Five Places to See in Hilo, Hawaii

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Many cruise lines visit the port of Hilo, Hawaii on the Big Island. Hilo is a fun city with abundant things to do. The hardest chore when visiting this beautiful city is deciding what to do while there during a limited stay. Here are five suggestions for the Hawaii traveler.

1. Hilo Hattie

111 East Puainako Street

Hilo, HI 96720

Hilo Hattie’s is Hawaii’s largest retailer, offering an assortment of Hawaiian fashions, gifts, souvenirs, t-shirts, home and beach accessories, beauty products, gourmet foods and unique island jewelry. Hilo Hatties’ has locations on all four major islands; the store began in 1963 on Kauai and now has seven locations.

2. Liliuokalani Gardens 

300 Wai Nani Way

Hilo, HA

(808) 926-3636

This beautiful thirty acre Japanese garden is just off Banyan Drive in Hilo on the Big Island. It consists of bridges, koi ponds, pagodas, statues, torii, and a Japanese teahouse on its wonderfully manicured grounds. Dedicated in 1917 the park takes its name from Hawaii’s last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. A footbridge connects the gardens to Moku ola (Coconut Island), just offshore. From the island the visitor enjoys to a grand view of Hilo and Hilo Bay. The island contains a tower which is the remains of an older bridge destroyed by a tsunami. Many believe that the Edo-style Japanese gardens are the largest found outside of Japan. The island also has picnicking, swimming, fishing, showers and a dive platform.

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3. Carlsmith Beach Park

1815 Kalanianaole Avenue

Carlsmith Beach Park is one of the better beaches on the Hilo side of the Big Island. It is not a sand beach but the ocean bottom is sand covered and a reef protects the cove it is on so it is usually calm and good for swimming. The beach area consists of several lagoons and fresh water bubbles up from the bottom, creating cool spots. Sea turtles are abundant and are tame enough to swim up to snorkelers.

Amenities:

Shaded parking area

Picnic Tables

Shade Available

Showers

Covered pavilions

Barbeque Grills

Picnic Tables

Bathrooms

Specialized Ingress And Egress Capabilities In The Swimming Areas.

4. Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens

P.O. Box 738

800 Stainback Highway.

Kea`au, HI 96749

(808) 959-9233

This 12-acre zoo, nestled in the heart of the Panaewa Forest Reserve south of Hilo, is the only outdoor rainforest zoo in the United States. The zoo is on the Volcano side of Highway 11, about four miles from downtown Hilo. It includes an African aviary, butterfly house, water garden and petting zoo. The newest addition is the Primadome, which is a domed structure that is the daytime playground for four Black-handed Spider Monkeys. Admission to the zoo is free.

5. Hilo Farmers Market

400 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96721

Phone (808) 933-1000

The Hilo Farmers Market is a must-see experience when you are on the Big Island. Over 200 local farmers and crafters sell their produce, crafts, gift items and tropical flowers in a festive outdoor atmosphere that recalls back to the old “plantation” days of early Hilo. Located at the corner of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Avenue in historic downtown Hilo, it’s open all year round.

Travelers to Hilo can expect to find many memories to take home from their visit. From the beautifully manicured Liliuokalani Gardens to the bustling Hilo Hatties’ everyone will find something to please them.

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