Do plan to visit the Halemaumau summit crater at night. It's fun to start with a sunset cocktail at the Volcano House, where you can sit by a large picture window and watch the glow of the crater fill the room. Then after dark (stay for dinner if you wish), head over to the Jaggar Museum, where you can stand at the crater's edge and see the live eruption in all its glory, as park rangers and docents give impromptu talks.

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