Richardson’s Ocean (or Beach) Park is the black sand beach closest to Hilo. It is know to the locals as ‘Richardson’s’ and is the best choice for snorkeling on the East side of the Big Island.
Richardson’s is part of a series of beach parks along Kalanianaʻole (south Hilo). Despite the closeness to Hilo, the weather you find at Richardsons often is less rainy and more sunny than that downtown.
Richardson’s is Family friendly
Tide pools, calm water, and a picnic area make this beach park a great place to bring young kids.
A good place to snorkel
The ocean here is spring fed by freshwater that also forms many ponds both at the beaches and nearby. The spring water is cold, and the ocean water warmer. Combine this with shallow and almost current-free waters and you understand why this is such a good place for snorkeling.
The sand at Richardsons is green (olivines) and black (lava)
If you take a close look at the sand on Richardson beach you will see that it is mostly made out of black lava and so-called green sand. The green sand is made out of olivine crystals, the same crystals that give the more famous green sand beach its name. That beach however is difficult to reach, and Richardsons is a good place to visit if you are curious about this green sand. (more green sand trivia)
Directions to Richardson’s Beach Park
Coming from downtown Hilo go east down Kalaniana’ole Avenue to reach a series of beach parks. The two most popular of these beach parks are Carlsmith beach park, popularly known as Four Mile after the mile marker, and Richardson’s, almost at the end of the road.
Visiting during the weekend
Both Richardson’s and the adjacent Carlsmith beach park are very busy during weekends. If you want to visit during the weekend show up early to find parking or expect to drive up and down the road a while to find parking.
If your schedule allows it, a better time to visit the beach park (less parking hassle and crowds) is on week days during the morning or late afternoon hours.
The park is open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and has a lifeguard on duty between those hours. There are also picnic areas, showers, restrooms, parking, telephones, and ponds.
Nearby Hilo Beaches
Richardson’s Beach Park is part of a series of beach parks along Kalanianaʻole Avenue. The other beach parks are Carlsmith Beach Park, Leleʻiwi beach park, James Keʻaloha Beach Park and Onekahakaha Beach Co Park.
See all Hilo Beaches here.