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Hilo

Beach trips

Our most recommended Hilo Beach Trips

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.

Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

2. Hawaii: Big Island Self-Guided Driving Tour

Experience Hawaii's Big Island at your own pace with a self-guided driving tour. Stops include Hulihe's Palace, Magic Beach, and the Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Your tour of the Big Island begins outside the quaint town of Kailua-Kona. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. As you drive, you’ll see the historic Hulihe’e Palace, once the vacation home of the island’s royalty. Continue south to Magic Beach, where the sand sometimes simply disappears. After that is Kahalu'u Beach, a perfect place for snorkelers, followed by the sacred Lekeleke Burial Grounds. Next, pass the remnants of Hikiau Heiau, an important religious site in ancient Hawaii. Past that is the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park for those looking to learn more about the island’s history. See the Honaunau Rodeo Arena and learn all about Hawaii’s cowboys. Next up is Pebble Beach, where you’ll get to know the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele. You’ll also have the option to check out the Kula Kai Caverns, left by ancient volcanic activity. Continuing on, reach the startling Punalu'u Beach, which features totally black sand. The route then passes an old sugar plantation, followed by the huge volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Pass by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can explore the island’s volcanoes up close. After that, drive through the picturesque town of Hilo. Then, cruise through the almost impossibly scenic Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Find surfers catching waves next at Honoli'i Beach. After that is Onomea Bay, featuring a spectacular hiking trail with views that can’t be beaten. Then, admire the astonishing flora at the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. Continuing on, you’ll arrive at the surprising sight of the Honohina Hongwanji Mission, a historic Buddhist temple. Next pass the Laupahoehoe Train Museum before reaching Laupahoehoe Point, a spectacular ocean vista. Don’t forget to snap some photos. Anyone hankering for a snack will definitely want to stop at the Hamakua Harvest Farmers Market before continuing on to the cowboy town of Waimea. Up next are a pair of great beaches: Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the island and Beach 69 is beloved by locals, so take your pick. Then you’ll arrive at the Kings Highway Foot Trail, where you’ll have the chance to see the ancient Waikoloa Petroglyphs. After that are another few scenic overlooks, followed by the beautiful Kekaha Kai State Park. Your tour concludes here, just north of where it began.

Big Island: Self-Drive Sightseeing Road Trip

3. 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: 1-Tank Certified Beach Dive at Sea Turtle Cove

4. 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.

Hilo: Hilo Bay and Coconut Island SUP Guided Tour

5. Hilo: Hilo Bay and Coconut Island SUP Guided Tour

Unlike anywhere else on the islands, Hilo Bay captures the feeling of going back in time. Join this guided 2-hour tour paddling with the majestic snow-capped peaks of Mauna Kea in the distance. Learn about the history of the last Hawaiian monarch at Queen Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens. Discover secluded coves, marine life that gathers in the tide pools, and Coconut Island.

From Kona: Elite Volcano Hike

6. From Kona: Elite Volcano Hike

Explore Hawaii’s explosive side on foot with this tour. First, travel across Saddle Road between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the tallest and biggest volcanoes on Earth. Learn more about the volcanology, geology, and history of these wonders from your National Park Service certified guide and enjoy an in-depth narration of the various lava flows and flora and fauna that you pass by. Afterward, explore Kaumana Caves, part of the lava tube system that brought lava as close as 1.5 miles from downtown Hilo in 1881 and take a peek inside the dramatic cathedral-like space. Next, head to Mackenzie State Recreation Area, where the historic eruption took place in 2018. 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. Afterward, head to Isaac Hale Beach Park. Be sure to check out the boat launch ramp, now sitting in a pond cut off from the ocean by a berm of lava and don’t forget to look for steam still rising from the cooling lava as you drive across it before stopping for a picnic-style lunch. Next travel to the crown jewel, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Briefly visit the Kilauea Iki Overlook before heading off on foot down the paved road to Keanakakoi. Get a birds-eye view of the Kilauea Caldera and the enormous Halema’uma’u Crater. Pass by the famous Sulphur Banks, through ancient forests of tree ferns, and look for native bird species and incredible rock slides. Enjoy some dinner after your sightseeing.

Hilo: Elite Volcano Hike

7. 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.

Private Big Island Full Circle Adventure Tour

8. Private Big Island Full Circle Adventure Tour

Discover the beauty and grace of the Big Island of Hawaii on a private tour. Explore some of the island's most unique and idyllic locations, including the Kona coast, Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, Hilo's iconic waterfalls, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Sit back and relax as all meals and drinks (excluding alcoholic ones) are included throughout your day. Make your way to your first stop: the South Kona Coffee Farm. Travel south along the striking Kona coast and absorb the breathtaking views of lush vegetation and coastline. Listen to your guide describe the cultural history of the area as well as the local flora and fauna. Arrive at an authentic Kona coffee farm where you tour the farm and sample flavorful Kona coffee. Then, visit the southernmost bakery in the United States, Punalu‘u Bakery. World renown for their sweet bread, malasadas, and other delicious treats. Enjoy a malasada and a coffee or tea before heading on to explore the most beautiful black sand beach on the island. Continue your tour to one of the prettiest black sand beaches in all of the Hawaiian Islands, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. The jet-black volcanic glass sand here was formed from the rapid cooling of basaltic lava hitting the ocean water and then shattering into tiny fragments. Relax with black sand between your toes while listening to the wind move through the palms. Keep a look out for green sea turtles and endangered hawksbill sea turtles that frequent the beach. Next, make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve which is the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This iconic park encompasses the summit of two of the world’s most active volcanoes and extends from sea level up to the summit of Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. It’s home to critically endangered wildlife and some of the most unique geological, biological, and cultural landscapes on earth. Explore the main attractions in the park including the Thurston Lava Tube, Chain of Craters Road, and a nature walk along the Halema‘uma‘u Crater for unique views of the current eruption and the natural steam vents in the area. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the beauty of the park before embarking on the next leg of your adventure. From the park, venture up to Hilo to visit the picturesque Rainbow Falls and Akaka Falls State Park. Both waterfalls are a sight to behold. Beautiful falls combined with lush vegetation make these stops photo-worthy and truly breathtaking. Travel the 50-mile stretch of the breathtaking Hamakua Coast with its hidden waterfalls, tropical rainforest, and lush green valleys. Described as one of the most beautiful locations in the state, it’s well worth the scenic drive. Arrive at Waipio Valley in the late afternoon. Enjoy the incredible views as your guide explains the rich history of the area. Marvel at the bright sunset views of Waimea as you travel through Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) country and take in this historic area with its rolling, green pastures, the home to cattle, cowboys, and one of the largest cattle ranches in the United States; Parker Ranch. Enjoy a local and authentic dinner in Waimea where surf and turf is a definite menu staple. Return to your lodging full, happy, and filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

Waikoloa/Kohala: Elite Volcano Hike

9. Waikoloa/Kohala: 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.

Frequently asked questions about Hilo Beach Trips

What are other things to do than Beach Trips that are worth visiting in Hilo?

The other unmissable things to do in Hilo are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Hilo

Want to discover all there is to do in Hilo? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Hilo

Great please to see turtles. We saw plenty before snorkeling. Went to 2 locations. The first was my favorite, on a black sand beach. The second was a bit colder temp for the water and very shallow. We saw turtles at both locations

The narration about the history of The island was great. We learned so much. The price was also a good deal.

Travel guide with a lot of additional information makes the car journeys more varied.

We really enjoyed being able to go at our pace. Very informative and educational

Our guide, Brooke, was friendly, helpful and patient. We enjoyed our experience!