ALOHA!

 

If you’re looking to spend one day in Hilo on the Big Island…

What are some of the best things to do near Hilo town?!

These things listed below can be perfect to do if you’re making it a day trip to Hilo from Kona.

You can make it a perfect one day in the Hilo area to see Big Island waterfalls, caves that are lava tubes, and even a black sand beach!

I spent 3 weeks on the Big Island, and here’s what you need to know about Hilo!

 

5 best things to do near Hilo

Best things to do in Hilo. one day in hilo itinerary. beaches in hilo. where to see turtles in hilo. waterfalls in hilo. caves in hilo. what to do near cruise port. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

Driving time listed below is from Hilo town.

 

 

1. Rainbow Falls

Waterfalls in Hilo
Hilo to Rainbow Falls: maybe a 5 minute drive

Best things to do in Hilo. rainbow falls at wailuku river state park for waterfalls in Hilo. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

These waterfalls near Hilo are located at Wailuku River State Park.

It’s one of the easy waterfalls to see on the Big Island.

This is practically in Hilo town, and it can be a pretty quick stop.

Once you park, you are basically at the waterfalls lookout point.

There’s a small trail off to the left that will take you up to the spot where you can see the river that feeds the waterfalls.

There are also some banyan trees around here.

 

Best things to do in Hilo. rainbow falls trail banyan trees. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

See more about Rainbow Falls.

 

 

2. Kaumana Caves

Lava tube cave hike in Hilo
Hilo to Kaumana Caves: Maybe a 10-15 minute drive

Best things to do in Hilo. kaumana caves for lava tube caves in hilo. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

This can be a fun stop to walk through caves formed by lava!

You can make this a quick stop by just visiting the cave entrance without going in, but the fun is in walking through the Kaumana lava tube!

 

best things to do in hilo: kaumana caves



😴 Search for hotel deals!



best things to do in hilo: kaumana caves

 

There are 2 main cave openings here.

Over to the left is a spot where you can get down and crawl to get up close and personal to the smaller opening that lava came through.

Over to the right, you can walk on uneven lava rocks as you venture further into the cave.

Even walking for 15-20 minutes into the cave and turning around can be a super cool experience.

You light your own way, so you absolutely need to be sure to come prepared if you’re going to venture further than the immediate cave entrance. (Don’t depend on your phone light only – use this as a back-up plan!)

Consider this one of the best hikes on the Big Island!

See more about Kaumana Caves.

 

 

3. Carlsmith Beach Park

Chance to see turtles in Hilo
Hilo to Carlsmith beach park: maybe a 10 minute drive

Best things to do in Hilo. carlsmith beach park for where to see turtles in hilo. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

This can be a good spot to test your luck on seeing turtles near Hilo.

I saw a turtle while I was here in the pond-like area that opens out to sea, and I also talked to someone who said he was swimming with 4 or 5 turtles in the ocean.

 

 

4. Richardson Ocean Park

Black sand beach in Hilo
Hilo to Richardson Ocean Park: maybe a 10-15 minute drive

 

If you’re looking for a black sand beach near Hilo, this is it!

This ocean park or beach park can be another good spot for a good chance of seeing turtles near Hilo.

I also saw a turtle here.

This is located right down the road from the other Hilo beach, Carlsmith beach park.

 

 

5. Akaka Falls

Best waterfalls near Hilo
Hilo to Akaka Falls: maybe 20-30 minute drive

Best things to do in Hilo. akaka falls state park for waterfalls near Hilo. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

This is one of the best waterfalls on the Big Island, and it’s a bit north of Hilo but not too far.

It’s a part of the Akaka Falls State Park.

Be sure to take the Akaka Falls loop trail for a more dramatic approach to the waterfalls. (And for the chance to walk in baynan trees!)

 

Best things to do in Hilo. akaka falls trail banyan trees. Big Island Hawaii travel blog



😴 Search for hotel deals!



 

See more about Akaka Falls.

 

There’s a $1 entry fee for this state park, and there’s free parking outside of the state park gate.

Otherwise…

Everything else on this list are FREE things to do in Hilo!

 

 

And the summary aka quick list…

Bucket list of things to do in Hilo!

 

List of best things to do in Hilo. what to do in hilo. near cruise port. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

For more things to do on the Hilo side of the Big Island:

 

HAPPY EXPLORING THE HILO SIDE OF THE BIG ISLAND!

 

Best things to do in Hilo. what to do in hilo. near cruise port. Big Island Hawaii travel blog

 

 

📌 Save this post for later! Save on Pinterest! 👈📌

🌋
Where to stay near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Read the reviews at partner website!


Here are some ideas for your time on the Big Island!

Among the most popular things to do on the Big Island are Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls State Park, and Waipio Valley!

For Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the main road to drive is Chain of Craters Road and it will take you to see the best lava fields in Hawaii! Before that though (or after!) you will want to make a stop for the Thurston lava tube. You can also hike into a former lava lake by doing the Kilauea Iki Trail!

Other Big Island activities you may want to make time for are the best black sand beaches in Hawaii (including Punaluu black sand beach to see turtles maybe!) and the Papakolea green sand beach of Hawaii.

👇 Explore the Big Island map on google maps! big island map

See the list:

ALOHA!