You deserve a virtual trip to Hawaii.

By Stacey Leasca
Updated June 01, 2020
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Peter Unger/Getty Images

While you may not be able to hop on a plane to Hawaii right now you can still pay the islands a visit right from your couch.

The National Parks Service did us all a favor a few years ago by recording several truly stunning virtual experiences in spaces across the nation. The tours, each guided by an expert ranger, bring people inside and through some of America’s most treasured and unique places. And that includes this intimate tour of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

“Explore the land shaped by the world’s most active volcano,” the narrator begins, before introducing park ranger Andrea Kaawaloa-Okita, who grew up just down the street from the park.

“Compared to the rest of the planet, Hawaii is very young,” Kaawaloa-Okita says. “It’s constantly changing and still growing.”

Upon starting the virtual tour, guests are transported to the park’s entrance, where Kaawaloa-Okita explains its “vibrant ecosystem” that comes with many native plants, birds, insects, “many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.”

Then, virtual visitors can enter right into the volcano’s incredible lava tubes.

Kaawaloa-Okita explains inside, that “lava tubes are like the veins of a volcano, transporting lava from the heart of an eruption.”

She adds, “what does lava do when it runs out of land? It starts becoming it.”

Visitors can then use their mouse to explore the gorgeous cave structure, simply clicking around to see it all as if they were right there with Kaawaloa-Okita.

From the caves, visitors head out to the coastal cliffs, where Kaawaloa-Okita explains, “over 500 new acres of land has been added to the island in the last 30 years alone.” She adds, “With new land comes new life,” explaining birds have already begun to nest in the cliffs, laying their eggs and raising their young right there.

Finally, the tour heads to a spectacular area to view the park’s active volcano. But, we don’t want to give it all away, so you’ll have to just go take the tour for yourself and feel what it’s like to stand next to Mother Nature’s newest creations.