Bayfront Park

Experience the Black Sands of Hilo Bayfront Beach Park
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Hilo Bayfront Beach Park is a coarse, black-sand beach that is an example of the damage that can be done by erosion and pollution. Thankfully, restoration efforts are working to return the beach to what it was in its glory days, but there is still a ways to go as of yet. However, you can still spend your day here on the beach, either picnicking or participating in water activities. Avoid swimming, though, as the murkiness of the water isn’t ideally suited to a safe experience. 

- The Local Expert Team

Conveniently located in the town of Hilo, this black sand beach is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, though it is considered more a local hangout than a tourist hotspot. While the water is murky and therefore not ideal for swimming, Hilo Bayfront Beach Park does offer fishing, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking, surfing, and fishing opportunities. Scuba and snorkeling are best away from the shore. 

Parking is plentiful for this beach destination and Hilo Bayfront Beach Park features showers and restrooms. Also, there are plenty of picnic spots available. The murky water of this beach means that swimming is not advised. This murkiness is especially prominent on the east side of the shore where the Wailoa River empties into the ocean. Even though shark attacks aren’t especially frequent in Hawaii, you will want to avoid murky water swimming when possible as this is the ideal hunting ground for sharks. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see a hammerhead shark or two in this area, as they are fairly common in the bay. 

After a visit to the Hilo Bayfront Beach Park, you should explore the nearby Pacific Tsunami Museum. This museum memorializes the lives lost and the damage caused by two devastating tsunamis the area experienced in 1946 and then again in 1960. This museum, located in the town of Hilo, displays documentation, photographs, and other exhibits. You will learn about what happened when the area was ravaged by tsunamis, and will also be educated on what causes tsunamis and what to do in the event one occurs. General admission to the museum is $8 for adults, $4 for children, and kids under 5 years of age are free. A visit to the Pacific Tsunami Museum is a great rainy weather activity.

Hilo Bayfront Beach Park was once one of the most popular beaches in the area, due to its proximity to downtown Hilo. This popularity among both tourists and locals led to its downfall, which caused deterioration of the beach and the natural beauty of the area. Thankfully, recent renovations have helped bring this local treasure back to life. 

The dark sand is coarse to the touch at this beach. Therefore, it isn’t ideal to sit down or lounge on. Instead, most beach visitors simply walk along the beach and admire the views that this popular spot offers. You will likely see canoe and kayak enthusiasts out in the water as well as surfers. Reviewers claim that the beach features lots of green space with ample plants and trees. 

This lengthy beach happens to be one of the longest beaches on the entire Big Island of Hawaii, featuring close to 3,000 feet of coastline. It was at one time before its downfall considered one of the most beautiful beaches on the entire island. Today, that sadly isn’t the case, due to erosion from pollution,  but it is still a nice place to take a picnic and enjoy a gorgeous day in Hawaii. If you are lucky and it’s a particularly good day in the area, you will glimpse some of the beauty that made it so popular in previous decades. There are even a few beach shops to enjoy. 

Hilo Bay, along with Hilo Bayfront Beach Park are protected areas and have a wide array of marine life that call the area some. While you might not be able to see these fish right up close to the shore due to the murkiness, if you paddle a canoe or kayak offshore just a bit, you can likely see the fish just under the water’s surface. 

Insider Tips:
-No lifeguards are listed on duty at this beach. 
-Waves and hazardous currents also add to the danger of this beach’s murky water and increase its inhospitability for swimming.