For many visitors to the Big Island of Hawaii, an excursion to the active Kilauea volcano is one of their vacation’s highlights; even if you’re not lucky enough to see a plume of red magma exploding into the sky, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of encountering your first “Beware of being trapped by lava” sign. And if you’re a pair of true volcano enthusiasts, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of starting marriage at Volcano House, on the heights of Kilauea. The 33-room lodge, which has welcomed such visitors as Mark Twain and FDR, is the only accommodation in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and it’s just emerged from three years of renovations, so you can count on plenty of creature comforts—including a restaurant that sources 95 percent of its ingredients from local ranchers and farms.
Don’t be concerned that weddings aren’t mentioned on the hotel’s website; Volcano House welcomes the opportunity to host them. Additionally, the Park Service says that with a permit, small weddings are allowed almost everywhere in the park, the main exceptions being on the edge of the still-erupting Halemaumau Crater, which the lodge sits beside, and the hula platform near the Kilauea Visitor Center. Most couples chose overlooks with a view into the Kilauea Caldera or Kilauea Iki Crater, or forested areas such as Kipukapuaulu. A number of local companies can help arrange a wedding overlooking Kilauea, including Weddings at Ali’i Gardens, located in Volcano Village, just outside the park.
It’s a long road to Volcano House—about three hours from Kona Airport; a 45-minute drive if you land in Hilo. There’s a small town right there but shopping is limited, so double-check that you’ve packed all your wedding essentials.
Keep in mind
Don’t even think of having your reception anytime other than night, when Kilauea’s glow makes sures your marriage gets off to an unforgettable start.