5 Ways to Experience Hilo like a Local - Grand Naniloa Hotel
Grand Naniloa Resort Hilo - a DoubleTree by Hilton

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5 Ways to Experience Hilo like a Local

Whitney James

We get it. You’ve traveled halfway across the Pacific Ocean to escape reality, not to be surrounded by hordes of tourists in golf attire. Hilo offers exactly that. Here, you can embrace another way of life defined by winding island roads, locally sourced fare, and plenty of aloha, if only for the duration of your stay. Below you’ll find some of our favorite ways to experience Hilo like a local.

3. GET LIMBER IN A HILO YOGA CLASS

If you can bear to part with the ocean during your visit to Hilo, we recommend an afternoon visit to a nearby yoga studio such as Yoga Centered. Try a soothing “Yang Ying” class that will stretch out your stiff muscles and kept you limber for the activities still to come on your packed adventure itinerary. After a quick browse through the boutique store attached to the studio, wander a few blocks away to the newly opened Temple Bar, where dragon fruit lychee ciders are the perfect reward for your hard work.

4. LEARN ABOUT LAVA FROM THE SOURCE

For those interested in learning more about lava and how it impacts life on Hawai’i, there’s one man you simply must meet; Gary, owner of Hot Foot Photography. Gary’s home and business is located near famous Kalapana Beach (where the lava used to flow directly into the ocean), and his front porch offers a wonderful visual history display of the lava flows on the Hilo side of the island. He will regale you with stories like the time he watched his previous house burn down (only to rebuild in the same spot), and will likely offer you fruit or vegetables that he’s grown on site—a particularly generous offer, given that his front yard is full of lava.

5. ENJOY A FARM-TO-TAILGATE PICNIC

Last but certainly not least, we encourage you to pack a picnic and go exploring during your time at the Grand Naniloa. Pick up some poke at the Suisan Fish Market and other goodies at the Hilo Farmers Market, climb into your rental vehicle, and see where the winding island roads will lead. Whether you meander south along the coast towards Papakōlea Green Sand Beach or head inland to find tourist-free waterfalls, part of the joy of experiencing the Big Island is finding your own adventure. We think there’s plenty to go around.