Hilo is popularly known as the “Big Island”. It is located on the northeastern side of the island of Hawaii. It is a tropical rainforest region and has a significant tourism sector which has a deep impact on their economy. Hilo offers amazing natural beauty locations including the waterfall, rainforest, beaches and peaceful gardens. Hilo will give you ample opportunities to explore outdoor activities. It is an ideal destination for couples, family, and adventurers here is the list of best places to visit in Hilo so as to make your journey memorable.
Let's explore Hilo points of interest and 15 best things to do in Hilo:
1. The famous Akaka Falls
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It is a pleasure watching the 422 ft tall waterfall. It is located close to Hilo. It is one of the most picturesque places to photograph. A walk through the Akaka Falls State Park is amazing with only greenery all around filled with bamboo groves and wild orchids. The state park is well directed and mostly, visitors love to hike at the park and enjoy the fresh air and cool breeze.
2. Shop at Hilo Farmer’s Market
It is an open market in the downtown Hilo and known as the best farmer’s market in Hawaii. More than 200 vendors gather there to sell fresh sea fish, fresh produce vegetables and fruits, tropical flowers, craft and jewelry etc at an affordable rate. Locals earn their livelihood through this market and visitors come to buy their unique organic products. The market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 6 am to 4 pm.
3. A tour at Hilo’s Japanese garden
Hilo’s Liliuokalani Garden is the largest Japanese garden in Hawaii, located on the banyan drive along the Hilo Bay. The garden is constructed beautifully with arching bridges over fish ponds, rock gardens, stone path, and lanterns. It was created in the early 1900s. It has clear water and green plants. A place where you can spend hours relaxing and is an excellent venue for picnics. There is also a traditional Japanese teahouse named Shoroan. People often conduct events here too.
4. A must tour in Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens
The Rainforest was opened in 1978 and is the only natural tropical forest zoo in the USA. This is home to over 80 animal species and to some endangered Hawaiian animals like spider monkeys, lemurs, Nene geese. This zoo is one of the major attractions in Hawaii. This is also a botanical garden which reserves 100 varieties of flora and palm trees which you won’t get to see anywhere. It offers a great experience walking around the park and with the lush green surrounding.
5. Plan for the most beautiful Hamakua Coast Scenic Drive
The Hamakua Coast offers one of the most beautiful stretches of scenic beauty on the island and is located north of Hilo. The drive from Hilo to Waipio Valley is breathtaking. You will see numerous waterfalls, thick tropical foliage, exotic plants. The view is the most scenic. Also, along the way you can go along the Pepe’ekeo scenic drive which is highway 19. Passing through waterfalls, crossing jungles far from the city of traffic it literally gives you a thrill. There are many other spots this road drive will provide you so it is highly recommended not to give it a miss. Just hire a car and go along with nature.
6. See the beautiful flowers in Nani Mau Garden
The Nani Mau garden was first opened in Hawaii in 1972 and it is located just 3 miles from Hilo. This is another Japanese garden founded by a Japanese immigrant named Makato Nitahara. it is a beautiful tropical garden that displays gorgeous orchids, rare palm and many more. You can come here for an evening walk.
7. Visit Hilo’s another iconic waterfall
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The gorgeous Rainbow Fall is a quick drive from the downtown. It has a modest height of 80ft and runs along the Wailuku River. It is a popular tourist spot with visitors coming here mainly because it is easily accessible from the city. The trail is beautiful with diverse greenery all around. Early morning visit would be the time of the day.
8. Biking on the Big Island
Biking on the Big Island is considered as the most adventurous outdoor activity. It can be really fun and exciting too. Visitors can experience the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by biking but one should be very cautious. Visitors can simply hire a rental bike and they can ride the roads to where ever they want to explore the natural wonder of the earth. It is suggested to take a proper map or a professional guide with you. He can take you through some amazing terrain. One can experience topographies from dynamic lava landscape to rainforest.
9. Enjoy a Helicopter Tour and get to see the beautiful island
If you want to see something unusual and different then take a helicopter tour of the Island. There are some places which are nearly impossible to reach but that shouldn’t be an obstruction to see the world’s beautiful places. There are many tour companies in the city that provide you a helicopter tour service. If your wallet allows you to spend some cash then it is good because helicopter tour is a bit expensive but this will definitely bring you an unforgettable moment despite its high price.
10. Enjoy Hiking in Hilo
Hiking in Hilo is adventurous and a wild experience. It gives hikers plenty of places to hike and a is paradise for outdoor activities. Climate differs as the place is a coastal zone and rainforest but if a hiker is fit and skillful then that shouldn’t stop him to explore. A hiker always sees more hidden and beautiful places on the earth. The Akaka State Park, Kalopa State Park, Mauna Kea are some of the best hiking places. There are also some for the beginner hikers like Waipi’o Valley hike, Pololu Valley hike, Hawaii Botanical garden are the few. The best is to hire a guide or join a hiker group.
11. A visit to Wailuku River State Park in Hilo
Located not very far from the downtown Hilo. It is a 16-acre park, set along the Wailuku river in Hawaii. Rainbows are more often visitors can see a blend of mist and sunlight. Hikers can hike this park. Flash flood is dangerous here as the river water rises quickly and causes flood. The Wailuku River State Park is worth to spare some time.
12. Get yourself ready for surfing in the Ocean
Hilo offers the best of surfing for all levels.The waves are the best for surfing activity in the Big Island. The island is large so there are particular spots that are meant for surfing sport. If you are beginner then there are surfing schools that offer surfing lessons. You can always rent a surfboard and enjoy either swimming or surfing in the big waves.
13. Enjoy the Best Scenic Drive on the Island
Hilo offers endless beautiful scenic drives that will make one crazy for the view that it offers. The island boasts a series of iconic scenic roads. The road to Maui is most famous and beautiful drive, moving through the curvy highways passing cliffs with waterfalls and tropical rainforest is just beyond any words. There is another Kapoho Kalapana Road, close to Hilo and passes by a few beach parks. Also, Chain of Crater Road is impossible to miss. It is a two and half hour of scenic round trip. The road will take you to the lava covered flanks of the Kilauea volcano. A single trip will make your memory worth.
14. Try Hawaii Cuisine
Try traditional Hawaiian cuisine like Kalua pork, Chicken Long Rice, Poi, Lomi Lomi Salmon. These are few authentic Hawaiian meals. A visitor must also try their local food ‘Manapua’. At any Hawaiian restaurant, you will get this delicious and delectable food. Restaurants of other cuisines are also widely available on the island. So, the visitor won’t face any problem even if they don’t want to try Hawaiian cuisine.
15. Lava Viewing tour
The Big Island is the favorite place for lava viewing spot. Tours are offered for lava viewing within the Hawaii Volcano National Park for lava biking and hiking tour. The Kilauea Volcano is the only active volcano in Hawaii which is the most attractive spot. Join a group and go with a professional guide. There is also Lava boat tour which departs from the Isaac Hale Beach Park. Don’t give it a miss.