Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island of Hawaii and the second largest in the state. It is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo and is the seat of government for the County of Hawaii, which encompasses the entire Big Island. The town sits at the foot of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The large Hilo Bay has a protective breakwater and the town serves as the port of entry for most goods to the island.
Most visitors to Hilo park near the Bay waterfront and explore old downtown Hilo with its walkable streets, quirky stores, and variety of restaurants. Many of the buildings date from the early 1900's through the 1950's and give Hilo a timeworn charm. The waterfront area around Banyan Drive and Kalanianaole Avenue has hotels, B&B's and inns, parks, and some small beaches. Hilo has several small museums and a zoo. Just outside of town are several waterfalls and botanical gardens including the popular Akaka Falls.