About North of Hilo
The coast north of Hilo is a mostly rocky shoreline with farmlands rising up the slopes to where rainforests dominate the mountains. This area has no recent lava flows as it is on the eastern slopes of Mauna Kea which hasn't erupted for thousands of years. Since the eastern side of the Big Island is the windward side, it gets much more rain than the western Kona side. For this reason there are countless flowing streams and abundant waterfalls too. The best-known and most easily accessible waterfall north of Hilo is at Akaka Falls State Park
. There you can see a stream fall 442 feet into a vivid green gorge. Most of the beaches north of Hilo are at the mouth of streams that flow into the Pacific Ocean. Kolekole Beach Park
and Hakalau Beach Park
both have streams, tall highway bridges overhead, and rocky beaches. The former has easy vehicle access whereas the latter is now hike-in access only. Another hike that leads to beaches is on the Onomea Bay Trail
. If you do that one you'll get to coves with smaller steams and beaches, but lots of scenery. While you are in the area, you should take a walk inside the grounds of Hawai‘i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden
which overlooks Onomea Bay. The best sandy beach north of Hilo is at Honoli'i Beach Park
, a surfers beach with a sandy driftwood laden shore. Even if you aren't surfing, this is a scenic spot that's great for picnicking, and it's not far from the restaurants and stores in Hilo. Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 19) makes it easy to speed through the area north of Hilo, but look for the slower windier sections of Old Mamalahoa Highway which have small road bridges that get you close to the many streams and lush vegetation that this area is known for.