Hilo Bay Beachfront Park

Hilo Bay Beachfront Park, Big Island

With close to 3,000 feet (914 m) of coastline, Hilo Bay Beachfront Park is one of the longest beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii. But it’s surprisingly uncrowded. The culprit? A heavy industrial boom in the mid-1900s that has left the waters murky and the shores polluted due to sewage and industrial waste that was dumped into the ocean.

The past two decades have seen tremendous efforts by the government to restore the area. It’s still a work in progress, but on a good day, you can already glimpse some of Hilo Bay’s former glory. It was once considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Nevertheless, it is still a nice place for a picnic and a popular surfing, fishing and canoeing beach.

Swimming is not very popular, as the water hasn’t quite gained back its clear blue shade and is colder than on other beaches due to the discharge of freshwater from the nearby rivers. Nevertheless, the shore makes for a nice viewing spot, especially during sunset. It is a black sand beach and the unique color adds a lot of interest to the scene.

Much of Hilo Bay is a protected area, as there is some interesting marine wildlife around. It takes some luck and patience to spot some of the fish, but it’s certainly worth it. Most of them hang around far from shore, where there’s quite a bit of leftover sewage. Try paddling past the first few meters and they just might make an appearance.

Hilo Bay Beachfront Park is well-furnished despite its current condition. On the shore, you’ll find a number of picnic tables and shaded areas. Restrooms and showers can be found further back, as well as a few beach shops.

Hilo Bay Beachfront Park Overview

  • Black sand beach once bordered the entire length of Hilo Bay, but because of extensive erosion during the 20th century, the beach today is half its original size
  • Hammerhead sharks are common in the bay
  • Water is murky and swimming conditions are poor

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