Hilo Hawaii Activities in 2 Days

Published in Hilo Activities

Hilo Hawaii Activities in 2 Days


To cover Hilo and East Big Island in 2 days isn’t easy.  To be the most efficient we need to divide up Hilo into 2 geographical areas.


Day 1:  Downtown Hilo and surrounding area

Day 2:  Volcano National Park and Kalapana lava flows


DAY 1: Downtown Hilo and Surrounding Area


Day 2:  Volcano Day!

  • Start at Highway 11 and the coast (Ken’s Pancakes on the corner).
  • Lava tube at Kaumana Caves State Park.  You go up Highway 11 (main road past airport, up to Volcano National Park and to South Big Island) – just a couple miles and turn into town.  It is a little “park” with a lava tube much nicer than the more popular Thuston tube in Volcano National Park.  You must bring a flashlight and OFF (mosquito spray).  See my post at: https://hilovacationhomes.com/activity/kaumana-caves-state-park/
  • Go up Highway 11, stopping briefly at Hilo Zoo and Macadamia Nut Factory.  Both are free and close to Highway 11.  The trick is spending just 20 minutes at each.  However, if it is lunch time and you are looking to eat somewhere, the Macadamia Nut Factory has a small cafe and is a pretty place for a light lunch.  See my zoo post at:  https://hilovacationhomes.com/activity/hilo-panaewa-zoo/ and my Macadamia Nut Factory post at: https://hilovacationhomes.com/activity/mauna-loa-macadamia-nut-company/
  • Stop at Hilo Coffee Mill.  If you like coffee and want to see a cute example of an operating mill in the room next door to the shop.  It is right off highway 11.  See my post at:  https://hilovacationhomes.com/activity/hilo-coffee-mill/
  • Booze up at Volcano Winery and have lunch in the town of Volcano.  This is just past the entrance of the Volcano National Park.  The wine is a bit odd, but the area is beautiful, the shop is cute, the price is right and the snacks are great.  Again, the trick is getting in and out quickly.  No need to linger here.  See my post at: https://hilovacationhomes.com/activity/volcano-winery/
  • Enter Volcano National Park for limited time.  As of January 2022 you can usually see lava in the caldera as it slowly fills up the caldera.  As the employees at the visitor center where to walk to.  However, if your highlight is seeing the volcano, this is anti climatic.  After this possible lava viewing go half a mile farther and view the steam vents in the parking lot overlooking the crater.  For my post on the Volcano National Park, go to: https://hilovacationhomes.com/activity/volcano-national-park/
  • Drive back down Highway 11 and go to Kalapana at the end of Highway 130.  It takes about 40 minutes from the intersection of highway 11 and highway 130 to the end of highway 130.  Why does highway 130 end?  During the 1980s lava destroyed the whole town and covered the highway.  Today, brave souls have rebuilt homes.  Of course there are NO utilities and access is a struggle.
  • If you don’t have time to drive to the end of highway 130 or you have extra time, swing through Leilani estates to view the lava flow in 2018 that destroyed over 700 homes.  See my post at: www.hilovacationhomes.com/ahalanui-park-warm-ponds-pahoa/
  • Dinner at Ponds on Hilo Bay.  A nice quiet restaurant overlooking a quiet inlet at the end of Hilo bay.  Excellent food.  My post is at: https://hilovacationhomes.com/hilo-east/ponds/