Richardson’s Ocean Center
Leleiwi Beach just southeast of Hilo includes several inlets, coves, and natural ponds as well as tidepools in the lava rocks.
This beach is a popular snorkeling location due to the nearshore coral reef and the variety of marine life that can be seen here including Hawaiian green sea turtles and even spinner dolphins. Bodyboarders and surfers enjoy the waves breaking along the southern point of the bay, and there are safe places for kids to swim. Freshwater springs empty into the shallow sea pools that are surrounded by palm trees.
Surfing, bodyboarding, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, marine education.
The Richardson’s Ocean Center on the east side of the park provides a nice interpretive center with activities interesting to kids focusing on marine education. A fun day is snorkeling at Leleiwi Beach in the morning and then walking over to Richardson’s Beach for the afternoon. Richardson Beach Park features the closest black sand beach to Hilo.
Need to Know
This is one of the best snorkeling areas in Hilo though it is subject to high surf. Always use caution in and around the ocean. Check with the lifeguard and never go in the water during times of high waves or rough water. The beach is subject to strong currents when the waves are big.
Restrooms, showers, pavilions, picnic tables, potable water.
Most of the year
Richardson Beach Park and Leleiwi beach are located just south of Hilo in Kekaukaha on Kalanianaole Avenue. See map.