Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hilo Beach Parks

Why do tourists not visit three of the best family swimming beach parks in all of Hawaii? Because the parks are in Hilo, a long drive from tourist-packed Kona, on a dead-end road, and—let’s face it—it rains a lot on this side of the island. Nevertheless, here they are: Onekahakaha Beach Park (pictured), Carlsmith Beach Park, and Richardson Ocean Park, all with a couple miles of Hilo Town and just a few miles apart on Highway 137, which rims the east shore of Hilo Bay.

Onekahakaha has a huge man-made ocean pool, spacious lawns, and an abundance of picnic facilities. Carlsmith also has a large man-made swimming area with railed steps and excellent snorkeling among turtles, as well as a lovely backshore with tropical trees and natural ponds. Historic Richardson sees most of the action, as beachgoers are drawn to an offshore surfing break, good swimming, and gardenscaped ponds that extend to the copious picnic pavilions at Leleiwi Beach Park, right next to Richardson. Locals know these treasures well, and on sunny weekends the place is all about living the good life, island-style.