Waiolena Beach Park serves as a great place to go when you want to enjoy scenic ocean views. Set just a few miles from downtown Hilo, this little piece of paradise doesn’t have any sandy shores – just lava rocks leading into the water. Along with its powerful waves and strong currents, this makes for a rather treacherous ocean swimming experience, so it’s best to chill on the shore, play in the tide pools, and simply enjoy the view. Brave surfers come down on the regular though, offering quite a show to onlookers chilling nearby.
To get to the beach, you have to travel down Kalanianaole Street to reach the public parking lots. You’ll find two near Oeoe Street and another by Uwau Street. If there aren’t any spots open – or you want to park closer to the beach – carefully find an open space along the shoulder instead. No matter where you park, make sure to take all your belongings with you and lock up. After that, walk down to the water’s edge while watching out for the tide pools at the entrance.
The tide pools often have kids jumping around on the rocks and wading around while the adults chill nearby. Locals often bring their families here for picnics and to get outside for the day without having to deal with large crowds of tourists. The weekends get busy as a result, although it’s easy to find a naturally shady spot to claim for the afternoon. Just bring a blanket to spread out on the grass, and then weigh it down with a cooler.
Since this beach never has lifeguards on duty, most of the water activities happen in the tide pools. If you see anyone go out into the ocean, it’s usually avid surfers looking for their next challenge. In addition to skilled surfers, you can often spot sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine life as you gaze upon the water. If you go out on the rocks, always wear water shoes with lots of grip. The rocks have a rather slippery surface and lots of sharp edges.
Fun things to do include:
Take Awesome Photos
If you want stunning pictures of your time in paradise, use this beach park as your backdrop of choice. You can take wonderful selfies all along the shores, especially as the sun starts to set. Take full advantage of the golden hour, too, ensuring you get the snaps worthy of sharing on the ‘Gram.
Have a Picnic
A picnic lunch is made all that much better when you enjoy it on the waterfront. So, stop by a local deli and pick up premade sammies, poke, and more, and then chow down while sitting on the beach. You’ll need to pack out all your trash when you’re done, but there are plenty of garbage cans over by the restroom.
Watch the Action
If you love to watch the action all around, this beach is the perfect place to land. Come by in the morning to see fishermen trying their luck in reeling in the big one. Or swing by in the early afternoon for a chance to spot surfers tackling the waves. Even the kids darting all around the tide pools are a joy to see having a fun time.
The public bathrooms for this beach park are located on the west side of the parking lot closest to Oeoe Street. Nearby the bathrooms, there is also a covered pavilion with picnic tables set up underneath. The grassy area often gets used as a prime picnic space, but you’re welcome to enjoy your lunch anywhere you can grab a space.
-If you want to try fishing off the shores, you’ll need to get a fishing license before you head out. Otherwise, you could end up with a fine.
-As with all Hawaiian beaches, the waves get a lot more powerful in the winter months. Avoid coming to the waterfront in bad weather by checking the conditions before you head out.