Hilo Town


About Hilo Town


Hilo Town has thrived as a main hub of social activity since Polynesians arrived thousands of years ago. Youll find landmarks like the Liluokalani Gardens, Hilo Cultural Center, Coconut Island, another version of the King Kamehameha Statue, the Naha Stone, Waiola State Park, Kuhio Bay, and many more! The influence of Polynesian, Hawaiian and Western missionary settlers can still be seen today. Although the sugar cane industry is no longer a main economy driver in Hilo, the town continues to thrive with tourism and other agricultural outlets. (Photo: justin.donnelly/Flickr)


Circa 1100 AD, the first Hilo inhabitants arrived, bringing with them Polynesian knowledge and traditions. Ancient Hawaiians lived mainly near the Wailuku and Wailoa Rivers in the Hilo district. In the 18th century, Hilo became the main social and political center of the Big Island. Missionaries soon arrived in the early 1800s and settled here. By the 20th century, sugar cane was a main crop on the island. In 1946 and 1960, deadly tsunamis hit the town, though the town hasnt experienced another tsunami of such magnitude since.

Facts & Trivia

  • Island: Big Island
  • Duration: Drive-through location, 5 minute stops if time permits.
  • Amenities: No amenities on drive-by tours.
  • Insider Tip: If youre staying in Hilo, make time to walk the historic streets of downtown for a complete experience of Hilo town!
  • Fun Fact: Hilo enjoys over 70 inches of rainfall annually.
  • What to Expect: Banyan Drive; Coconut Island (Moku Ola); Liluokalani Gardens