Akaka Falls is an impressive 442 foot waterfall just eleven miles north of Hilo in Hawaii. It was a family friendly stop on our Big Island tour. We visited near the end of our time in Hawaii, and our children were clamoring for a waterfall sighting. Luckily, it delivered.
It is a humid 0.4 walk, mostly uphill. However, it is a slight incline and paved. Most people should not have any problems with the walk. I believe you can take a direct to Akaka version, which bypasses Kahuna Falls, if you need to minimize your walking during your visit.
Designated as a state park, there is a parking lot attendant that will collect a parking/admission fee of $5 a car. I’m not sure if this is a relatively new expense, as it seemed the tourists were hassling her for doing her job. It seemed like a fair price to pay for us, but take it into consideration if you are on an extreme budget. (Update – Per Sheila of GoVisitHawaii.com, the $5 fee was introduced 2 years ago and it only applies to non-Hawaii residents.)
Unlike most state parks, there isn’t much exploring you can do. You are really limited to the pavement and there are really just two sights to see – the lesser falls Kahuna and the main star Akaka. Plan for an hour at the most at the sight.
Make sure and stop at the produce stands along the drive into Akaka Falls. We had some Kona white pineapple and apple bananas. They were the best fruit I have ever tasted. My son also drank a coconut, which seems to be one of the highlights of his four year old life. He talks about it months after, asking if we can go back to Hawaii just to get him a coconut to drink. If only it were that simple!