Hilo Beaches



Carlsmith Beach is a beautiful beach with many coconut tree islets just off shore. The beach is surrounded by turquoise waters, too choppy for my snorkeling tastes unfortunately, though many other visitors felt very comfortable swimming. There were sharp black lava rocks to walk on (bring water shoes) and white sand-bottomed coves. Carlsmith Beach is probably the most beautiful beach we went to in our attempt to turtle-spot, though we did not spot any here. Parking here was limited and the beach was busy, but for good reason. 


Carlsmith Beach, Hilo, Hawaii

Carlsmith Beach, Hilo, Hawaii


Richardson Beach is a smaller beach, also with beautiful coconut tree islets just offshore and just inland. The turquoise water on the right side of the beach was calmer, with the sand there being half green, half black sand. At the end of that short beach on the right side were black lava rocks jutting up as islets with green shrubs taking root. In the waters between these lava rock islets, we saw a medium sized turtle swimming gracefully by.  This was the boys' first turtle encounter and they were excited!

Walking along a black lava rock island in pursuit of a passing turtle

Walking along a black lava rock island in pursuit of a passing turtle

A turtle swimming gracefully by

A turtle swimming by gracefully

Coconut Tree islets just inland at Richardsons Beach

Coconut Tree islets just inland at Richardson Beach


We stopped at Onekahakaha Beach for snorkeling since it had the calmest water of the three beaches we saw. There was a rocky wall protecting the shores from violent ocean waves and the waters were not so deep. We spotted a few schools of small grey fish swimming by. The view was not as beautiful as the other two beaches. The rocks are sharp here too, so bring some footwear! 

Wading at Onekahakaha Beach, near Hilo

Wading at Onekahakaha Beach, near Hilo


Practical Information (as of June 2017): 

Features: Beautiful turquoise water beaches with black lava rock coconut tree islets just offshore, and coconut tree islets amongst canals inland, good place to turtle-spot, some snorkeling possibilities depending on how rough the waters are 

Activities: swimming, snorkeling, turtle-spotting

Directions: From Hilo, take Kamehameha Ave east to Kalanianaole Ave. Follow Kalanianaole Ave, several beaches come up, starting with Onekahakaha Beach, then Carlsmith Beach and Richardson Beach, with several more in between.


Warning:  All listed adventures come with inherent risks. The information provided is based on personal experience which may or may not be typical. The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, preparation and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. As such, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  As such, we will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal preparation and judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and always be safe.

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