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Explore Hilo: Uncover the Best Activities and Hidden Gems for Your Island Adventure

Explore Hilo: Uncover the Best Activities and Hidden Gems for Your Island Adventure

Hilo, a charming town located on the eastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, offers a plethora of exciting activities and hidden gems to explore. From stunning waterfalls and lush gardens to cultural landmarks and unique dining experiences, Hilo has something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a history buff, this vibrant town is sure to captivate your senses. In this article, we’ll uncover the top things to do in Hilo to make the most of your island adventure.

1. Immerse Yourself in Nature’s Grandeur

Hilo is a nature lover’s paradise, boasting breathtaking landscapes and pristine natural wonders. Start your adventure by visiting the stunning Rainbow Falls, where a 80-foot waterfall cascades into a picturesque pool. Next, explore the lush flora and fauna of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, home to over 2,000 plant species from around the world. For a unique experience, take a hike through the bubbling lava tubes at the Kaumana Caves. End your day by witnessing the awe-inspiring beauty of the Akaka Falls, a towering waterfall surrounded by lush rainforest.

2. Dive into the Rich Cultural Heritage

Hilo embraces its rich cultural heritage, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the traditions and history of Hawaii. Begin your cultural journey at the Pacific Tsunami Museum, which showcases the impact of tsunamis on Hilo’s history. Explore the Lyman Museum and Mission House, where you can discover artifacts and exhibits that shed light on the island’s natural history and cultural heritage. Don’t miss the chance to attend a traditional hula dance performance or visit the Mokupapapa Discovery Center, a hands-on museum dedicated to the unique marine ecosystem of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

3. Indulge in Unique Dining Experiences

Hilo offers a vibrant culinary scene, where you can savor a variety of local delicacies and international flavors. Start your culinary journey at the Hilo Farmers Market, a bustling market where you can sample fresh tropical fruits, local snacks, and homemade treats. Treat yourself to a plate of traditional Hawaiian food, such as poi and kalua pork, at one of the local eateries. For seafood lovers, a visit to the Suisan Fish Market is a must, where you can indulge in freshly caught fish and other delectable seafood dishes.

4. Discover Hilo’s Hidden Gems

While Hilo has its fair share of popular attractions, there are also hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Explore the Wailuku River State Park, where you can take a dip in the Boiling Pots or picnic amidst the lush surroundings. Discover the Liliuokalani Gardens, a tranquil Japanese garden featuring koi ponds, arched bridges, and stunning views of Hilo Bay. If you’re up for an adventure, hike to the top of Mauna Kea for a breathtaking sunset or stargazing experience. These hidden gems will offer you a unique perspective of Hilo and its natural beauty.

5. Enjoy Outdoor Adventures

For those seeking adventure, Hilo offers a plethora of outdoor activities to get your adrenaline pumping. Go ziplining through the lush rainforest, embark on a thrilling helicopter tour over the volcanoes, or try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding in Hilo Bay. Nature enthusiasts can explore the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, the only tropical zoo in the United States, or venture out on a whale-watching tour to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. The options for outdoor adventures in Hilo are endless, ensuring an unforgettable experience for adrenaline junkies and nature enthusiasts alike.


Q: When is the best time to visit Hilo?

A: Hilo enjoys a warm tropical climate year-round, but the best time to visit is during the drier months from April to September. However, keep in mind that Hilo is known for its rainfall, so it’s always a good idea to pack a rain jacket or umbrella.

Q: How do I get to Hilo?

A: Hilo is served by Hilo International Airport, with direct flights from major cities in Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States. Alternatively, you can also reach Hilo by taking a scenic drive from the Kona side of the Big Island.

Q: Are there any beaches in Hilo?

A: While Hilo is known for its stunning coastline, it’s important to note that swimming opportunities are limited due to strong currents and rough surf. However, nearby Richardson Beach Park and Carlsmith Beach Park offer protected areas for swimming and snorkeling.

Q: Are there accommodations available in Hilo?

A: Yes, Hilo offers a range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. From boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts to vacation rentals and campgrounds, there are plenty of options available for a comfortable stay in Hilo.

Q: Are there any hiking opportunities in Hilo?

A: Absolutely! Hilo is surrounded by lush rainforests and has numerous hiking trails to explore. Some popular hikes include the Mauna Loa Trail, the Kilauea Iki Trail, and the Pepeiao Cabin Trail. Just remember to pack appropriate footwear and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Q: Can I visit Hilo as a day trip from Kona?

A: While it is possible to visit Hilo as a day trip from Kona, it is recommended to allocate at least a couple of days to fully explore and experience everything Hilo has to offer. The scenic drive and the variety of attractions make it worth spending more time in this beautiful town.

So, whether you’re seeking natural wonders, cultural experiences, culinary delights, or outdoor adventures, Hilo has it all. Plan your island adventure today and uncover the best activities and hidden gems that this vibrant town has to offer.