We returned from Hilo in May and I must say, this is a little town worth exploring on your own. Volcano National Park is nice but not much there. After visiting the volcanoes we ventured to Akaka Falls which was gorgeous!!! The drive through some cute towns made the adventure even more interesting. There is a "scenic drive" that is about 4 miles long in downtown Hilo that I would recommend. Gorgeous is not the word for some of the scenery there. As we drove back to the airport we stumbled upon the Big Island Candy Factory - great mac shortbread cookies!!!
Kona is a better town but Hilo had some good points too!