Hamakua Coast – Island of Hawaii | Go Hawaii

Hamakua Coast

Scroll to Continue

Hamakua Coast

Located just north of Hilo on the northeastern side of the island of Hawaii, the Hamakua Coast is one of the most beautiful stretches of scenery on the island. With nearly 84 inches of rainfall a year, the region boasts lush tropical rainforests, stunning waterfalls and tranquil green valleys. 

During most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Hamakua Coast was covered with sugar cane. Today, communities can still be found where small farmers grow kalo (taro), hearts of palm, vegetables and tropical fruit. Small towns like Historic Honokaa Town also feature specialty shops and boutiques with their own local flavor.

For a memorable drive, take the Hamakua Heritage Corridor from Hilo to Waipio Valley Lookout. As you drive along the scenic coast, you’ll see deep water-carved gulches, thick with tropical foliage. Stop and tour gardens full of exotic plants, including the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and World Botanical Gardens with its triple-tiered Umauma Falls. The heritage drive includes two of the island’s most famous waterfalls—the 442-foot-high Akaka Falls and the 100-foot-tall Kahuna Falls. One look at their cascading beauty and you’ll understand why they’re called wailele (leaping waters). At the end of your journey, stop at the Waipio Valley Lookout to savor a truly stunning panoramic view.

Hamakua Coast Highlights

Hamakua Heritage Corridor

Take a memorable drive from Hilo to the Waipio Valley Lookout to see scenic overlooks, waterfalls, botanical gardens and small towns. 



This friendly, small town is the gateway to the Waipio Valley, and home to cute local shops and restaurants.


Waipio Valley Lookout

Located on the northern Hamakua Coast, the sacred Waipio Valley was the boyhood home of King Kamehameha I and an important center for political and religious life in Hawaii. 


Get a Free Island of Hawaii Travel Planner Guide

Order a Guide