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Hilo

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Hilo

Located on the northeastern side of the island of Hawaii, Hilo offers breathtaking natural beauty plus all the amenities of a vibrant town. On the geographic flipside of the volcanic Kohala Coast, the region is blessed with dramatic waterfalls, fertile rainforests and blooming gardens. It’s also home to Hilo International Airport and is a convenient stop on your way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, located 45 minutes south.

A busy farming and fishing area in early times, Hilo evolved into a commercial center for the sugar industry in the 1800s. Downtown Hilo was built around its crescent-shaped bay and became the seat of county government. Today, Downtown Hilo is a charming town offering museums, art galleries, shops and restaurants. 

Discover the area’s fascinating history at the Lyman Museum, learn about the terrifying tsunamis that nearly swallowed Hilo at the Pacific Tsunami Museum or head to the newly built Imiloa Astronomy Center, a world-class attraction housed in three striking titanium cones (representing the three tallest mountains on the island of Hawaii: Maunakea, Maunaloa and Hualalai). 

To taste some of Hawaii’s exquisite produce or buy local crafts, try the Hilo Farmers Market in Downtown Hilo. See more local culture when you browse the art at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. Or, purchase a Hawaiian keepsake at one of Hilo’s many popular local shops.

Hilo has plenty of natural beauty, too. The Liliuokalani Gardens is a peaceful respite and features Japanese-style fishponds, pagodas and rock gardens on its 30 acres, while Wailuku River State Park is home to the 80-foot Waianuenue (Rainbow Falls) and Peepee Falls. Visit the nation's only rainforest zoo, Panaewa Rainforest Zoo, to see a collection of exotic plants and animals, including two Bengal tigers. Whatever your itinerary, a visit to Hilo is worth the trip to experience an authentic taste of the island of Hawaii.

Island of Hawaii Travel Tips: Travel Pono

 Island of Hawaii Travel Tips: Travel Pono video
All are welcome to the island of Hawaii – especially when traveling pono (in a way that is positive). Local business owner, Soni Pomaski, shares the meaning behind the expression, reminding us all to leave the land as beautiful as we found it.

Regions of Island of Hawaii

Island of Hawaii
Hamakua Heritage Corridor
Take a memorable drive from Hilo to the Waipio Valley Lookout to see scenic overlooks, waterfalls, botanical gardens and small towns. 
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Honokaa
This friendly, small town is the gateway to the Waipio Valley, and home to cute local shops and restaurants.
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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. 
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Hilo Farmers Market
The Hilo Farmers Market is one of the best open markets in Hawaii, featuring fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and local crafts.
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Liliuokalani Gardens
Liliuokalani Gardens is a beautifully landscaped, 30-acre Japanese garden featuring fishponds, pagodas and rock gardens.
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Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls State Park features two amazing waterfalls, Akaka Falls (442 feet) and Kahuna Falls (100 feet). 
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Downtown Hilo
Downtown Hilo is the island of Hawaii's biggest small town, featuring centuries-old wooden storefronts—many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places—housing a variety of sophisticated galleries, shops, restaurants and cultural sites.
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Wailuku River State Park
If you’re looking for a waterfall near Downtown Hilo, take a short drive west on Waianuene Avenue to Wailuku River State Park.
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Punaluu Black Sand Beach
This famous black sand beach is a great photo opportunity and is almost as popular with honu (green sea turtles) as it is with visitors.
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Kalae (South Point)
The southern-most point in the Hawaiian Islands (and the United States) offers beautiful ocean views.
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One of the state’s most famous attractions is a testament to the power of nature and a rare opportunity to see an active volcano.
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Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site
Part of the National Park System, this historic site is home to one of the largest and last heiau (temple) built in Hawaii.
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Puako Petroglyph Archeological Preserve
The Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve is one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in Hawaii.
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Hapuna Beach
Hapuna Beach on the Kohala Coast is one of the largest white sand beaches on the island of Hawaii.
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Pololu Valley Lookout
The Pololu Valley Lookout offers a breathtaking view overlooking Pololu Valley, a black sand beach and the northeastern coastline.
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Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
Visit Puuhonua o Honaunau and learn about early Hawaiian history at this National Historic Park, historic place of refuge and former royal grounds.
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Keauhou
The Keauhou resort area, just south of Historic Kailua Village in Kona, is where you can often spot manta rays and honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles).
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Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona)
Historic Kailua Village is a lively seaside town in the heart of Kona home to shopping, dining and important historic sites.
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Hulihee Palace
Travel back to the days of the Hawaiian monarchy at Hulihee Palace, located right on Alii Drive in the heart of Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona).
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Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
Just south of Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport, is Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. Explore this coastal park and discover how an early Hawaiian settlement survived on the rugged Kona coast.
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Lava Tree State Park
This seven-acre State Monument is home to unusual lava tree structures that rise up out of the ground.
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Volcano Village
Visit this charming artist community located five minutes from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
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Kalapana
Once a historic town partially destroyed by lava, now a lava viewing area on the southeastern coast of the island of Hawaii.
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Hamakua Coast
Onomea Bay on the Hamakua Coast on the island of Hawaii
If you’re driving along the Hamakua Coast be sure to stop to explore some of its hidden gems, including taro farms, black sand beaches, splendid waterfalls and more.
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Hilo
Scenic view of the Hilo coast on the island of Hawaii
The perfect place to explore local shops, a famous farmers market, beautiful beaches and dramatic waterfalls.
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Puna
Lava Trees State Park in Puna on the island of Hawaii
See dramatic features such as lava trees and molds at Lava Trees State Park and swim in volcanically heated tide pools.
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Kau
Punaluu Black Sand Beach in Kau on the island of Hawaii
See an active volcano at Hawaii Volcanoes National park and learn how the Hawaiian Islands were formed.
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Kona
Crystal clear beaches in Kona on the island of Hawaii
Bright blue water, abundant resorts, coffee tastings, and unique historical and cultural landmarks — your options are plentiful.
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Kohala
Hapuna Beach State Park in Kohala on the island of Hawaii
The island of Hawaii is often called the “Golf Capital of Hawaii” because of the renowned courses found along the Kohala Coast.
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Hilo Highlights

Hilo Farmers Market

Hilo Farmers Market

The Hilo Farmers Market is one of the best open markets in Hawaii, featuring fresh fruit, vegetables, plants and local crafts.

More
Liliuokalani Gardens

Liliuokalani Gardens

Liliuokalani Gardens is a beautifully landscaped, 30-acre Japanese garden featuring fishponds, pagodas and rock gardens.

More
Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park

Akaka Falls State Park features two amazing waterfalls, Akaka Falls (442 feet) and Kahuna Falls (100 feet). 

More
Downtown Hilo

Downtown Hilo

Downtown Hilo is the island of Hawaii's biggest small town, featuring centuries-old wooden storefronts—many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places—housing a variety of sophisticated galleries, shops, restaurants and cultural sites.

More
Wailuku River State Park

Wailuku River State Park

If you’re looking for a waterfall near Downtown Hilo, take a short drive west on Waianuene Avenue to Wailuku River State Park.

More

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Travel Pono Pledge

One’s love for the planet is an inseverable relationship. Please take the island of Hawaii Pono Pledge and ask your friends and family to do the same.

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