A fun visit to Coconut Island and Banyan Drive in Hilo, Hawaii

A visit to Coconut Island is one of those sweet places in Hilo that is fun and easy to explore and walk across the 250-foot walking bridge directly to the island. A family friendly area with a large grassy area in the middle with picnic tables and some pavilions to reserve, you can easily enjoy a few hours or entire day on the island and enjoying the small beaches here. You’ll enjoy your visit to Coconut island while exploring the area off Banyan Drive in Hilo.

It’s fun to walk around the island, check out the lovely views and enjoy the simple life here with local kids jumping off the lava tower, picnics on the ground and even taking some lovely photos of the coastline, bay and Hilo in the background.

A fun visit to Coconut Island and Banyan Drive in Hilo, Hawaii

History of Coconut Island

Coconut Island in Hawaiian is called Moku Ola or Moku meaning “Island” and Ola translated into “Life”. The more common name of Coconut island is derived from all the coconut trees that were planted on the island and thrived in this bay environment. Coconut Island was historically a place of refuge on the island and included an ancient temple on the grounds which are not visible anymore. As a place of refuge on the Hilo side, the island would be a place of healing and escape for locals and also warriors to avoid being harmed or killed while staying on the island.  Many ancient Hawaiians would bury their children’s piko or umbilical cords in the rocks which is a sacred custom to ancient Hawaiians. The pikos or umbilical cords were buried deep along the rocks so rats could not get to them directly.

What to see and do visiting Coconut Island

What to see and do visiting Coconut Island

The Island is small and easy to walk around, popular things to do on the island include:

Packing a nice picnic and enjoy a private spot with views

Play on the two little beach cove areas that you’ll come across on the island

Jump the lava tower into the bay (A popular pass time with local kids and adults)

Enjoy the coastal views of the bay and Hilo downtown area

Local kids also jump on the bridge causeway which isn’t advisable but done.

You can also rent kayaks from an outfitter close by at the Naniloa hotel to paddle around the island and scenic bay area

You can also rent kayaks and sup boards close by on Banyan drive

Check out this fun video of local kids enjoying jumping off the lava tower in Coconut island, a simple but fun pass time on the island.

Directions getting to Coconut Island

Coconut Island is accessible by a walking bridge through Banyan Drive and just off Liliuokalani Gardens. Address to map on Google is

77 Keliipio Place, Hilo HI 96720

How to park in area off Coconut Island

Directly in front of the island is a small parking area and if it is filled drive around Liliuokalani park for more open spots or even Banyan drive where all the Hilo hotels are located.

Access the island through the walking pathways.

What else to see around Coconut Island area

What else to see around Coconut Island area

You can check out a variety of attraction close by to Coconut island to include:

A stroll through the Japanese garden at Liliuokalani Gardens

Banyan drive walk

A family friendly beach at Reeds Bay Beach Park

Hilo beaches like Carlsmith Beach park and Richardson Ocean Park

Explore the Kaumana Caves above Hilo town

Hilo Old Town

Visit all the waterfalls on the east side and the island.

For more Hilo fun, check out my post on things to do around Hilo here for an inside look of popular attractions, downtown Hilo and historic places to visit around town.

Check out this fun aerial video capturing Coconut island from above with Big Island Pulse

Have you visited Coconut Island in Hilo?

Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.

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Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.