What to See in Hilo Hawaii

What to See in Hilo Hawaii

Hilo in Hawaii was the first port of call on the Hawaii and French Polynesia cruise. It is on the big island of Hawaii and is on the east coast of the island.

It is very lush and green as it rains most of the time. I have been to Hilo many times and it never rained, but this time it poured! So, I now know why this part of Hawaii is so green!

So, what is there to see in Hilo? What can you see in one day?

There is a lot to see; the Hawaii Volcano National Park, the Nani Mau Botanical Gardens, Rainbow Falls, Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, Hilo Bay, the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory and the Big Island Candies Factory.

I was there for one day and this is what I saw on all day tour that lasted 8 hours:


Hawaii Volcano National Park

I went to the Hawaii Volcano National Park to see the big smoking crater, lava tubes and lava fields. The park is huge so you could spend all day there.

I spent a few hours and still saw a lot including the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. That had loads of information, diagrams and models about the Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii, which is the largest active volcano in the world.

The Halema’uma’u Crater was amazing to see and it is still smoking and at night you can see the lava glowing. I walked through the Thurston Lava Tube, which is a cave that was formed by flowing lava!

The lava fields were interesting to see, it was black solid lava with the odd tree growing.

Nani Mau Botanical Gardens

We had a traditional Hawaiian lunch at the Nani Mau Botanical Gardens. The gardens were beautiful, full of tropical plants and flowers.

Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory & Big Island Candies

No visit to Hawaii is complete without a visit to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. To see how they make the different favours and coating them with chocolate and sample a few! Also, the macadamia nut ice cream is delicious, so I recommend trying that too. I had the coconut macadamia nut flavour, so good!

At the Big Island Candies Factory, we saw how they made the yummy cookies and of course sampled some cookies and their coffee.

What Did I Wear?

The day I was in Hilo it rained and it was warm and the sun came out every now and then. So, I wore shorts, tee, trainers, rain jacket, hat, backpack, sunglasses and I used my umbrella!


Essential Info

  • Weather: 23*C – 31*C All year round and high chances of rain
  • Language: English and Hawaiian
  • Currency: US Dollar
  • Recommendations: Bring an umbrella, lightweight rain jacket, sunglasses, wear sunscreen, hat, walking shoes, backpack, water bottle, camera or smartphone and portable phone charger.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about Hilo in Hawaii, please share on Facebook and Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Hilo? What would you recommend doing?

Happy Travels

Love Lucy x

What to See in Hilo Hawaii


  1. Peggy
    November 7, 2017 / 10:07 pm

    we will visit Hilo very soon – Nov. 19th. .I love Hawaii and cruising with Princvess roundtrip from Los Angeles is a dream for me. I love days at Sea and still get to visit all the Hwaiian Islands. Lucy, thanks for sharing so much interesting points in your travels.

    • November 9, 2017 / 12:35 am

      Have a lovely cruise Peggy! Hawaii is one of my favourites too! More coming up on the blog next week about Maui and Kauai.

  2. November 8, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    Where I first came across the great iz kamakawiwoʻole and his ukele… great spot

  3. November 8, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    We’ve only been to Oahu and Maui, the Big Island is still on the list! Hilo sounds awesome with its volcano park. The smoking crater looks wicked!

    • November 9, 2017 / 12:38 am

      I hope you get to go soon! The volcano park is fantastic!

  4. November 8, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    That’s pretty awesome! I’ve only gone to Hawaii a few times to visit family, but I have still yet to properly explore the area. Hilo looks like a gem!

    • November 9, 2017 / 12:38 am

      How lovely you have family there! Hilo is fun to visit.

  5. November 8, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    How crazy to be so close to an active volcano! So exciting! I have never been to Hawaii but my husband used to live there and I’m so jealous. I would love to see this stuff one day.

    • November 9, 2017 / 12:39 am

      I’m sure you will get there one day and when you do you will love it!

  6. November 8, 2017 / 6:16 pm

    I live on Oahu right now and currently trying to make it to other islands. Thanks for pointing out some great places to go. The volcano is on the top of my list!t

    • November 9, 2017 / 12:41 am

      Wow! I love Oahu, it is so beautiful. The volcano park is fantastic!

  7. November 8, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    Hawaii are really like another world. I need to make plan to finally go there. I’ve been to Vesuvius, it’s time to see another volcano again! 🙂

    • November 9, 2017 / 12:42 am

      It is so different to the US mainland. Recommend the volcano park!

  8. November 9, 2017 / 5:08 am

    I haven’t been to Hawaii but this day trip looks interesting I’d love to go see the National Park, seems like a bit of hike though but I wouldn’t mind a macademia treat after too 😊

    • November 9, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      The volcano park is really good, but you can drive around it as it is huge!

  9. November 9, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    I would love to visit the Volcano National Park. What did a traditional Hawaiin lunch consist of?

    • November 9, 2017 / 6:44 pm

      The volcano park is fantastic! The lunch was pork, fish, rice and salad and pineapple, papaya, and pineapple cake.

  10. November 9, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    Awesome post! I would love to visit! I am trying to see all the national parks so of course this is on my list! This makes me want to visit soon!

  11. Ella
    November 10, 2017 / 4:05 am

    I’ve never been to Hilo, but looks beautiful! I libe the botanical gardens, great photography. I have that same collapsible water bottle, its amazing 🙂

      • Melanie
        December 30, 2018 / 12:25 am

        Hilo was my All Time favorite.I thoroughly enjoyed the bus tour narrated by Cousin😁 aka:The Big Cahuna.The Mona Loa garden was beautiful.

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