After spending three days in Oahu before my Transpacific sailing, I was beginning to doubt Hawaii. Was Oahu beautiful? Yes, of course. However, it felt extremely touristy and was so busy. The first stop on my cruise was Hilo, Hawaii. I’m here to tell you that the Big Island restored my faith in Hawaii. The Big Island is what I pictured in my mind when I thought of Hawaii. Here are the best things to do in Hilo, Hawai’i.
Visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
The history of the volcanoes is what makes Hawai’i and her ecosystem so unique. There are a variety tours that take you on hikes, underground or even above by helicopter. Keep in mind that if you want to hike, you should get into hiking shape before your trip! Here are some excursions to check out!
Visit Rainbow Falls
When you are in Hawai’i, you have to visit a waterfall. I think it is a right of passage. The first thing I did in Hilo was to go visit Rainbow Falls. It is a really great photo opportunity and is accessible for people of all ages and size. This is nice since some waterfalls through the islands require some hiking. Note: This is the cover photo picture to this post!
Go to Punaluʻu Beach for a Black Sand Beach
There are a few beaches around Hilo that have black sand. You can go to Punaluʻu Beach or Richardson Beach Park. Black sand is made up of lava pieces. It is not a soft sandy beach but it is really unique and a must-have photo opportunity. Here is a site with beach amenities for each park!
Get something sweet at Makani’s Magic Pineapple Shack
I know it sounds silly but this was high on my list. I came across this cute local business on Instagram with their vibrant colored treats. Makani’s Magic Pineapple Shack is a must stop. They have acai bowls, themed ice cream cones, and more frozen treats! The food is locally sourced and made with love. Here is my Hilo day vlog that included my stop here!
Visit the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden
Want to see more beautiful nature in Hawai’i? Check out the Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. This is a nonprofit nature reserve that is absolutely gorgeous. It is in a valley that leads out to Onomea Bay. The views are breathtaking and a must see.
Hilo feels a lot more like laid back Hawai’i. You are on island time and it does not feel like a major tourist mecca like Honolulu. The Big Island is truly spectacular and deserves to be on your bucket list. Make sure you check out my Kona review while you spend time on the Big Island.