26 Best Places and Things To Do in Hilo, Hawaii

Hilo, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a charming town known for its natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Hilo:

1. Akaka Falls State Park

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This state park is home to the stunning Akaka Falls, a 442-foot waterfall that cascades into a lush tropical jungle. The park also offers hiking trails through the rainforest and a chance to see native plants and wildlife.

2. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

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This 40-acre garden is home to over 2,000 species of plants and flowers, many of which are endemic to Hawaii. Visitors can take a self-guided tour and explore the garden’s pathways, streams, and waterfalls.

3. Rainbow Falls

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Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Falls_(Hawaii)

This picturesque waterfall is located just a few miles from downtown Hilo and is known for the rainbow that appears in the mist on sunny mornings. The falls are easily accessible by car or foot, and there is a lookout point for taking photos.

4. Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo

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This free zoo is the only one in the United States located in a rainforest. Visitors can see a variety of animals, including tigers, monkeys, and Hawaiian birds, as well as learn about the native flora and fauna of the rainforest.

5. Richardson Beach Park

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This beach park is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. The beach has a black sand shoreline and is surrounded by palm trees and lava rock formations.

6. Liliuokalani Gardens

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This Japanese-style garden is located on the banks of Hilo Bay and features traditional Japanese landscaping, koi ponds, and a teahouse. Visitors can stroll through the garden’s pathways and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

7. Lyman Museum and Mission House

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The Lyman Museum is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum that showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawaii, including exhibits on geology, archaeology, and Hawaiian culture. Visitors can also tour the adjacent Mission House, which was built in 1839 and provides a glimpse into the lives of early Christian missionaries in Hawaii.

8. Kaumana Caves Park

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The caves are accessible via a short hike through the forest, and visitors can explore them on foot with the aid of flashlights or headlamps. The caves are relatively safe to explore, but visitors should be aware of the potential for falling rocks and uneven terrain.

9. Carlsmith Beach Park

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The park is named after Eben P. Low, who donated the land to the County of Hawaii in 1957. The park’s beach is a beautiful crescent-shaped bay surrounded by palm trees and greenery. The water in the bay is relatively shallow, making it an ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling. The calm waters also make it a great place for families with young children to play and enjoy the ocean.

10. Kulaniapia Falls

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The waterfall is located on private property, but visitors can access it by booking a tour with Kulaniapia Adventures. The adventure company offers a variety of tours, including zip lining, kayaking, and a waterfall tour that takes visitors on a hike to the base of the waterfall.

11. Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens

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The zoo’s mission is to educate visitors about Hawaii’s unique ecosystem and the importance of preserving it. The zoo has a variety of exhibits, including a rainforest aviary, a primate exhibit, and a petting zoo with farm animals. Visitors can also see a variety of big cats, such as tigers and leopards, as well as native Hawaiian birds and other animals.

12. Coconut Island

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The island is surrounded by calm waters and is a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking. Visitors can relax on the island’s sandy beach or explore the rocky shoreline, where they can see a variety of marine life, such as sea turtles and colorful fish.

13. Pacific Tsunami Museum

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The museum’s exhibits include interactive displays, photographs, and videos that document the science and history of tsunamis. Visitors can learn about the causes of tsunamis, how they are detected and measured, and the devastating effects they can have on coastal communities.

14. Wailuku River State Park

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located just a few miles from downtown Hilo, Hawaii. The park is known for its natural beauty and is home to several waterfalls and hiking trails. In addition to its natural attractions, Wailuku River State Park has several picnic areas and a playground for children. The park is a popular spot for family outings and picnics.

15. Onekahakaha Beach Park

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Onekahakaha Beach Park is a beautiful and popular park located on the eastern outskirts of Hilo, Hawaii. The park is a great destination for families and beach lovers, offering a wide range of amenities and activities.

16. Honoli’i Beach Park

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The beach at Honoli’i is a mixture of sand and rock, and is surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation. The beach is not ideal for swimming, as the waves and currents can be strong and dangerous. However, it is a great spot for surfing and bodyboarding, with waves that can reach up to 15 feet in height during the winter months.

17. St. Joseph Catholic Church

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St. Joseph Catholic Church is known for its vibrant community and welcoming atmosphere. The church hosts several events and activities throughout the year, including masses, weddings, and community gatherings. Visitors are always welcome to attend mass or simply take a tour of the beautiful church.

18. Reeds Bay Beach Park

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located in Hilo, Hawaii, and is known for its calm waters and beautiful scenery. The park is a great destination for families and beachgoers looking to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii. In addition to its beach and water activities, Reeds Bay Beach Park has several amenities for visitors, including picnic tables, barbeque grills, and restrooms. There is also a large grassy area for playing games and relaxing, and a playground for children.

19. Pe’epe’e Falls

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The waterfall is easily accessible via a short hike along a well-maintained trail. The trail winds through lush greenery and offers several viewpoints of the falls along the way. The falls themselves are approximately 60 feet tall and feature a stunning cascade of water that plunges into a clear pool below.

20. Keaukaha Beach Park

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The beach at Keaukaha Beach Park is a mixture of sand and rocky areas, and the waters are usually calm and clear. The beach is also home to several tide pools and rocky outcroppings, which make it a great spot for exploring and observing marine life. Visitors can often see sea turtles, tropical fish, and other marine creatures in the shallow waters of the beach.

21. Leleiwi Park

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The park is a popular destination for visitors looking to explore Hawaii’s natural beauty and experience its oceanic environment. The park’s rugged shoreline features several tide pools, which are home to a variety of marine life, including colorful fish, crabs, and sea urchins.

22. Nani Mau Gardens

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The gardens were founded in 1972 by Makato Nitahara, who was a renowned horticulturist and landscape designer. Today, the gardens are maintained by his family and are a popular destination for visitors looking to experience Hawaii’s natural beauty.

23. Aloha Adventures

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Aloha Adventures is a tour company in Hilo, Hawaii, that offers a variety of outdoor activities and adventures for visitors to the island. The company is dedicated to providing unique and memorable experiences for its guests, while also educating them about Hawaii’s culture and natural environment.

24. Kalakaua Park

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located in the heart of downtown Hilo, Hawaii. The park is named after King David Kalakaua, who was the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The park is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, offering a peaceful green space in the midst of the bustling city.

25. Bayfront Park

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located in downtown Hilo, Hawaii. The park is situated along the Hilo Bay waterfront and offers stunning views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes. It serves as a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, providing a place to relax, enjoy outdoor activities, and take in the natural beauty of the area.

26. Gilbert Carvalho Park

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located in Hilo, Hawaii. The park is named in honor of Gilbert Carvalho Sr., a former director of the Hawaiʻi County Department of Parks and Recreation. It serves as a popular recreational area for both locals and visitors, offering a range of amenities and activities.

Hilo is a truly unique and beautiful destination that offers visitors a range of activities and experiences. From natural wonders like waterfalls and volcanoes to cultural attractions like museums and gardens, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Hilo.