Daily Archives: August 13, 2013

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Located in the state of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes are literally unlike any other National Park in the world. Obviously once volcanoes have been thrown into the mix of sights to see at a natural monument, some eyebrows are going to be raised. A visit to Hawaii can be extravagant by itself, but the experience only gets better with a trip to the Hawaii Volcanoes.

The Hawaii Volcanoes can almost be a life-changing experience, the realization of how prevalent a volcanic eruption can be is astounding.

When can I visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?

The park itself is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including holidays. Although, there may be certain areas of the park that won’t be available depending on the time of the year as well as current weather conditions. Guests are recommended to visit during times where the Visitor Center or Museum are open, unless their plans are simply hiking or relaxation.

The Kilauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum

Hours for the Kilauea Visitor Center are 7:45 AM – 5:00 PM every day of the week. The highlight of this center is a 25 minute film that is shown every hour on the hour throughout the day. The film is entitled “Born of Fire… Born of the Sea” and highlights a lot of the history behind the Hawaii Volcanoes and introduces new guests to the park.

For a closer look at some of the most historic Hawaii artifacts, guests are encouraged to check out the Jaggar Museum which is open daily from 8:30 AM – 7:30 PM.

Volcano Art Center Gallery

Open from 9 AM – 5 PM Daily, the Volcano Art Center Gallery is located right next to the Visitor Center. This is a major attraction of the Hawaii Volcanoes that is really a lot of fun for an entire family, guests will be able to enjoy a look at various art that has been submitted and purchased by the park.

The Art Center Gallery is also home to the Higher Taste Café, which offers “gourmet health food”. Hours for the Higher Taste Café are Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.

What activities are available at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?

Other than the exhibits and informational booths, there is still plenty to be explored at this National Park. Guests often partake is numerous activities such as Hiking, Biking, Camping, Lava Viewing, and much more. For newcomers, it is recommended that they try out one of the many Ranger Programs available, these are short tours led by a certified park ranger to show off certain areas of the park and give a little history lesson.

What is the cost to visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?

Park entrance fees are relatively cheap in comparison to most National Parks in the United States. Access to the Hawaii Volcanoes can be granted via a 7 day pass, which can be purchased for $10 per non-commercial vehicle. The pass allows the vehicle and all of its passengers to enter the park. For individuals on foot, bicycle, or motorcycle a 7 day pass for just $5.

For those seeking an even greater adventure, there is an option to purchase the Hawaii Tri-park Annual Pass for just $25. This pass gives access to not only the Hawaii Volcanoes, but also the Haleakala National Park and the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park as well, for one full year from the purchase date.

There are several fee free days as designated by the National Park Service where entrance, tour, and transportation fees are waived. These days include: Jan. 21st, Apr. 22nd – 26th, July 13th, Aug. 25th, Sept. 28th, and Nov. 9th – 11th.

Grand Circle

Residents from all over the world can agree one of the most desired tourist locations is the Grand Circle. Millions of people from across the globe come to visit the United States just to visit a few National Parks in the Grand Circle. Basically, the Grand Circle is a group of 12 National Parks that span across Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

Grand Circle Parks in Utah

Arches National Park – This park received its name from the 2,000+ sandstone arches that reside within the park’s 18 mile radius. There are plenty of trails to hike and sights to see at this beautiful southeastern Utah Park.

Bryce Canyon National Park – Something just sets Bryce Canyon apart from the rest of the National Parks in Utah. There are literally thousands of stalagmite type structures that are each unique in their own way, and help create some of the most unbelievable views that one can experience looking at a natural monument.

Canyonlands National Park – The Canyonlands present a very abstract view from the outlook points across the park. Grand View Point which is estimated 30 miles from Moab, grants visitors of the park with a view that will blow them away, guests are able to look all around see almost every aspect of the park from this one peak.

Capitol Reef National Park – Hiking is big in Capitol Reef, which makes up for the fact that it isn’t the most beautiful sight to see in Utah when you have parks like Bryce Canyon and Zion nearby. However, there are still some great scenic drives to take and of course you can always get out and take part in the hiking experience.

Zion National Park – Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park both rival each other for being the best Utah NP, but the problem is these parks are just so different there really isn’t a whole lot to compare. Zion has some amazing hiking trails and viewpoints, as well as a beautiful scenery that changes from desert land to grassy areas at certain points.

Grand Circle Parks in Colorado

Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park – Sculpted by the Gunnison River, the Black Canyon is one of the most amazing sights in the United States. Not only does it offer up fantastic views, it’s a great place for thrill seekers, since it exposes visitors to some of the steepest cliffs in the world.

Mesa Verde National Park – Mesa Verde is like taking a step into ancient history unlike any other. Cliff Dewllings are the biggest attraction in Mesa Verde, these are guided tours showing off different areas of the park and explaining the history behind them.

Grand Circle Parks in New Mexico

Chaco Culture National Park – Most Puebloan culture-oriented areas are composed of different Cliff Dwellings, much like Mesa Verde. However, Chaco Culture differs in this aspect as it is actually a shallow canyon, which is cradling the ruins of ancient structures.

Pecos Nat’l Historical Park – Located in Sante Fe, this National Park gives it’s guests a look into an ancient culture and how life was lived a long time ago in this area.

Grand Circle Parks in Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park – Arguably the most beautiful natural monument in the entire world, the Grand Canyon is a major tourist attraction for people from all across the Globe. It obviously also had an impact on the name “Grand Circle” due to its overwhelming popularity, which is well deserved.

Petrified Forest National Park – Known for its historic Triassic fossils, the Petrified Forest is a must see for all Jurassic enthusiasts. Not only does it offer up great historical value about the dinosaur era, it also has some of the most unique rock formations found in the US.


Denali National Park

Alaska is home to a lot of extremely beautiful locations and overlooks, and one of those locations is the Denali National Park. Denali spans across over six million acres of land with many different types of animals, plants, and structures along the way. This park has something to offer for everyone, local residents, tourists, pets, and kids.

One of Denali’s biggest attractions, is the 20,320 foot peak at Mount Mckinley, which is the tallest peak in all of North America.

Denali National Park Visitor Center

Almost every park has some sort of a visitor center for guests to come and learn about the history of the park, purchase things from the gift shop, and other various activities. However, the quality of these centers is not always on par; that is not the case with the Denali Visitor Center.

This center is located at the 1 ½ mile marker on Park Road. Park rangers are standing by to assist any guests of the park with needs they may have, or questions they’d like answered. This center also features a 20 minute, non-narrated film that shows off some of the Denali’s best features. The film is entitled “Heartbeats of Denali”, and is shown every 30 minutes throughout the day.

Hours for the Denali NP Visitor Center are 8 AM – 6 PM daily, and the center is open from May 15th – September 17th.

What is the cost to visit Denali National Park?

Pricing for Denali is a bit more expensive than most National Parks, but is also done differently than what is normally seen. Visitors will be required to purchase a seven-day pass for $10, and this is for each individual person as opposed to the vehicle pass most parks offer. Children 15 years old and younger will have their entrance fee waived.

Most local residents and recurring travelers often opt to purchase a Denali Annual Park Entrance Pass. Essentially this acts the same as the regular pass, but is valid for 12 months instead of just one week. The price for the Annual Pass is $40, and can be purchased from the Talkeetna Ranger Station along with the regular entrance pass. Passes are also available via the Denali Visitor Center in the summer-time, however the Ranger Station is open year round.

What activities are available at Denali National Park?

A lot of visitors to Denali will take advantage of the park’s bus tour options. The road through Denali is 92 miles long, but residential vehicles are only able to drive up to 15 miles through the road, and only during the summer months. Therefore by not taking the bus, guests are going to miss out on over 75% of Denali’s full experience.

Of course Denali also features a lot of different activities, such as cycling, hiking, camping, and even fishing. However one thing you’ll see here that you won’t in many other places, is the Denali Sled Dogs. Since they have always been a huge park of Alaskan history, it’s a no brainer that the Sled Dogs would be a major attraction to this park. Visitors can see the dogs in action and see how exactly they’ve helped many people over the years with everyday life in Alaska.

Although Sport hunting is prohibited by law at Denali, local guests are allowed to engage in subsistence hunting and trapping in certain areas of the park. Guests are required to have a valid hunting license for the state of Alaska, and are expected to know and follow all of the state’s hunting rules and regulations while on the park.