Attractions

Top Choice Park in Hilo

Liliʻuokalani Park

Savor Hilo's simple pleasures with a picnic lunch in scenic Japanese gardens overlooking the bay. Named for Hawaii's last queen (r 1891–93), the 30-acre county park features soaring trees, sprawling lawns and quaint…
Top Choice Museum in Hilo

Lyman Museum & Mission House

Compact yet comprehensive, this small museum encompasses the tremendous variety of Hawaii's natural and cultural history. Downstairs, geologic exhibits include fascinating examples of lava rock, minerals and shells.…
Top Choice Zoo in Hilo

Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens

Hilo's 12-acre zoo is a terrific family-friendly freebie. Stroll through tropical gardens to see a modest but interesting collection of monkeys, reptiles, sloths, parrots and more. The star attraction? A pair of Ben…
Top Choice Beach in Hilo

Onekahakaha Beach Park

Perfect for kids, this spacious beach has a broad, shallow, sandy-bottomed pool, protected by a boulder breakwater. The water is only 1ft to 2ft deep in spots, creating a safe 'baby beach.' An unprotected cove north…
Top Choice Beach in Hilo

Richardson's Ocean Park

Near the end of Kalanianaʻole Ave, this little pocket of black sand is a favorite all-round beach. When calm, the protected waters are popular for swimming and snorkeling, with frequent sightings of sea turtles (kee…
Top Choice Museum in Hilo

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi

ʻImiloa, which means 'exploring new knowledge,' is a $28 million museum and planetarium complex with a twist: it juxtaposes modern astronomy on Mauna Kea with ancient Polynesian ocean voyaging. It's a great family a…
Top Choice Museum in Hilo

Pacific Tsunami Museum

You cannot understand Hilo without knowing its history as a two-time tsunami survivor (1946 and 1960). This seemingly modest museum is chock-full of riveting information, including a section on the Japanese tsunami …
Top Choice Beach in Hilo

Carlsmith Beach Park

Although this beach may look rocky, the swimming area is protected by a reef, making it family-friendly. The anchialine ponds, which flow to the ocean, are ideal for kids. Snorkeling is decent during calm water cond…
Park in Hilo

Mokuola

Tiny Mokuola, commonly called Coconut Island, connects to land (near Liliʻuokalani Park) by a footbridge. The island is a county park with picnic tables and swimming, and it's popular with local fishing folk. It's w…
Gallery in Hilo

East Hawai‘i Cultural Center/HMOCA

The best venue for local art is this downtown center, which displays the work of both professionals and amateurs. Exhibits change monthly, while workshops and classes (such as painting, drawing, ukulele and hula) ar…