Akaka Falls, Hamakua Coast, Waimea Reagion.

ʻAkaka Falls State Park

Top choice in Hamakua Coast

The island's best ‘tourist waterfall’ is found at this outstanding, family-friendly park. Walk the paved path counterclockwise, on a loop that traverses lush cliffs above a river. You'll first pass the modest opening act, Kahuna Falls (100ft), and then behold the grand ʻAkaka Falls, which plunge 442ft into a deep emerald pool. You’ll also enjoy a verdant garden that goes wildly into bloom during specific months (June to July is heliconia season).

For ideal photo conditions, go in the morning since the falls face eastward. To get here turn onto Hwy 220 between Miles 13 and 14, and head 4 miles inland. You can avoid the parking fee if you park outside the lot, but you must still pay the walk-in fee.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hamakua Coast attractions

1. Kolekole Beach Park

2.88 MILES

Beneath a highway bridge, this park sits alongside Kolekole Stream in a verdant tropical valley. The river-mouth break is a local surfing and bodyboarding…

2. Botanical World Adventures

3.58 MILES

Under development since 1995, this garden remains a work in progress. Sprawling grounds include a shrubbery maze, waterfall and arboretum – nothing…

3. Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

4.71 MILES

A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, this rainforest garden is beautifully situated by the ocean and superbly managed. A paved trail meanders through over 2000…

4. Honoliʻi Beach Park

7.89 MILES

For boardsports, this is it: Hilo's only surfing and bodyboarding spot. Locals flock here for the consistent wave action, never mind the rocky beach. Don…

5. Peʻepeʻe Falls & Boiling Pots

9.64 MILES

Two miles past Rainbow Falls is another drive-up lookout, Peʻepeʻe Falls & Boiling Pots. This unique series of falls cascading into swirling, bubbling…

6. Maui's Canoe

9.67 MILES

See the current swirling around a large rock in the upstream Wailuku River? Legend has it that the demigod Maui paddled his canoe with such speed across…

7. Rainbow Falls

9.67 MILES

A regular stop for tour buses, the lookout for this 'instant gratification' cascade is just steps from the parking lot. Depending on rainfall, the lovely…

8. Federal Building

9.73 MILES

Designed by architect Henry Whitfield, this stately building (1919) is typical of Hilo’s early 20th-century government buildings. The former courthouse…