There are many wondrous, enigmatic and fascinating attractions on the Big Island of Hawaii, some better known than others, many out of the way and generally off the beaten track. Tour Guide Hawaii has produced an encyclopedic collection of the most up-to-date information, presented as short GPS-cued videos, in an app downloadable to iPhone and iPod Touch that covers the entire Big Island, highlighting the popular and the uncrowded, the famous and the secluded, the adventurous and the relaxing.
Richardson Beach Park and Ocean Center
The almost universal experience of visitors to Hawai’i is that, although it is certainly beautiful, delightful and a unique, special place, no matter what pre-conceptions a traveler may bring about Hawai’i, their experience is a bit different to what they expected.
Richardson Ocean Park, with its towering palms, fresh water pools, delightful surf, secluded and calm tidepools, lawns and general ambiance of tropical paradise, is almost certainly very close to what most visitors expect from Hawai’i—hence it popularity. If you are here on one of the two or three sunny days Hilo will have this year, Richardson Beach Park is perhaps the most lovely, calming and inviting place on the East side of the island.
Views of Mauna Kea at sunrise and sunset from this beach are unparalleled. The snorkeling here along the small black sand beach is the best of the Hilo area and the surf is a busy mix of beginner to intermediate level waves. Hawai’i County Division of Aquatics Ocean Center is located at this park; lots of interesting information is available from these friendly, helpful folks. The name derives from the owners of the first house built here, by George and Elsa Richardson, whose home is now occupied by the Richardson Ocean Center.
The main, near-shore swimming area is protected by a natural rock ledge, which makes it safe for even children to swim and snorkel here; entry is via the small black-sand beach. Frequented by dolphins and sea turtles and the best diversity of fish on this side of the island, the near-shore water is a little cold when getting in, due to fresh water springs, but soon warms-up a few dozen yards from shore. Experienced snorkelers will want to venture out and south, around the natural rock wall, to a small coral reef teeming with colorful fish.
The currents and surf can occasionally be tricky here, so heads-up, pay attention to what the lifeguard is advising, don’t go in during high surf. Since Leiiwi Beach Park is adjacent, it is suggested that you explore both snorkeling areas on the same visit. Poking about the abundant tidepools will add enjoyment to post-swim explorations.
Restrooms, showers, water, picnic tables and a lifeguard round-out the amenities of this wonderful place. There is also a Hawai’i County Police Department substation here.
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All media copyright 2009 by Donald B. MacGowan. All rights reserved.