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Day Trip from Captain Cook to Hilo

Embark on a scenic journey from Captain Cook to Hilo, exploring the lush landscapes and unique attractions of Hawaii's Big Island. 

Follow the picturesque Hawaii Belt Road, indulge in local delicacies, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the island.

Make the most out of your day trip to Hilo with this quick guide, ideal for guests staying at our cozy Airbnb in Captain Cook.

Start Your Adventure on the Hawaii Belt Road

Your journey begins in Captain Cook, a quaint village known for its rich history and coffee farms. From there, take the Hawaii Belt Road all the way to Hilo, a route that offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into the diverse ecosystems of Hawaii. This scenic drive is a perfect introduction to what the Big Island has to offer.

No trip on the Hawaii Belt Road would be complete without stopping at the Punalu‘u Bake Shop and Visitor Center, about an hour from our home. Known as the southernmost bakery in the USA, it offers an array of delicious treats including their famous Hawaii sweet bread, malasadas, turnovers, cheesecake, pies, eclairs, and other pastries. Take a moment to browse their gift shop and enjoy a quick break in their clean facilities.

Continue your drive to Akaka Falls State Park. This tropical rainforest park offers a manageable 0.4-mile loop footpath that leads you to a stunning 442-foot waterfall. The park is a perfect spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts looking to capture the beauty of Hawaii’s landscapes.

A Unique Experience at Krishna Cow Sanctuary

Add a touch of whimsy to your trip with a stop at the Krishna Cow Sanctuary. This sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to hug a cow and learn about sustainable farming practices in Hawaii. It's a fun and heartwarming experience that adds an unforgettable chapter to your travel story.

Refresh and Relax at The Hive

In the small town of Honomū, stop at The Hive, a charming coffee shop and cafe known for its floral tonics and delicious local food. It's the perfect place to recharge with a refreshing beverage and enjoy the local vibe before heading to your next destination.

Grab a Bite in Hilo

Before heading home, stop in Hilo to explore the town. Hilo offers many food options from burger joints and local fare to cafes and smoothie bars and more.

Return via Saddle Road

For your return trip, take the shorter route, about 2 hours, through the center of the island on Saddle Road. This route offers a different perspective of the island's interior, featuring vast lava fields and the majestic Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Keep an eye out for the unique vegetation and geological features that make this road a fascinating drive.

Additional Stops of Interest

If time permits, consider exploring more of what the Big Island has to offer. You might want to stop at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station for stargazing, or visit the historic town of Waimea with its paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) culture.

This day trip from Captain Cook to Hilo is filled with memorable attractions and spectacular natural beauty, making it a must-do for anyone staying at our Airbnb! Be sure to let us know which stops are your favorite!

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