The Big Island of Hawaii is divided into two halves: Kona and Hilo. While Kona is filled with sunny skies, golden beaches, and lots of visitors, Hilo is more of a relaxed, sleepy town with a slew of rare natural gems. You can hike across an active volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, lounge on black sand beaches, and marvel at the 442-foot ‘Akaka Falls.
There are many amazing Airbnbs in Hilo! Stay at a dreamy treehouse near Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a minimalistic house in downtown Hilo, or an opulent mansion on the Hamakua Coast. Which exciting vacation rental will you choose for your Hawaiian getaway?
Check out my list of the 12 best Airbnbs in Hilo to help you plan your trip to the Big Island!
Note: If you’re still deciding where to stay on the island make sure you check out my list of the best Airbnbs on the Big Island of Hawaii.
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Top 10 Things To Do in Hilo
- Spend some time at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While there, feel the heat of the steam vents, stroll through the Thurston Lava Tube, and get a glimpse of the lava flow if Kilauea is active during your visit.
- Gape at the beautiful Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. If you’re lucky, you might even see a few turtles lounging on the shoreline.
- Stare at the 442-foot ‘Akaka Falls. This beautiful natural wonder is the most famous waterfall in Hilo.
- Enjoy the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. Every April, the best hula halau (hula groups) are invited to compete in this world-renowned competition.
- Try the best mochi in Hawaii from Two Ladies Kitchen. This adorable eatery took the Japanese dessert known as mochi and put an island spin on it. Taste their liliko‘i (passion fruit) mochi, ube (sweet purple potato) mochi, and their famous strawberry-filled mochi.
- Stop by the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center. Learn about the macadamia nut harvesting process, see the macadamia nut trees, and pick up some to take home with you!
- Take in the beauty of Rainbow Falls. The best time to visit this 80-foot waterfall is in the morning when you can actually see the rainbows that this natural wonder is known for.
- Watch the creation of the delicious Big Island Candies. And purchase a box of these tasty treats for later!
- Soak up the sun at Four Mile. Also known as Carlsmith Beach Park, this beach is a great place for swimming, suntanning, and snorkeling.
- Tackle the 2.5-mile hike to Papakolea Green Sand Beach. This olivine crystal-covered beach is just one of only four green sand beaches in the world!
Why Stay in an Airbnb in Hilo
There are only a handful of hotels in Hilo, including the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, the Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo, and the Hilo Seaside Hotel. So it can be quite difficult to find a hotel that has everything you’re looking for and fits your budget. Luckily there are plenty of Airbnbs in Hilo to pick from instead!
Another perk of staying at an Airbnb is the fact that you can choose the exact area of Hilo you want to stay in, which is an advantage considering the size of the Hilo side of the Big Island. You can stay in the heart of downtown Hilo, near the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, or somewhere along the stunning Hamakua Coast.
It’s also worth noting that Airbnbs are more spacious and a better value than hotel rooms. And they often offer lots of amenities too including private pools, three-story waterslides, and access to private waterfalls!
Finally, one of the greatest perks of staying in an Airbnb in Hilo is the fact that you can connect with a local before you even arrive on the Big Island. Airbnb hosts are typically quite friendly and love to share local tips, which are precious gems in Hawaii. You can find out about hidden beaches, fantastic hikes, and fabulous restaurants.
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The 12 Best Airbnbs in Hilo
Best Hilo Airbnbs for Couples and Solo Travelers
You can make your childhood dream of living in a treehouse come to life with this Hilo Airbnb! As a matter of fact, this enchanting tropical treehouse is almost certainly better than you even imagined as a child. Fifteen-foot wooden stilts support this magical vacation home high in the trees and a beautiful hanging bed swings below.
You can spend your days snuggled up in the plush queen bed amidst the sheer curtains and stare at the view of the beautiful Hawaiian jungle. And if you’d like to breathe in some fresh air, there’s a balcony that circles around the entire treehouse. The kind host also includes a few entertaining amenities, including tiki torch flashlights, a deck of cards, and a gramophone.
As for the location, this dreamy tropical treehouse is off-the-grid, making it an ideal stay for some much-needed rest and relaxation. That said, if you’re hoping to see the best Hilo attractions, you’ll be just 20 minutes away from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and 40 minutes from downtown Hilo.
Many of the most unique Hilo Airbnbs, including this cozy vacation rental, include a few outrageous amenities. Part of The Inn at Kulaniapia Falls, this ocean view cabin offers access to the private 120-foot Kulaniapia Falls – which is definitely the highlight of this charming holiday home!
This little wooden cabin is essentially glamping but without the tent. And instead of a sleeping bag, you’ll have a super comfortable memory foam queen bed. Plus, there’s an ocean view front porch, as well as a communal barn with a comfortable lounge area and a full kitchen.
While staying at this Airbnb, you’ll also have access to the larger Kulaniapia Farms community. You can tour the sustainable farm, take a cooking class using farm fresh ingredients, or dine at The Table restaurant. All of these perks are exclusively available to overnight guests at Kulaniapia Farms.
While you could easily spend all of your time on your island getaway enjoying the Kulaniapia Falls property, this cabin also happens to be close to many amazing Hilo attractions, including Rainbow Falls, Pe‘epe‘e Falls, and Boiling Pots. Plus, it’s just a 15-minute drive into downtown Hilo.
One of the most unique Airbnbs in Hilo is undoubtedly this incredible glass tiny house in the jungle just outside of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Set in the middle of the Hawaiian jungle and made almost entirely of steel and glass, you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb quite like this one. It is sure to be one of the highlights of your island vacation!
This unique vacation home boasts one comfortable king-sized bed, two hanging pod chairs, a small workspace, and a large patio. The main perk of this glass house is the fact that you’ll always have a clear view of lush greenery all around you. You’ll get to see the pastel-painted sunrise each morning and stare up at the glimmering stars each night.
This glass house is another Hilo vacation home that is great for getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But if you’d like to see a few things from your Hilo bucket list, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is 20 minutes away and downtown Hilo is 40 minutes away.
As you step through the large glass French doors, you’ll be amazed by this wonderful little “treehouse”. While it’s not an actual treehouse, it feels like one as the house is surrounded by lush green trees and set high on stilts.
And it also happens to have a fantastic interior! With quartz countertops, a bamboo hanging pod chair, and turquoise accents, you can tell that this house was decorated by someone with an eye for interior design. You can snuggle up in the queen bed, whip up something to eat in the well-appointed kitchen, and breathe in the fresh air on the lower level patio.
One of the best perks of staying in a treehouse is being surrounded by nature! There are beautiful wild plants all around this Airbnb including purple orchids, bright hibiscus, and even a small grove of rare ohi‘a lehua trees, just to name a few.
This romantic treehouse is one of the closest vacation rentals to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. So you’ll be near the challenging Kilauea Iki Trail, the otherworldly Thurston Lava Tube, and the popular Volcano Winery.
Best Hilo Airbnbs for Small Groups and Families
Due to its location on a recently created lava rock field, this modern tiny house is one of the most unique Hilo Airbnbs! And to add to its distinctiveness, this tiny house also happens to be a one-of-a-kind home designed by ArtisTree, a tiny treehouse construction company with trendy homes all across the globe.
With a natural wood exterior, this Airbnb fits nicely into the untouched landscape around it. And the interior of this home is rather unique as well. Split into two distinct halves, this tiny house includes two bedrooms with brightly colored pillows, a well-stocked kitchen, a comfortable living area, a small dining area, and an awesome outdoor deck between the two sides of the house.
This tiny house is situated off-the-grid in the small town of Pahoa. And while you might be far from downtown Hilo, you’ll be close to some natural gems like the newly created Pohoiki Black Sand Beach and the Holei Sea Arch.
The minute you step into this oceanfront Balinese-style home, you’ll notice is that everything is made with natural wood. The walls, the ceiling, the artwork, the furniture, the fans, the doors – absolutely everything! And this distinctive design choice certainly gives the home a unique and spiritual feel.
This vacation rental includes two bedrooms decorated with sheer curtains, a fully stocked kitchen with granite countertops, an earth-toned living room, and a small dining area for four. And in the backyard you’ll find a bubbling hot tub and an outdoor patio with amazing views of the bright blue Pacific Ocean.
This unique Balinese house is just a few steps away from the breathtaking Kehena Black Sand Beach, so be sure to enjoy this rare natural wonder. It is important to note that Kehena Beach is a clothing-optional beach, so it may not be the best place to bring the kids.
Thanks to its location amidst the sharp, jagged lava rock, this Lava Flow Villa in Pahoa is one of the coolest Airbnbs in Hilo. And I’m not the only one who has noticed this one-of-a-kind villa – California Home & Design, Island Living, Minimalist Houses, and even The New York Times have all written about it!
Within this contemporary, geometric home, there are two bedrooms with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, an expansive kitchen with luxury appliances, several comfortable seating areas with views of the jagged lava rock, and a dining room that’s perfect for entertaining. As for the backyard, it includes a greenery-filled tropical garden, a candle-lit patio, and a stunning cerulean pool.
This wonderful villa is a short walk from the amazing Kehena Black Sand Beach. As mentioned in the previous vacation rental’s description, keep in mind that this is a clothing-optional beach.
The Oma‘oma‘o House is undoubtedly one of the best Airbnbs in Hilo, thanks to its minimalistic design, private waterfall, and prime location.
With its large open spaces and neutral color palate, this Hilo Airbnb is a fantastic example of minimalism. You can wake up in one of the two bedrooms filled with natural light, whip up a meal in the well-appointed kitchen with pristine black countertops, and relax in the living room while enjoying the views of Hilo’s lush greenery.
The real highlight of this home is the private spring-fed waterfall and the accompanying swimming hole. After all, getting a natural waterfall all to yourself is a pretty special perk, don’t you think?
The Oma‘oma‘o House is just a 10-minute walk from downtown Hilo. You can try the delicious mochi from Two Ladies Kitchen, check out the Pacific Tsunami Museum, and grab an exquisite dinner from Moon & Turtle.
Best Hilo Airbnbs for Large Groups and Events
The Waterfalling Estate in Ninole is undeniably one of the coolest Airbnbs in Hilo! With two pools, two hot tubs, multiple diving platforms, a basketball court, a tennis court, a game room, an elevator, a grand piano, a sauna, and a three-story waterslide, it’s the type of grandiose house built for a millionaire!
With trendy, contemporary decor throughout, this estate also includes five lavish bedrooms filled with natural light, a full kitchen outfitted with luxury appliances, two inviting living rooms, a large dining area, and an expansive balcony with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. This home has everything you could ever dream of and more!
The Waterfalling Estate is situated in the secluded town of Ninole. And while you could easily spend all of your time at this dream home, there are a few hidden gems near the estate, including Nanue Bridge, Botanical World Adventures, and Laupahoehoe Beach Park.
Between its glowing reviews, prime location, and spectacular views, this modern oceanfront house is certainly one of the best Airbnbs in Hilo!
As you walk through the glass French doors you’ll see that the open floor plan includes a well-appointed kitchen with stainless steel appliances, an ocean view living room, and a picnic table-style dining room. And as you continue to peruse this inviting home, you’ll find three amazing bedrooms filled with Carrara marble accents and a lengthy balcony with unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean.
Since this charming vacation rental is situated on the shores of Hilo Bay, that means it is also close to all of the downtown Hilo attractions as well.
Between detailed flower photographs, leaf-print couch cushions, and live plant accents, it’s clear that this peaceful and secluded Hilo villa uses nature as its inspiration.
This Airbnb features three bedrooms with enhanced plant photographs, two living rooms with an assortment of cozy chairs, and a stocked kitchen with pristine white countertops. And the outdoor area is a highlight of this gorgeous home as well! You can sway in a hammock on the balcony, enjoy a meal at the outdoor dining table, or lounge all day long on the sun deck.
As an added bonus, this Hilo home also provides all your beach day essentials including beach towels, beach maps, snorkel gear, and an umbrella.
As with a few other Airbnbs on this list, this peaceful villa is located on the shores of the clothing optional Kehena Black Sand Beach.
With a 50-foot-long saltwater swimming pool, a kitchen with high-end appliances, and a billiards room, the 5,000-square-foot Villa Paraiso is one of the most lavish vacation rentals in Hilo!
Within this huge villa, you’ll find three spacious master bedrooms, an elegant kitchen with granite countertops, a hardwood dining table that seats 12, a comfortable living room with a 70” flat screen TV, as well as several outdoor balconies and patios.
But the real highlight of this estate is the backyard! You can soak up the sun in one of the teak lounge chairs, spend a few hours swimming in the brilliant blue pool, warm up in the hot tub, and tell stories around the firepit.
Situated in the suburb of Kea‘au, Villa Paraiso is about 20 minutes outside of downtown Hilo. This location puts you in close proximity to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Visitor Center, Haena Beach, and the Kilauea Caverns of Fire.
That’s it – 12 of the best Airbnbs in Hilo! Do you have a favorite vacation rental in Hilo? Let us know in the comments below.
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Sarah Etinas – About the Author:
Sarah is a travel writer based on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. When she’s not enjoying the stunning beaches and hikes of her home island, she’s going on exciting adventures all around the world. A few of her most thrilling adventures have included snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps, kayaking through a river of jellyfish in the Caribbean, and sleeping in a sandstorm in the Sahara Desert.