5 des­ti­na­tions that re­ally are hot spots

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Spotlight - BY LYNN O’ROURKE HAYES Fam­i­lyTravel.com

For an up­date on ash, lava, steam and smoke, visit a vol­cano. These five des­ti­na­tions pro­vide a mul­ti­fac­eted op­por­tu­nity to get out­side and learn more about planet Earth.


Lo­cated just 16 miles south­east of Naples, Pom­peii is a pop­u­lar desti­na­tion and one of the most vis­ited arche­o­log­i­cal sites on the planet. When Mount Ve­su­vius erupted in the year A.D. 79 A.D. the lava flow cov­ered the flour­ish­ing Ro­man towns of Pom­peii and Her­cu­la­neum as well as the sur­round­ing area. The ruins, ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic since the mid-18th cen­tury and now a UNESCO World Her­itage site, tell a com­pelling story of what life was like dur­ing op­u­lent times. Hik­ers can as­cend to the top of the in­ac­tive vol­cano for a grand view of the land­scape. To un­der­stand the his­tory, walk­ing tours and other guided op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able.

Con­tact: http:// pom­pei­isites.org/en


Wake to a cho­rus of trop­i­cal wildlife in the only lodge lo­cated in­side the Arenal Vol­cano Na­tional Park, on this vol­canic won­der. The ma­jes­tic and per­fectly shaped cen­ter­piece of a rich rain­for­est set­ting can be ob­served from most guest rooms, the din­ing room and an ex­pan­sive deck. Horse­back rid­ing, bik­ing and hik­ing trails wind through old lava fields and soft jun­gle trails where howl­ing mon­keys, slith­er­ing snakes, but­ter­flies and col­or­ful birds beckon vis­i­tors. The lodge serves as a great base camp from which to ac­cess river raft­ing, zip lines, hang­ing bridges and hot springs. The last erup­tion of Arenal took place in 2010. Austin Lehman Ad­ven­tures of­fers fam­ily tours to the re­gion.

Con­tact: www.austin lehman.com; www.arenal ob­ser­va­to­ry­lodge.com


On March 20, 1980, an earth­quake of 4.2 mag­ni­tude reawak­ened this vol­cano, lead­ing to the May 18 col­lapse and erup­tion. To­day, fam­i­lies vis­it­ing the Na­tional Vol­canic Mon­u­ment, about 50 miles north­east of Port­land, can learn more about the ge­o­logic and bi­o­logic his­tory of the vol­canic peaks that dom­i­nate the Cas­cade Range though in­ter­pre­tive talks, walks and theater pre­sen­ta­tions. Hik­ing, bik­ing and he­li­copter tours also pro­vide an ex­pan­sive view of the re­gion’s re­cov­ery.

Con­tact: https:// parks.state.wa.us/245/ mount-st-he­lens


Ac­ces­si­ble only by float plane or boat, this re­mote park is lo­cated on the Alaskan Penin­sula near Ko­diak Is­land. Span­ning nearly 5 mil­lion acres, the pro­tected re­gion is the site of the No­varupta vol­cano’s 1912 erup­tion, con­sid­ered to be the 20th cen­tury’s most pow­er­ful and heard as far away as Juneau. To­day, vis­i­tors come to ob­serve the dense pop­u­la­tion of brown bears and to fish for tro­phy rain­bow trout, salmon and Dolly Var­den trout that run in Katmai’s streams and rivers. Dur­ing the sum­mer months, meals and lodg­ing are avail­able at Brooks Lodge, a pop­u­lar spot for bear view­ing. The Na­tional Park Ser­vice also staffs a vis­i­tor cen­ter and of­fers in­ter­pre­tive pro­grams.

Con­tact: nps.gov/katm/ in­dex.htm; www.travel alaska.com


The his­toric Vol­cano House of­fers fam­i­lies the op­por­tu­nity to wake to a mag­nif­i­cent sun­rise over one of the world’s most ac­tive vol­ca­noes. The only lodg­ing op­tion within Hawaii Vol­ca­noes Na­tional Park on Hawaii Is­land, the ho­tel rests on the rim of Ki­lauea caldera with a view to­ward Hale­mau­mau crater. Learn about re­cent vol­canic ac­tiv­ity, the re­gion’s bi­o­log­i­cal di­ver­sity and Hawai­ian cul­ture through driv­ing and walk­ing tours as well as the Ju­nior Ranger pro­gram. Ask about he­li­copter and boat tours.

Con­tact: nps.gov/havo/ in­dex.htm; www.go­hawaii .com

DEAN J. KOEPFLER News Tri­bune (Ta­coma, Wash.) file

Crowds en­joy the view of Mount St. He­lens from the John­ston Ridge Ob­ser­va­tory in Wash­ing­ton. The vol­cano col­lapsed and erupted in May 1980.

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