Hilo
Outdoor Activities

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Our most recommended Hilo Outdoor Activities

Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

1. Hilo: Sea Turtle Lagoon and Black Sand Beach Snorkel

This is your opportunity to swim in a lagoon full of abundant sea life. Join your hosts on a fully guided and narrated beach snorkel tour along the pristine Hilo coastline. Make 2 snorkeling stops and also enjoy island snacks and juices. The volcanic beaches are renowned for their abundant sea turtle population, and the brackish water bays and lagoons are home to a wealth of sea life including octopus, eagle and manta rays, eels, corals, and tropical reef fish. Your experienced snorkel guide will teach you about the beautiful and lush surroundings, how the beaches and volcanic islands are made, and about the abundant marine world which lies below. Newcomers to snorkeling and children are welcome. Your trained guide will teach you the basics and be with you every step of the way to make sure you feel safe and comfortable. Children will be introduced to nature in a spectacular way.

Big Island: Hilo Doors-Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure

2. Big Island: Hilo Doors-Off Lava and Rainforest Adventure

On this helicopter doors-off experience, you will see the best of the Big Island, with views only accessible by air. See giant waterfalls flowing down gorgeous cliffs and active glowing lava. For those wanting to see Hawaii from a bird's eye view, this tour will take you there. Jump aboard the Hughes 500 Helicopter doors-off and fly over one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Find out for yourself why this is the ”hottest helicopter ride on Earth.” After over 35 years of activity, Kīlauea Volcano has made its mark on the geological structure of the island. Witness otherworldly landscapes like the incredible 8-mile river of frozen lava from Fissure 8 to the Pacific Ocean, the newest black sand beaches, and enormous craters created by recent events. Along the way, view Mauna Loa’s vistas, the beauty of lush Puna rainforests, and mesmerizing Hilo waterfalls. With no windows to shoot through, there is no better way for you to share crystal clear photographs and videos of your experience. Many of these Hawaii waterfalls are accessible by air only so you will gain exclusive access to some of the largest waterfalls on the island. 

Hilo: Small-Group Humpback Whale Expedition

3. Hilo: Small-Group Humpback Whale Expedition

Prepare for an awe-inspiring whale watching trip offering you intimate wildlife encounters off Hilo's shoreline. Begin your journey at Wailoa Boat Harbor where you will set sail aboard the Moana Mea a'a (Hawaiian for "Ocean Adventurer").  Venture out of Hilo’s breakwall in search of these majestic creatures for an up-close and personal, once in a lifetime experience. Throughout your tour catch glimpses of Hawaii’s gentle giants and its winter visitor, the Humpback Whale. These fascinating mammals come to the warm Hawaiian waters every year to breed and give birth to new calves. While in search of whales, be delighted by pods of dolphins following and frolicking near your vessel. Before you know it, you will see one of these 40-ton giants breach the water for an unforgettable sight. Learn from your knowledgeable captain about the nonstop 6-8 week and 6,000-mile migration from Alaska, while encountering a few of the 12,000 North Pacific Humpbacks that arrive in the Hawaiian Islands each year for a season of mating, birthing, and nurturing their newborns.

Mauna Kea: Stellar Explorer Tour from Hilo

4. Mauna Kea: Stellar Explorer Tour from Hilo

Visit Rainbow Falls and the Kaumana Caves before heading to your stargazing location. Travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and biggest volcanoes on Earth. To complete your tour, your guide will take you to one of the preferred locations on Mauna Kea for nighttime stargazing. You will observe the deep sky and planetary objects through a large aperture telescope, under one of the darkest and most pristine skies on planet Earth. Enjoy narration from expert astronomers, who have written articles for well-known magazines and worked at world-class observatories for decades. The telescopes are a true purist way to view the night sky. Their fast focal ratio enables you to see sprawling wide field views of objects that simply not possible with other telescopes. Weather permitting and depending on what is visible in the current sky, you can observe galaxies, nebula, star clusters, planets, double star systems, the moon, and much more.

From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

5. From Hilo: Kilauea Lava Flow Tour with Lunch and Dinner

Start with a drive through Hilo along the historic waterfront, and head out to the old fishing village of Kalapana. Move on to Mackenzie State Recreation Area, take a hike along the now-closed highway. Follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Enjoy a picnic lunch amongst the pine trees. Stop by Star of the Sea Painted Church, moved twice to save it from lava flows. Head to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to visit the Kilauea Visitor’s Center, the Kilauea Iki Crater Overlook, and Steaming Bluffs. Hike out to Keanakakoi Crater and walk over the most recent cracks and sinkholes left behind by the eruption of 2018. Later, enjoy a delicious dinner.

Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

6. Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

Explore Hawaii’s youngest and largest island and change the way you see the Big Island with this narrated, self-drive road trip. Visit historic sites, popular attractions, world-class beaches, and scenic hikes. Hear local stories, legends, and fun facts about the places you’re visiting and listen to unique Hawaiian music to entertain and relax you along the way. Drive across barren lava fields that are wedged between two active volcanoes. Visit a black sand beach and taste Hawaiian coffee and macadamia nuts on local farms. Be adventurous and go cliff diving or take advantage of the beautiful nature and take a scenic hike. See the tallest mountain in Hawaii at night for the ultimate stargazing experience. This adventure is great for families and solo travelers alike.

Hilo: Dolphin Adventure and Tropical Reef Snorkel Boat Tour

7. Hilo: Dolphin Adventure and Tropical Reef Snorkel Boat Tour

Make the most of your time in Hilo and discover Hawaii’s abundant coastline, bursting with diverse sea life including sea turtles, octopus, manta rays, eels, tropical reef fish, and much more. Meet your crew and board the vessel in Wailoa Boat Harbor, then venture onto the open waters where scenic views and coral reef await. Enjoy a guided adventure along the coastline and explore coves where pods of dolphins hideaway and often play in the wake of the boat. Stop off in one of these idyllic coves and snorkel in search of colorful marine life as you swim through untouched reef structures and sand patches. Continue your tour to your second snorkeling location and learn about the exotic sea creatures that lurk within the reef's ecosystem and along Hilo's coastlines including tropical reef fish, eels, and manta rays. Take in the breathtaking views of the ocean as you ride along the Hamakua Coast. Discover a hidden world under the surface of the water as you snorkel, raft, and lookout for dolphins. Throughout the trip, listen to your captain and crew share information about Hawaii’s sea life and underwater world.

Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

8. Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

Your experience begins as you head out of Hilo to the Puna Coast, the location of the historic 2018 eruption and where your first stop of the Mackenzie State Recreation Area is. The highway there was closed by the marching 40-foot-tall wall of crumbly a’a lava as it continued to the sea. You will take a hike along the now-closed highway, and then follow the lava flow through the pine forest to the altered coastline and cliffs overlooking the new black sand beach. Isaac Hale Beach Park is next, where you can drive along the infamous “Fissure 8”, which erupted in the heart of Lelani Estate's subdivision. A picnic-style lunch will be served at the park, weather permitting. You will then travel to the crown jewel of the Big Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You'll begin by briefly visiting the Kilauea Iki Overlook, before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. You can check out the activity there from the historic 2018 eruption, which buckled the road and caused racks and sinkholes. You’ll also get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater, along with views of the trail you will take into the Caldera. Throughout your 2-mile hike you can look for native birds, such as the yellow ‘amakihi and the red ‘apapane. Huge boulders came to rest at this location during ancient rock slides and eruptions, and you can look for marks left by previous visitors such as Benjamin Boyd and John Webster, just to name a few. Reaching the floor of Kilauea Calder there is an incredible rock slide to your left, evidence of the 2018 eruption, as well as the Halema’uma’u Crater which sits before you. The crater increased in size during the eruption, with the lava lake draining out of it leaving behind an enormous 1,000-foot-deep pit. Afterwards, you will return to the starting point.

Hilo: 1-Tank Certified Beach Dive at Sea Turtle Cove

9. Hilo: 1-Tank Certified Beach Dive at Sea Turtle Cove

After gathering at the meeting point, you will begin your one-tank shore dive along the lush and iconic East Hawai‘i coast. Your tour departs from the Hilo Ocean Adventures shop, ventures a few miles along the beautiful shore to the breathtaking dive site. Hilo is especially unique as the cool fresh water springs that enter the sea along the coast regulates ocean temperatures and prevents coral bleaching. You can dive the untouched reef walls and spectacular rock formations, and immerse yourself in East Hawaii's thriving and diverse sea life. The coastline is renowned for the abundant sea turtle population, and the brackish water is home to a wealth of diversity including octopus, eagle and manta rays, eels, coral, and tropical reef fish. Your dive master will guide you on an incredible journey through the abundance of sea life below, and will ensure you have a fun and memorable experience. Leave your gear at home and dive using top-of-the-line equipment which includes 2018 Atomic Z3 regulators and Oceanic BCD's.

Frequently asked questions about Hilo Outdoor Activities

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Other Sightseeing Options in Hilo

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What people are saying about Hilo

Very informative and enjoyed that you can pick up at any point of a tour. We could stay at each location as long as wanted and skip things not of interest or short on time. Note a few places may no longer be open due to Covid shut down. Also missed a few turns where gps was off tour slightly. Tour guide was fun and a bit silly at times which lightened the trip.

The entire experience was phenomenal. Devyn was the BEST guide and he didn’t only take us snorkeling, but also took the time to teach and guide us through the beaches of Hilo. He was wonderful and made the experience so informative and safe.

Kelsey was our guide and she was totally amazing! She took her time with us and provided so much history. She’s the best guide ever!!!

Awesome trip! Kimo and Julia were great guides. More than we bargained for! Highly recommended!!

Loved thw app. And is worth the price. It helped to see Kona in my own pace