State Parks • Waterfalls
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Top Attractions in Hilo
*Likely to sell out: Based on Viator’s booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, it seems likely this experience will sell out through Viator, a Tripadvisor company.
What travellers are saying
- You don't want to miss this! The falls are gorgeous and it's an easy walk even for those of us who are not in the greatest shape.Written 22 May 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- We went the day after a huge rainstorm, so the water was really muddy. No rainbow for us, but it was still beautiful. Easy to get to, good parking, bathrooms available (none too clean).Written 14 May 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- on the side of the highway. Such a hidden gem. You walk down a stair, oh my god, the trail cave is so mysterious!!!! the cave is sooo deep. At some point it becomes very narrow, lots of people gave up there. But it's like life, there are obstacles are tough, all you have to do is try to conquer it and let is pass. And exactly, after the narrow hole, the cave become much bigger, although still 100% dark. Due to I have another friend with me who does not want to continue, I did not compete the trail. Still a life lesson, who you go on a life journey is important, how or should you make a comprise, that is a question.Written 17 April 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- My luck we got to rent one of the apartments in front of the park. It is the family morning swim.
Please, safe, the people are friendly.Written 14 December 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- Our hotel was nearby, this was a great stop to visit. Very charming Japanese features, many bridges to explore over the water. A lot of people just relaxing and fishing.
We did NOT see any homeless people. It felt very safe. Walked around everywhere, with many families enjoying the sunny afternoon. It is free. Ample parking.Written 17 April 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- Visitor center is nice with souvenir type stuff, but not much beyond that in terms of educational material. The staff was very helpful answering my questions on what time one could expect the stars to be fully visible. They also gave guidance on a short hike up a hill across the street from the VIS where one can see spectacular views of the sunset. I'd recommend arriving early enough to get a parking space and doing this before waiting for the sky to be dark enough to star gaze. You will likely need your phone flash light to get back to your car.
The hilo.hawaii.edu/maunakea website says that stars are more visible to the naked eye at the visitor center versus the top at the summit given the amount of oxygen available. "Q: Do the stars look different on the summit from here at the VIS? A: The lack of oxygen on the summit means your vision is not as acute there. You can actually see more stars from the VIS than from the Summit." This along with the chance of road closures and needing a 4x4 car to get to the top of the summit convinced me to keep things easy and just go to VIS rather than to the summit.
While stargazing, I highly suggest using the phone app Night Sky X (download before you go to the VIS though). It augments the stars you see into cool images of the various constellations. It's very peaceful and beautiful to see the stars, this was the favorite stop of my trip.
It's a pain for packing, but definitely bring a warm jacket! Winds were strong around 20-30 mph and the temps were around 40 degrees F.Written 8 May 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- The sellers were pretty rude but they had all sorts of fruits and veggies. I learned about white pineapples… they are very expensive. About $45usd per. Didn’t try one because of the price but I was told that they taste the same. It’s a tiny little market on the corner of this street. The city that it’s in is very busy and there’s a lot of things to do.Written 23 May 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- A bit more difficult to get out to the water, but amazing snorkeling once you make it out. Water shoes are super helpful. There were multiple turtles sunbathing on the rocks and in the water.Written 24 April 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- What a nice friendly zoo! Amid a botanical garden. Kids love the play area too.
Entertained my 3 yr old great grandson and all of us too! Free to the public. Please leave a donation!Written 28 April 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- This was a really neat side route, we wanted to stop and see the gardens and the falls but as was so often the case on our trip everything was closed, or off limits.Written 12 April 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- It's a lovely walk, particularly if you go through the park and do a loop. There's an interesting interpretive sign that shows water levels during past tsunamis. Sobering!Written 13 March 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- This museum is right downtown in an old bank building. Admission price is reasonable. They do offer a good overview of Pacific tsunamis. Primarily exhibits from local experiences. There is multiple countries shown and their experiences. There is a small gift shop.Written 9 May 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- This was a fun, unique, informative experience! One of the highlights of our trip to the Big Island. We did the 4 hour tour which was challenging but not too hard for us (mid 40s and early 50s). Harry is kind, witty, extremely knowledgeable, and follows safety protocols. I highly recommend. You won’t be disappointed.Written 2 March 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- Note: observatory was closed to the public due to covid but we went for the view at 11K ft.
The road is not for the faint of heart. It's 15 miles of hell. Undulating, climbing paved road that made everyone nauseous. Driving through a moonscape at times as you go through the cloud layer. The view was fantastic and worth the drive. You can see the Mauna Kea observatories easily as well as Maui, ocean, and more. NO restroom and it was obvious that many folks had been using a section of rocks as a bathroom (ugh!).Written 29 December 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
- I'm thinking about what exactly is this place. For the most part, it's just like any other national park or monument's visitor center - it welcomes people and explains the establishment (entity?) to them: one can talk to a ranger, look at displays, watch a video, get a drink, go to the bathroom, etc. What makes this center different is the actual place it represents itself is distances away, and I do mean distances as the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is over a half a million square miles of mostly ocean with some small reefs and a few islands. It's a natural part of Hawaiian Island Chain too. Nobody is allowed to visit this national monument; it is a highly protected sensitive environmental area. So aside from being a mini museum, I believe this center kind of serves as a headquarters or gathering spot for various different US government agencies that takes care of the monument and are allowed to go there. I'm talking like oceanic, weather, state, federal, whatever government agencies with lots of these people themselves visiting the center or working out of there. I found all this stuff really fascinating. One of the guys sitting at a desk was telling me that when they do go out there to do whatever they do, the clothes they wear has to be frozen for at least three day to kill nasty bacteria and whatnot. They want to keep that place pristine and not introduce anything alien and harmful to the area. I talked with a lot of people here mostly about what kind of physical remains from human activity are still out there. Midway Island is perhaps the most famous spot in the monument with its WWII history and having it's only permanent human presence. French Frigate Shoals aside from having a great name has an old building or two on it. Nihoa and another small island I guess not too far from Kauai has some archaeological areas with evidence of an early Hawaiian presence - this would be awesome to visit and see if you could. Overall, this center is a great place to be educated about a very special area on Earth that sadly we all will never be able to see. Oh yea, they had this pretty cool art display thing going on I think done by kids.Written 4 March 2020This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hilo
- The best day trips from Hilo according to Tripadvisor travellers are:
- Big Island in a Day: Volcanoes, Waterfalls, Sightseeing, History
- Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
- Big Island Circle Tour and Volcano: Coffee, Wine, Waterfalls and Hamakua Coast
- Hilo Shore Excursion: Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls and Highlights
- Hilo Shore Excursion: Active Volcano, Lava Tube, Waterfall and Gardens