The Best Things To Do In Hilo
Hilo, Hawaii is the state’s third largest city. It has a laidback, charming “old Hawaii” vibe to it. Today, Hilo is the seat of government of the County of Hawai‘i. It’s also home to stunning waterfalls and a base to explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Explore Downtown Hilo
The small downtown district of Hilo is basically two parallel streets with the main waterfront buildings facing Hilo Bay. Stroll down the rows of unique shops, art galleries, boutique stores and delicious local restaurants.
King Kamehameha Statue
During the reign of King Kamehameha, Hilo served as his first official capitol after unifying the Hawaiian Islands. The 14-foot statue of King Kamehameha was sculpted at the Fracaro Foundry in Vicenza, Italy, in 1963, but was not erected on this site and dedicated until June 1997.
Read more about the King Kamehameha Statue here.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK DAY TRIP
Visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island, to walk through lava tubes, see ancient petroglyphs and walk around the rim of Kilauea volcano.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two of the five volcanoes on the Big Island – Kilauea and Mauna Loa – which are also among the most active volcanoes in the world.
Due to the nature of the unpredictable nature of volcanoes, you may or may not see lava flow or glow during your visit. Check the website before you plan your visit if this is the primary reason for going. No matter if you do or don’t see lava, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is absolutely worth visiting.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is so big that you could easily spend a few days exploring. If you are pressed for time however, it is possible to see highlights on a day trip to the park.
Read more about things to do in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park here.
RAINBOW FALLS HILO
Rainbow Falls is located in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Named for the rainbows that are often spotted in its mist each morning, Rainbow Falls are 80 feet tall and almost 100 feet in diameter. Waianuenue Falls is its Hawaiian name and means “rainbow seen in water”.
Legends say that the cave beneath the waterfall was the home of Hina, mother of the demigod Maui.
Read more about visiting Rainbow Falls here.
ʻAKAKA FALLS STATE PARK
See majestic ʻAkaka Falls, 442 ft high & one of the most iconic waterfalls on the Big Island of Hawaii, & Kahuna Falls in the one short hike.
ʻAkaka Falls State Park is located at the end of End of ʻAkaka Falls Road (Hwy. 220), 3.6 miles SW of Honomū on the northeastern Hilo Coast.
Read more about visiting ‘Akaka Falls State Park here.
Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens Hilo
Visit Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens, the largest authentic ornamental Japanese garden outside of Japan, located southeast of downtown Hilo.
The 24.14-acre park is situated on Banyan Drive, Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. The park’s site was donated by Queen Liliʻuokalani, and lies on the Waiakea Peninsula in Hilo Bay. The park is open 24 hours daily, admission is free.
Read more about visiting Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens here.
COCONUT ISLAND (MOKU OLA) IN HILO
Moku ola (Coconut Island) is an island in Hilo bay connected to the mainland by a 250 ft (75 meters) bridge. A beautiful spot to relax for a few hours with a picnic, Moku ola (Coconut Island) has two sandy beaches and tide pools for kids to explore.
Read more about visiting Moku ola (Coconut Island) here.
Hawai‘i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden
The Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden is a nonprofit botanical garden and nature preserve located on the 4 mile scenic route off of Route 19 at 27-717 Old Māmalahoa Highway, Pāpa’ikou, Hawaii, Hawaii.
Read more about visiting the Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Gardens here.
Big Island Candies
Visit this Hilo institution for locally-made macadamia candies and cookies. The cookies are delicious and the gelato a must in the Hilo humidity.
Read more about Big island Candies here.
Where to stay in Hilo
We stayed at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel in a corner one bedroom featuring a kitchenette and two queen beds.
The hotel was extremely comfortable and well-located for our few days we spent in Hilo.
Read more about the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel here.
More things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii
Find the best things to do in Hilo, Hawaii
Visit Coconut Island, Hilo
Enjoy Liluokalani Gardens in Hilo
See the Captain Cook Monument and Kealakula Bay
Get a glimpse of the past at the Waikoloa Petroglyphs
Get the best things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii
See a volcano up close at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Visit Rainbow Falls, Hilo
See a majestic waterfall at Akaka State Park, Hilo Hawaii
See turtles on Punaluu Black Sand Beach, Hawaii
Swim with giants on a manta ray night snorkel, Hawaii
See lava and land at the foot of a waterfall on a helicopter tour
Hold a seahorse at Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm Kona Hawaii