There are two beautiful falls within minutes of Hilo. Rainbow Falls is probably the most famous. There is a small parking lot and a short walk to get a closer look at the falls. There is a lookout right next to the parking lot that offers another view of the falls.
Akaka Falls was my favorite of the two because it had a nature trail and more to see along the way. It is about a 20 minute drive north from Hilo. There is a 3/4 mile loop trail that takes you from the parking lot, past the falls and back. My suggestion is to go right on the trail. If you go this way, you will see the falls as you come down the slope and get a great view. There are little waterfalls and springs that run by the trail at various points.
*There is a $1 fee for parking your vehicle in the lot. Parking is free for Kamaina, but they don’t advertise that, so be sure to mention it if they ask for payment. If you park on the road leading into the parking lot, you can park for free as well.