State Parks • Waterfalls
Popular things to do
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
- Nice walk, excellent views, worth the $10 per person fee. Not difficult drive, and parking free with paid attendance.Written 22 January 2023This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Neat spot of the road worth stopping at for a few minutes to enjoy the scenery and learn about the stories of the native Hawaiians and the falls.Written 15 December 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Worth a walk if you're in the area. Beautiful huge trees and pathways with a Japanese asthetic. Right next to beach and downtown.Written 15 December 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Just as expected on a visit to Hilo. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of people. Prices OK. Great tourist attractionWritten 21 January 2023
- So first thing first - driving through Hawai'i island from east to west is easy but you do feel the altitude/pressure - in your eyes, head, ears - it's a quite intimidating road - perfectly easy to drive without obstacles and visibility but there is no service for about 50 miles and you don't want your car to die - we did see some + we drove a 2022 Ford Escape and going one way we "lost" 1/4 of our gas tank! Round trip from KOA to ITO airports = half!!!! of the gas tank gone! And there are no gas stations, food stops anything - there is just some military base and some governmental/science buildings here and there.
Now, getting that out of the way - you will thus arrive late at night here if you arrive for the stargazing (otherwise I don't see any point unless you want to go all the way to the top, which is the summit and not the Visitor Center) - the drive from the main road once you make the turn towards the Visitor Center perfectly fine and easy - there are no light posts but there are these reflective little things in both the middle and the edges of the road - your headlights will perfectly thus mark the road for you - otherwise the only thing you will be able to see is just the stars in the skies :)
Once at the visitor center - there is some little info here and there to read, we did entertain this idea for a moment but to be honest we didn't come here for that - we come here as most people that time; to see the stars! For the most part it was a very nice experience but;
a. the visitor center closes at around 9PM or even 10PM - so it takes a while for them to turn off the white lights inside that spoil the experience - also they leave the red lights on, which aren't as bad, but still affect the experience - so you can go around the area maybe to try to avoid that or just stay at the parking lot (people coming in and out also do affect it sadly but we all need to park...)
b. the experience was nice but I was hoping for the absolute best of my life considering the altitude... to be perfectly honest it wasnt! The best so far I had seen ever was while on island of Eleuthera, Bahamas in the middle of summer one year - also, I must say the following night after we did stargazing we went at night tot he Volcanos National Park where the stars visibility was also better - for the record all 3 instances had perfectly clear skies with no clouds or moon affecting it - it must have been some gases or something in the air while here at Mauna Kea that felt like there was a "some kind of super light fog" as things weren't as crisps as they were in 2 other instances :( still an absolute must experience to have
Of course the pictures I took don't give it justice with the silly iphone but if you don't do the volcanos at night then this is your best shot at it while on Big Island - very memorable experience, very laid back!
TIP: it's cooooooold and windy! It wasn't as cold and windy as we experienced a week later in Maui on Haleakala (despite just a few feet difference) but you want to dress up to enjoy this! Also, in Maui = no restrooms at the top (where you want to experience it from) vs here on Mauna Kea there is a rest room at the Visitor Center that you will end up chilling atWritten 22 November 2022
- Long ago, these caves held molten lava rivers that made their way down the mauna. As the crust formed over top, a cave and tunnel system formed. The volcanic rocks, oxides, and plant life make you feel you're in a prehistoric jungle. So beautiful! Wear good shoes with traction for this is a wet place and the stairs leading down can be slippery. Take a flashlight and use your night function on your camera to get some great shots.Written 19 January 2023
- The Lyman Museum and the historical mission house tour were the highlight of our day in Hilo. The museum itself is an interesting assortment of displays. On the first floor a very beautiful shell and mineral display, w/o much context, is still a rich and fun experience. Also a visually rich and very clear geological history of the creation of the Hawaiian Islands. However the second floor Hawaiian culture and historical overview is the real surprise and highlight. It is so well done, well thought out, and beautiful. Not to be missed.Written 24 January 2023
- If you do the botanic gardens, you will see half of this drive before hand. While doing the botanic gardens, you will notice a different set of trails when you get to the bottom. This drive allows you to access those trails. It also allows you to access the beach at the bottom which we were wondering about on the day of the botanic gardens visit. The drive itself is pretty short. The restaurant at the end we found to be ok at best. Worth a visit if you are in the area, but don’t make a special trip.Written 6 January 2023
- Great snorkeling area. You have to be brave when you first get in, because it is cold. There is a cold water spring that flows through, so as we snorkeled we would have warmer areas and cooler areas. Not too deep. We were there during a rainy season and there were areas of the surrounding park that were a bit muddy. The bathroom was wet inside from the rain as well. Basic park bathroom.Written 16 January 2023
- We stayed 3 nights at this inn. Short drive outside of Hilo proper. It's not cheap but it's worth the money! Very clean, very beautiful, with fantastic views, wonderful walking paths, bamboo garden, and of course the waterfall and its pool. Unfortunately the water was too murky to go in while we were there because of heavy rains. The room price includes good breakfasts, served on the lanai. The furnishings are beautiful, staff are very friendly and hospitable, and there are plenty of lovely and comfortable places to read, walk, meditate, or just hang out. Highly recommend, and we would stay there again for sure.Written 28 October 2022
- Great place to snorkel. Black sand beach, very small, lots of shade, and some picnic tables. Water is rougher here but it is good for snorkling.Written 7 January 2023
- Driving toward Volcano we say the sign and decided to take the short diversion. Sure glad we did. How many rain forest zoos have you been too? This is our only one. Don’t miss the white tiger and large assortment of birds. Very clean, well organized with lots of kid activities. City of Hilo, well done!Written 22 January 2023