Coconut Island

Coconut Island: Cross the Footbridge to Discover Hilo's Best-Kept Secret
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Coconut Island offers a brief escape from the real world, complete with a whimsical stroll along a footbridge and gorgeous views of the coast. Only accessible by foot, this laid-back destination invites you to ditch your vehicle for a few hours as you enjoy a more relaxed take on Big Island exploration.

- The Local Expert Team

Amp up your Big Island experience with a visit to the quaint Coconut Island, where you’ll find a laid-back setting that beckons you to relax. Simple and serene, this tiny island provides some of Hilo’s best views. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular among locals. The secret is starting to get out, however, and tourists increasingly make a point of visiting this little oasis. Still, it’s one of the quieter spots in town, so it’s worth a visit when you crave a laid-back adventure.

Coconut Island is exclusively accessible by foot, but the stroll across the narrow footbridge is short and enjoyable. The island is adjacent to the beloved Liliuokalani Gardens, so you can easily build both attractions into a single afternoon. Dedicated parking can be found at a nearby lot or along Banyan Drive. That being said, several hotels are conveniently located within a short walk from this destination — so driving is often completely unnecessary.

No matter how you arrive, you’ll be glad to find decent facilities. These will exceed your expectations, especially given the size of the island. In addition to onsite restrooms, there are also outdoor showers. These amenities make the idea of visiting for several hours a lot more appealing. 

There’s not a whole lot to do at Coconut Island, but therein lies the charm. This is where you go to escape the hustle and bustle of tourist life, and instead, relax for an hour or two with absolutely nothing on your itinerary. It can be busy at times, but is surprisingly relaxed given its proximity to several hotels. Early mornings (especially weekdays) provide great opportunities for finding the solitude you crave.

Bring a good book and read as you enjoy the sound of the waves crashing. Sunbathing is also recommended, although there are plenty of places to rest in the shade if you prefer. Simply chilling and taking the view is enjoyable. When you get a chance, be sure to check out the informational sign — it provides an intriguing insight into the area’s history of tsunamis. 

A small beach gives you the opportunity to wade or even swim if you desire. No lifeguards are on site, so any water adventures come with the obvious caveat: swim at your own risk. Most visitors are content to wade, although a few splash around in swimsuits — and some even go snorkeling. Kids and kids at heart can often be seen climbing along the old concrete structures near the beach. These features also provide a great vantage point for those who crave sweeping views. 

While Hilo is home to the Big Island’s best restaurants, it may be worth your while to take a break from dining out and instead enjoy a picnic on Coconut Island. This experience will be especially delightful if you bring a whimsical basket and blanket. There are a few picnic tables available, but nothing beats the simple charm of dining on a blanket on the soft grass.

Set aside a few hours for a rejuvenating Hilo experience like no other: a laid-back visit to Coconut Island. Whether you’re strolling along the footbridge or hanging out at the beach, you will be amazed that such a small island has so much to offer. 

Insider Tips:
-The island’s signs caution against climbing on the park’s memorable concrete structures. These signs don’t stop most visitors but beware: as the signs warn, these structures can be dangerous. You’re likely to see kids jumping off the tower, but you’re best off avoiding this yourself.
-While walking to the island is fun, local kayak tours also venture near this location, providing a valuable vantage point and a sense of adventure. 
-Don’t be confused by the name: while most people know this location as Coconut Island, some refer to it as Mokuola. This translates to “Island of Life,” pointing to its disputed origins as a temple site.