The unique feature of Lava Beds is the caving. Underneath the park are many interconnected caves, and there are numerous access points throughout the loop drive in the park. Some of the caves are large enough that one can stand in them, but the most interesting caves are the ones that demand crawling and a little bit of pain.
I highly suggest that you buy a bump cap at the ranger station before starting to explore the cave. My bump cap was the best three dollars that I ever spent. The rangers also provide a service where if you don't check back by five in the afternoon, they start looking for you. It's a great service because one can easily get lost in the caves.
My recommendations for going caving include bringing plenty of water, some food, and a dependable flashlight (or two). A few spare sets of a batteries are nice as well. Also, wear some old clothing since you'll be on your stomach or back in the deeper parts of the caves. Kneepads are nice, but not 100% necessary. Some good duct tape around the knees works well too.
The caves themselves don't look like much. In fact, after a few hours inside one, you'll think that they all look the same. The draw of caving is not the views, but the fun of exploration. It's always fun to try to fit through openings barely a foot high.
There's also not that many people who do go caving, so it's not as crowded as other national parks. Unfortunately, if there are people in the caves already, it usually creates a traffic jam due to the tight confines of the caves.
Caving at Lava Beds is an unique experience... but it can cause problems for people who are claustrophobia.
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