Hilo has its own set of highlights that you cannot find anywhere else on the Big Island. Hilo lies on the ‘new’ side of the island, and a short drive to the south-west takes you to the Puna district with many volcanically heated hot ponds and good access to the lava flow (when active). Stargazing is also a good option since the drive up saddle road up to the mauna kea visitor center that organizes free stargazing every nights is not to long and doable for all cars.
If you have the time take your car and follow the 4 mile (Extremely) scenic pepe’ekeo scenic drive just north of Hilo. If have more time drive up further north to explore the Hamakua coast.
Culinary highlights in Hilo
Hilo is teaming with good local food, and one thing you should try to taste are the strawberry mochi from two ladies kitchen. The Hilo farmers market is a good and central place to pick up fresh produce and good souvenirs for the people back home, and have you ever heard of a “loco moco”? The loco moco is a favorite local style dish with steamed rice, a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy. You can find them in many (if not all) restaurants but cafe 100 is the place where the loco moco was first conceived and now serves over 30 different varieties.