On a grand section of the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, the best way to see Onomea Bay is with a scenic drive — granting views of the coastline, turquoise waters, and tropical forest. The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is located along the route, as is the Onomea Arch (which collapsed during an earthquake in 1956.) With many streams and waterfalls, it is a particularly lush area of the Big Island.
Historically the bay was a small fishing village for early Hawaiians, and became one of the Big Island’s biggest landing spots for large ships. There were once taro and sugarcane fields growing in the hills above, with both products being shipped out from the bay. The “Donkey Trail” is the path (now hike) from the remains of the old sugar mill that was used to take products down to the water for wider distribution. Now the bay is a much-loved scenic spot popular with snorkelers and those driving through.
Onomea Bay is located just outside of Hilo on the eastern side of the Big Island of Hawaii (8.5 miles.) It can be accessed via Highway 19.