Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hilo's fabulous swimming parks

You can't call Hilo's run of awesome beach parks a secret. They are afterall lined up in plain sight along the shore of Hilo Bay—Onekahakaha, Carlsmith, Leleiwi, Richardson Ocean Park—within a couple miles of town and just a few miles apart. But very few tourists see them and get to enjoy huge, man-made (and man-enhanced) swimming ovals, all perfectly safe with beautiful tropical greenery at their backshores. Sure, there's not the run of golden sand, but there are lawns, gardens, and enough sand to call a beach.

Why then are these beauties overlooked (thanks for asking)? Well, it rains in Hilo so perfect days are not the norm, not many tourists stay on this side of the island, and when they do come here they are headed to Puna, to Kilauea Volcano, or to take a long saunter around the historic town, with its vintage streets and bayside parks. Hilo's swimming parks are right on a main road, but it is a dead-end road that represents a detour for tourists.

On sunny days, particularly weekends, Hawaiians for sure  find these places, and the placid pool waters ripple with jumping keikis, beach towels carpet the shore, and the scent of hulihuli chicken wafts from grills into the warm Pacific air. When Hilo's beach parks are popping, make a spot for yourself and the kids, and you will get to know not only the lovely waters but also get to soak in some Hawaiian aloha along with the sunshine.