Southwest Airlines is proud to serve Hilo International Airport.
When you choose Hilo as your starting-off point for your Island of Hawaii getaway, you’ll find it’s full of rich Hawaiian culture and opportunities for adventure, both in town and beyond. Beach-bound sunbathers, rejoice! Hilo is home to several primo sandy points of interest. Ride the waves at local surf spot Honolii Beach Park, enjoy the black sands at Isaac Hale Beach Park, or take a dip at the reef-surrounded Carlsmith Beach Park.
Get a new view of Hilo when you trade sea level for the highest point in Hawaii. Just 35 miles outside the city stands the dormant volcano Maunakea, revered as a home of the gods and a place of worship. The summit of Maunakea towers nearly 14,000 feet into the air and takes approximately two hours to conquer by car. Visitors should stop at the visitor information center at just over 9,000 feet for amazing views from a safe altitude. Gaze into the heavens from this sacred cultural landmark.
Gardens abound in the Hilo area, perfect for flower fans to explore. Nearby Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden is 17 acres of preserved valley brimming with indigenous plant life and stunning waterfalls. These aren’t the only falls you’ll go head-over-heels for during your visit—explore Rainbow Falls and Peepee Falls at Wailuku River State Park or Kahuna Falls near downtown Hilo, then take a ride to Akaka Falls at Akaka Falls State Park along the northern coast. Quench your waterfall thirst with a visit to Waipio Valley Lookout, home to Hiilawe Falls, the tallest on the island. Looking for lava? Explore Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, and other ancient Hawaiian sites.
While Hilo is no longer a leader in sugar production, it does continue to grow and export macadamia nuts. There are two macadamia nut farms to tour on the Island of Hawaii. You can also explore coffee bean farms, cocoa bean farms, and world-famous chocolate factories. But there’s more than export foods on the menu. Hilo is known for its adventurous food scene, where you can sample everything from street food to haute cuisine that’s all distinctly local. Get a taste of Hilo’s vibrant culture downtown at the East Hawaii Cultural Center, which features exhibitions from local artisans, theater, and arts-based workshops. Dive into the history of life in Hilo with a visit to the Lyman Museum and Missionary House and explore displays that chart the rich collection of cultures that built Hilo into the place it is today, from native Polynesians and Hawaiians to migrants from the cultures of the Pacific Rim.
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Things to do in Hilo (Island of Hawaii).
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden
- The Maunakea summit
- Akaka Falls State Park
- Peepee Falls
- Rainbow Falls
- Carlsmith Beach Park (Four Mile)
- Honolii Beach Park
- Pohoiki Beach (Isaac Hale Beach Park)