Map of Hilo
Hilo is the largest community on the Big Island of Hawaii. Technically a census-designated place, it overlooks Hilo Bay on the island’s east coast and is a major gateway to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park is only about a 45-minute drive to the south. Hilo Hawaii also serves as a rewarding destination in and of itself, boasting a scenic setting and so much more. Clear views of Mauna Loa can be enjoyed in the historic downtown district, when it isn’t raining. This is the wetter side of Hawaii, and it does rain often in Hilo, but at least the rain is warm and tends to be followed by a rainbow. And rain or not, Hilo has great museums and inviting coffee shops to duck into if you want to take a break from the outdoors. The museums include such standouts as the Imiloa Astronomy Center, the Pacific Tsunami Museum and the Lyman Museum.
No visit to Hilo Hawaii would be complete without seeing Banyan Drive. This famous road is aptly named, as it is lined with numerous banyan trees. Many of the trees were planted by famous people. Over the years, they have formed a thick canopy that adds to the pleasant ambiance. Views of the bay and the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens only accentuate the appeal of Banyan Drive. Other reasons to visit Hilo Hawaii include, but aren’t limited to, the downtown shops and art galleries, the Hilo Farmers Market, the nearby Rainbow Falls at Wailuku River State Park, and the annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. Hilo has some of the best lodging bargains in Hawaii and is served by a major airport, so give it a look the next time you’re planning a Hawaii vacation.
Top image: eye of einstein (flickr)