Pahoa Things To Do

Things to Do near Pahoa Town on Big Island

The small town of Pahoa is built upon historic, century-old buildings to create a peaceful and quiet atmosphere on the eastern tip of the Big Island. The town is home to the highest concentration of historic buildings in all of Hawaii. The lush landscape is a beautiful contrast to the nearby volcanic settings, and it’s got that tropical climate you would expect from the Big Island!

Pahoa’s deep island culture is infused into the main street boutiques, restaurants, craft stores, and galleries. Walk along the town’s old boardwalk (which is over one hundred years old), and step inside the rustic, Wild West-style buildings to explore all that the town has to offer. If you look hard enough, you might even be able to make out carvings on those buildings that state 1910 and 1900, an indication of just how old buildings are in Pahoa.

Spend the early afternoon perusing the sights to be seen in the area and then finish your evening off by relaxing in the island's oldest movie theater. You can find the most shops in Pahoa within The Pahoa Marketplace, even though this venue doesn't provide the same level of intrigue and character that Pahoa’s main street offers.

Directions to Pahoa

Getting to Pahoa from Hilo International Airport only takes approximately 30 minutes, making it an easy jumping-off point for your trip to the Big Island. From Hilo International Airport, head south of the Hawaii Belt Road (Highway 11), then take a left onto Keaau Pahoa Bypass Road (Highway 130). From there, it’s just a few turns to arrive in the quaint town of Pahoa.

A Brief History of Pahoa

Pahoa’s history also included a sugar cane factory and tofu factory, both of which have now been closed for quite some time. In fact, the tofu factory was the starting point of a potentially destructive fire that blazed in the heart of the town in 1955 when the factory’s wood-fired furnace got out of control. Luckily, this fire was saved by a civilian farmer who happened to have a truck filled with water.

Despite the sleepy nature of Pahoa, life is never boring here. The landscape continues to change as a result of volcano activity. In May of 2018, a new volcano developed out of the ground just two miles outside of the town! So, Pahoa’s residents experienced some major loss to homes and town buildings. A lava lake formed as it made its way from the new volcano to the ocean, with explosive fissures sending lava shooting out along the way.

Pahoa gives off a “hippie” town vibe; it’s filled with people who are living alternative or New Age lifestyles. But with the recent changes and natural occurrences in the area, it’s clear that the small town is resilient and positive no matter what!

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Isaac Hale Beach Park

Step foot onto the black sand of Isaac Hale Beach Park, the additional beach was formed from hot lava when it touched the ocean just recently in the spring of 2018! When this happens, the end product can become brittle, breaking off into tiny sand that’s dispersed across the many beaches along the Big Island’s coastline.

Find Isaac Hale Beach Park 30 minutes from the heart of Pahoa by taking the Keaau Pahoa Bypass Road (Highway 130) south, turning left onto Kamili Road, and then turning left onto Kalapana - Kapoho Road (Highway 137). From there, simply turn right onto Kalapana - Kapoho Beach Road.

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Maku’u Farmers’ Market

The tropical climate and landscape of the Big Island farmland make for the perfect area to enjoy many farmers’ markets! When visiting Pahoa, don't forget to visit the Maku'u Farmers’ Market on a Sunday. This is where laid-back vendors greet you with prepared food, delicious fruit, and fresh vegetables. You can even enjoy your lunch on one of the market’s picnic tables and listen to the eclectic mix of music. Sometimes, there’s also dancing. 

To get to the Maku’u Farmers’ Market, head north of Keaau Pahoa Bypass Road (Highway 130). After about 2.5 miles, the market will be waiting for you on the right.

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Pahoa Fresh Fish

Pahoa Fresh Fish is found right in the heart of the town, making it a stop that you just can’t miss! The local fish restaurant offers classic fish and chips, made with seafood straight from Hawaii’s coastline. This spot is frequented by both locals and visitors and is a casual dining experience. The menu is chock full of everything fish, from sandwiches to tacos, and shrimp to crab cakes.

From the center of Pahoa, you should head north on Keaau Pahoa Bypass Road (Highway 130), taking the second exit at the traffic circle onto Keaau-Pahoa Road. Take a sharp right onto Main Government Road, and then look for Pahoa Fresh Fish on the left!

*Photo by Punacoast via TripAdvisor

Pahoa has all the things you’re looking for in a Hawaiian vacation. It’s peaceful, beautiful, and bursting with life. For nature lovers, spa-goers, history buffs, and foodies, Pahoa is the destination of your dreams. Book your visit!

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