Carlsmith Beach Park

Visit a Supreme Snorkeling and Swimming Site at Carlsmith (Four Mile) Beach Park in Hilo
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A tiny city beach park with calm waters and excellent swimming, snorkeling, and sea turtle sightings, Carlsmith Beach Park is a hidden jewel located just minutes from Hilo. The rocky shoreline surrounded by trees and brilliantly colored lagoon make this beach a unique beach experience that you must include on your next trip to the Hawaiian Islands.

- The Local Expert Team

Not as many people know about Carlsmith (Four Mile) Beach Park as some of the more well-known beaches, and fans of this beach like it that way. This small beach is within 10 minutes of downtown Hilo is a perfect spot for snorkeling or swimming.

You won’t find white sands at this beach. But don’t let the rocky appearance turn you away. The waters of this beach have a reef protecting them from high surf, creating a natural lagoon. The still waters make surfing or bodyboarding impossible. But if you want the perfect place for snorkeling or swimming, Carlsmith is a wonderful place to go.

A lack of sand shouldn’t prevent you from relaxing near the water. You will find a few grassy spots to set up your beach blanket on. Plus, picnic tables give you space to enjoy a lunch or snack. Restrooms and showers for the beach are clean and well-kept.

Lifeguards watch over this beach to ensure visitor safety during busier times on holidays and weekends. The presence of lifeguards and calm waters make this a great place for a family-friendly beach outing. Kids love swimming in the pool-like lagoon. And their parents feel more comfortable bringing them to this beach than other more populated beaches with rougher surf.

The waters of this beach park lack the rolling waves for bodyboarding or surfing. Leave your board behind and embrace the serenity of the calm waters for snorkeling or swimming at this beach park.

Arrive early if you want to grab a spot in the limited parking area or park along the street. Don’t let the full parking area fool you. The spacious beach and water allow for everyone who visits to have plenty of room for whatever they want to do in the park.

Discover the following reasons to love this hidden gem of Hilo:

Clear, Still Waters for Snorkeling:
The reef creates a still water lagoon filled with sea life that offers excellent conditions for snorkeling. Sea turtles and fish abound in the waters, giving you ample things to look at. Plus, despite the rocky shoreline, the ground underwater is mostly smooth. Occasionally, you may swim through areas where colder freshwater seeps into the lagoon, creating areas of visual distortion. Overall, though, the waters are very clear and perfect for snorkeling.

Calm Surf for Swimming:
The calm surf that makes this area good for snorkeling also creates ideal conditions for swimming. Waters here can be colder than expected for a swim, even during the warm summer months, but most people quickly adapt to it. Use the stairs provided to safely enter the water for swimming instead of trying to navigate off the steep and rugged rocks.

Sea Turtle Sightings:
Sea turtles make frequent appearances in the water and on the lava rocks surrounding the beach. If you are lucky enough to see one of these, admire it from a distance and take photos, but do not touch or feed it. Some visitors have reported sea turtles becoming a little aggressive if they see people approach because the animals expect food from them.

Whether you go to this park for snorkeling, swimming, or spotting sea turtles you won’t regret a trip to Carlsmith Beach Park in Hilo.

Insider Tips:
Don’t expect a sandy beach here, but the rocks and reef break up the surf to create the calm waters of this beach.
-Give any turtles that you see at least ten feet of space. Touching these animals is illegal can incur a large fine.
-The parking lot is small, but you can find bike parking or street parking nearby.
-Waters tend to be colder near Hilo than on the Kona side of the island. Be prepared for the difference if you have never been to a beach on this side of the island before.