Hilo Day

If you live on the East Coast of Hawaii, Hilo Town is your bustling metropolis. The town is set back from the waterfront by hundreds of yards, a result of the 1946 and 1960 Tsunamis. Wisely, these waterside areas are now filled with beautiful parks and canoe clubs.

Outrigger canoes are a lively part of Hawaiian culture. Paddlers of all ages store their canoes on the bayfront and launch from these protected black sands.

The parks start on the southern end of the bay with Richardson Beach Park, and continue for miles of separate little beach parks: Leleiwi, Wai 'Olena, Carlsmith, Kealoha, Onekahakaha to name a few. The massive breakwall interrupts this train of thought, and creates a ruggedly pragmatic feature to capture waves against.

Continuing on the other side, Liliuokalani Gardens is the focus of an entire peninsula of greenery, circled by Banyan Drive. Nearly a hundred years ago, celebrities planted banyan trees along this road. Now, the trees evoke elfin fantasies as they loom hundreds of feet wide. This park has a Japanese flair, with bridges and walkways traversing tidal pools. And it continues to Moku Ola (Coconut Island), a tiny island park connected by a footbridge.

Without a break except for the highway, Wailoa Park continues the graceful theme. King Kamehameha's golden presence gazes out to sea. Bridges with exaggerated arches span the Wailoa River and accent fishing areas nearby.

Cultural festivals take over as we celebrate the mixture of heritages that make our community: Merrie Monarch, Barrio (Filipino) Fiesta, Portuguese Day, Chinese New Year, Haari Boat Festival (Okinawan), Toro Nagashi (floating lanterns) and Bon Dance, Kamehameha Festival, Tahiti Fete, Mochi Pounding, and of course Hilo Hula Tuesdays at the farmer's market. Check the Calendar for these and other area events.

At the edge of town, fishermen bring their early-morning catch to Suisan Fish Market

In town, you feel transported to a different world. Every day of the week, an open-air farmer's market sprawls across at least two blocks, sometimes three or four. The downtown shopping area is awash in faded pastels and singing with liquid accents, giving it an international, tropical feel.

Hilo's famous waterfalls, of course: Waianuenue (Rainbow) Falls, and Pe'epe'e Falls with its Boiling Pots in the stream below

...and if the waves are pumping we'll want to extend our Hilo vision just up the coast to Honoli'i Beach Park for some surfing shots. From the roadside parking along the street above, this beach park offers a long vista of the bay, and excellent views of the action as you descend multiple flights of stairs to the water below.