Kalapana, once a village with a stunning black beach on Hawaii's southeast coast, was caught in the path of lava spewing forth from one of Kilauea's vents and since then area has been overrun with volcanic flow. Regular volcanic activity still shut down roads here in the Puna district, Hawaii's 'Wild West', though ironically most of the attractions in the region are in turn related to recent volcanic activity. Watch for steam vents as you drive from North Puna to the south across the rift zone—locals in the know use some of the bigger vents as saunas.
Wander Lava Tree State Monument for the memories of trees; lava blew through here at one point encasing the trunks. The wood has since rotted away but these odd vertical columns of lava remain. Stop for a soak in the waters at Pualaa Park and Thermal Spring before snorkeling the Kapoho Tide pools and adjacent Waiopae Ponds.
Puna district is south of Hilo and most of the sites here can be explored from Routes 130, 132 and 137.