The Big Island of Hawaii Guide
Credit: SCP Hilo Hotel

Your Guide to a Mindful and Adventurous Escape on The Big Island of Hawaii

Explore Everything From Farmers Markets to Waterfall Hikes and Local Farms

Perched along the crystal-blue shores of Hawaii’s Reeds Bay, SCP Hilo Hotel is all about hospitality—holistic hospitality, that is. This lush hotel invites travelers to immerse themselves in the beauty of The Big Island through genuine and authentic experiences. Stroll through nearby gardens, hike to a pristine waterfall and climb to the top of a volcano. Or for those less adventurous, sit back and learn how to make a lei while sipping on a fresh coconut. 

With a commitment to regenerative tourism—and even a partnership with the Hawai’i Wildlife Fund—SCP Hilo Hotel actively contributes to the restoration of the island’s coastline. And with their dedication to “soul, community and planet” you can be sure your stay will feature lots of fun and adventure, support the local community and help to heal the environment. If you’re a sun seeker and a soul searcher, then this hotel is the perfect place to energize yourself before seeking adventure on the island. Here’s our Big Island guide to eateries, activities and experiences that honor our minds and bodies—and of course, the spirit of Hawaii, too.



SCP Hilo Hotel

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The Big Island of Hawaii Guide
Credit: SCP Hilo Hotel

With 128 thoughtfully designed rooms, SCP Hilo Hotel offers a range of stays for guests—from rooms with the essentials and garden views to those with poolside amenities and more. They even have Peaceful Rooms—equipped with a sound machine, meditation pillow and essential oil diffuser—for guests who want a little extra rest and relaxation. From lobby to suite and koi pond to pool, each mindful space at this Big Island Hawaii hotel exemplifies SCP’s commitment to sustainability. The Pono Pledge—a promise to promote conscientious travel in Hawaii—can be seen in their thoughtful accommodations and impeccable design—think white walls, sustainable wood and local art, not to mention those swaying palms overlooking the bay.

Credit: SCP Hilo Hotel

Aside from its serene surroundings, SCP Hilo Hotel offers curated experiences that are designed to immerse guests in the rich traditions and natural beauty of the island. Whether you opt for a farm tour, lei-making or a coconut tasting, every activity intends to help guests foster a deeper connection to Hawaii’s vibrant spirit. Sit back in style at SCP Hilo Hotel, and then explore the island’s wonders at your leisure. The hotel is conveniently close to iconic landmarks such as Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens, Hilo Farmers Market, Rainbow Falls and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

Travel Tip: Book a two-, three- or four-night stay and save up to 20% on your extended adventure!



Vegan and Gluten-Free Eats at Sweet Cane Café

Indulge in plant-based delights at Sweet Cane Café, a local favorite run by two sisters since 2011. Cherub Silverstein and Seraphina Prell infuse their dishes with the goodness of local sugar cane juice, a staple ingredient used in their fresh-pressed juices and smoothies. From cassava pizza and daily soups to filling salads and dairy-free spreads, Sweet Cane Café’s menu boasts fresh, organic ingredients harvested from the family farm. While everything on the menu is healthy and delicious, you definitely won’t want to miss out on the durian cacao smoothie!


Fresh Poke at Suisan Fishmarket

Credit: Big Dodzy

We’re pretty certain there’s nothing better than trying poke in Hawaii—especially the poke from Suisan Fishmarket. This market has been serving the community since Torazuki Hayashi and Hitaro Egawa established the Sui San Kabushiki Kaisha cooperative in 1907. Suisan Fishmarket stands the test of time despite facing natural disasters and wartime challenges. Today, it remains a cornerstone of Hawaii’s fishing community, offering a wide selection of incredibly fresh poke, like classic sesame shoyu and spicy ahi, as well as cooked dishes like butter garlic prawns and Lomi-lomi salmon. Be sure to check out the daily picks on Instagram!


Award-Winning Pop-Up Meal at Na‘au

Hailing from Hawaii, Chef Brian Hirata earned recognition as a semifinalist for best chef at the James Beard Awards two years in a row—first for the Northwest category in 2022 and then for the Pacific category in 2023. Na‘au is his intimate pop-up project held at Whitehaven Farm in Pepe‘ekeo (located 10 minutes north of Hilo). Here, he pays homage to the flavors of his upbringing. Hirata’s five-, seven- and nine-course meals feature ingredients sourced through hunting, foraging, fishing and cultivating on The Big Island. Be sure to plan ahead for this special event: you will need to book tickets for the pop-up and bring your own wine and spirits (beverages are encouraged, but not served during these events).


Healthy Snack at Kula Shave Ice

Credit: Crystal Jo

Originally a food truck at Pohoiki Black Sand Beach in Leilani Estates, Kula Shave Ice relocated to a Hilo storefront following the 2018 volcanic eruption. With husband-and-wife team Luke and Tiffany Golden at the helm of the operation, they are proud to offer a healthier, more sustainable take on shaved ice with organic syrups sourced from nearby farms. They even give back to the land by composting! Try their signature creation, The Local, a soursop and liliko‘i shaved ice topped with haupia cream and optional poi for a nutritional boost. 



Rainbow Falls Farm Tour

Credit: OK Farms

Explore the famous Rainbow Falls at Olson Keolanui Farms—or O.K. Farms for short—during an unforgettable 90-minute tour of the grounds. Here you’ll see, taste and learn about a variety of tropical crops, such as lychee, longan, rambutan, cinnamon, nutmeg, hearts of palm, cacao, coffee and more. As one of the largest tropical fruit farms in Hawaii, O.K. Farms is family-owned and operated, known for supporting other local farmers through community food projects for nearly 20 years. O.K. Farms is also home to the secluded Kaimukanaka waterfall and Wailuku River, which winds through the entire property


Kahua Ranch Horse Back Riding Adventure

Credit: Silje Midtgård

Mix sightseeing and activity with the Kahua Ranch Horse Back Riding Adventure. Experience the breathtaking beauty of Kahua Ranch, one of Hawaii’s oldest working ranches. Take in panoramic vistas of mountains, coastline and lush pastures—all on horseback! This is one of our favorite things to do on The Big Island, and you’ll even get to “dance” with the horse. Kohala Na’alapa Stables and seasoned paniolos will pair you with a well-trained horse that can trot and canter. Beginners and experts alike are welcome on these tours. You can choose between a 90-minute or 150-minute excursion.


Borrow a Beach Cruiser or Stand-Up Paddleboard

Explore Hilo by land or by sea when you borrow a complimentary beach cruiser or stand-up paddle board from the SCP Hilo Hotel front desk. It’s common knowledge that not all who wander are lost. One of this Big Island Hawaii hotel’s recommended bike routes is proof. It arrives at Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden!

Located in the heart of Hilo town, the gardens are perfect for taking a stroll and soaking in the natural beauty of native flora, glimmering ponds and gentle waterfalls. Or, simply take some time out on the ultra-clear water with your paddleboard to see the local marine life.

Travel Tip: Get exclusive discounts on local activities around The Big Island through SCP Hilo Hotel!


Maunakea Stellar Explorer Tour

The Big Island of Hawaii Guide
Credit: SCP Hilo Hotel

For an adventure that is equal parts breathtaking and unique, look no further than the Maunakea Stellar Explorer Tour by KapohoKine Adventures. This is the only Big Island tour devoted to the night sky! Led by Hawaii’s most experienced stellar explorers, this seven-hour tour begins in Hilo and heads to Rainbow Falls. You’ll then explore landmarks such as Wailuku River, Boiling Pots, Kaumana Caves, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. You’ll also enjoy a picnic lunch while your guide sets up a state-of-the-art Dobsonian telescope for incredible views of the night sky. 


Goat Therapy at the Honomu Goat Dairy

The 15-acre Honomu Goat Dairy doesn’t only offer a picturesque view of the ocean. Here, you can appreciate nature alongside the company of goats! Visitors to the dairy can book goat therapy hours, play with baby goats and sample delicious dairy products. Guests can also shop artisanal products that all feature milk from the only registered, purebred Nubian goat herd in Hawaii. 

Along with specialty cheeses, the Honomu Goat Dairy shop offers signature confections and artisanal soaps. The farm is committed to animal welfare and participates in programs that ensure the goats thrive in their environment. Honomu is also a certified member of the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA),



Explore Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Credit: Marc Szeglat

The Evening Volcano Explorer tour starts with a scenic drive through Hilo and passes by the historic waterfront on the way to the old fishing village of Kalapana. Next, you’ll hike across the lava flow to reach the black sand beach. The tour will take a stop at the Star of the Sea Painted Church. This Catholic church was relocated twice to protect it from lava flows in 1990 and is now a National Historic Place. Then, you’ll stop at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, the crown jewel of the island. You can then explore the Kīlauea Visitor’s Center, the Kīlauea Iki Crater Overlook and the Steaming Bluff. Be sure to visit the famous Volcano House for breathtaking views of Kīlauea Caldera. The tour also includes a deli-style picnic!


Night Scuba Dive with Hilo Ocean Adventures

The Big Island of Hawaii Guide
Credit: Mark Yockey

Discover the hidden abundance of Hawaiii beneath starlit waves! Let Hilo Ocean Adventures be your guide, and you’ll quickly see how different the ocean looks once the sun sets! For Advanced Open Water Certified divers (ages 12 and up), this three-hour nighttime scuba tour is guided by an experienced divemaster. Participants must show proof of an Open Water Diver (or higher) certification at check-in. 


Teatime at The Lili House Farm

Unwind with a gorgeous country-style teatime experience at The Lili House Farm, featuring homemade bread, blueberry scones, hand-shaken butter and strawberry-rhubarb jam. You’ll get unlimited access to an espresso bar that offers coffee, cocoa and a variety of local and international teas. The tour includes the opportunity for one-on-one interaction and playtime with the farm’s adorable animals. You can also enjoy a guided walking tour of the grounds. Perfect for families, this tour is offered on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.


Shop the Hilo Farmers Market

Credit: SCP Hilo Hotel

In 1988, Richard “Mike” Rankin conceived and launched the Hilo Farmers Market with just four farmers selling goods from their vehicles. Since then, the market has flourished, boasting over 150 vendors on peak days, namely Wednesdays and Saturdays. Situated in downtown Hilo, visitors can browse fresh produce, locally grown flowers, fresh-roasted coffee, handmade crafts and more. Don’t forget to walk through the food court for delicious fare, and check for coupons before you go.

Writer | Website | + posts

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.




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