Visit Carlsmith Beach Park: Four Mile in Hilo and one of the most unusual and gorgeous places in Hawaii (updated 2023)
Carlsmith Beach Park (Also known as Four Mile) is simply gorgeous Located along the string of small beach parks that skirts the coastline from downtown Hilo and past the Hilo airport, Carlsmith beach is interesting and a very popular local beach. But it is different to the other beach parks in that it doesn’t have a real beach! Instead what substitutes for beach is green lush lawn and flat lava rocks that everyone parks their towels in. What makes this beach stunning is the soft beach bottom and gorgeous aqua to azure tones of green to blue within the lagoons, coves and a outer rock barrier that protects in inside reef and lagoons which are fun to swim, snorkel or kayak in..
Why it is also called 4 Mile Beach?
Carlsmith is called “4 mile” because it is about four miles from the downtown area of Hilo. It is also next to James Kealoha (4-mile) Beach Park and the entire area is referred to as 4 mile so there’s no confusion to the different named parks close by to each other. Carlsmith is located on the ocean side with the pool lagoons and before James Kealoha Beach with the large parking lot area and a private fish pond on the far left side of the park area.
A family friendly beach park, the protected reef feels like a giant swimming pool on one end and a bay with little islands sprinkled in the middle that make it a fun destination. The shallow lagoon portions and cove areas are perfect to little kids to play in under the parent’s eyes that can easily spot them from above in the green lawn areas of the park.
Protected break waters & family fun at Carlsmith
Carlsmith beach is a family friendly swimming post. Perfect for snorkeling fun, bringing big play toys like sup boards and kayaks, there’s plenty of space to float and explore around 4 mile beach. The beach has fresh water bubbling to the surface mixing cold and hot water giving swimming an odd but refreshing experience passing through these areas.
There are picnic tables around the park to set up or you can lay a towel on the large grassy lawn area. The area also has lots of coconut trees and large shrubby areas to protect from the hot afternoon sun around the beach areas.
Looking at the small island in the middle of the lagoon area called Mahikea Island below.
Directions to Carl Smith Beach
The beach is about a 10 minute drive from downtown Hilo. drive down Kalaniana’ole Avenue until you reach the beach area on the ocean side and signage for Carlsmith Beach right in front of the restroom. The parking lot is very small so parking is mostly on the street or you can find parking in the adjoining lot close by with a short walk to the park.
Address: 1815 Kalanianaole Ave, Hilo, HI 96720
Amenities at Carlsmith Beach Park
Following are the main amenities available at Carlsmith Beach Park:
Parking areas and street parking
Restrooms with Showers
Picnic areas and covered pavilions
Grass lawns and lifeguard stations that are monitored mostly on weekends. Entrance is free to the beach park and parking.
The beach park is open from 7am to 8pm daily.
For additional parking areas, drive next door to the James Kealoha Beach Park adjoining Carlsmith with the private fish pond area next door.
Things to do at Carlsmith Beach park
Spread your towel on the large lawn areas and hit the pools (there is no physical beach).
Spot native honu or green sea turtles in all the coves and rocky areas feeding. Make sure you give them at least 10 feet of space which is a legal requirement in Hawaii
Bring a water recreation toy like a kayak, surf board or snorkel set to enjoy all the lagoon areas
Make it to the small island in the middle of the lagoon areas called Mahikea Island.
Take a nice walk along the coastal area to the left at James Kealoha (4-mile) Beach Park for different views or swimming spots
There are some cool inlets and larger lagoons to explore with a kayak or sup board or swim if you prefer.
Check out the private fish pond on the far left of the park. You can see the pond from the parking lot and access is prohibited on the pond or adjoining rock areas. Originally this area had over 14 different active fish ponds that housed mullet and talapia fish.
Walk or bike to the other string of Hilo Beaches heading east all the way to the end at Richardson’s.
Across the street is the Seaside restaurant for terrific seafood meals.
Here’s a cool video tour of Carlsmith beach area and the dazzling water to swim in
Must bring packing and essentials for the beach
You can’t go to the beach without some of these essentials to enjoying your beach time.
Cell phone water proof case – if you want to take some underwater pictures, get one of these easy and cheap water proof cases.
Cooler backpack – the perfect picnic and drinks carrier to the beach or any outdoor fun on the islands.
UFT 50 sun hat for men’s or women’s sizes – essential head protection wear at the beach and a sport look
Other beaches to explore in the area include:
Onekahakaha Beach Park
Keaukaha Beach Park
Wai’olena Beach Park
Kealoha Beach Park
Weather and best time to visit Hilo, Hawaii
Hilo, Hawaii, enjoys a tropical rainforest climate with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round. When considering the best time to visit, it’s essential to understand the distinct seasons and weather patterns:
Winter (November to March): This is Hilo’s wet season when it receives the most rainfall. Expect frequent showers and occasional heavy downpours. Despite the rain, the temperatures remain warm, making it a great time for exploring lush landscapes and experiencing the vibrant greenery.
Spring (April to June): Spring in Hilo offers more stable weather compared to the wetter months. While there may still be occasional rain, you’ll also enjoy plenty of sunshine. This period is excellent for outdoor activities like hiking, waterfalls, and exploring gardens.
Summer (July to September): Hilo’s summer is warm and relatively dry compared to the winter months. July is typically the driest month of the year. It’s an ideal time for beach outings, snorkeling, and enjoying the sun.
Fall (October to early November): Fall sees a transition back to wetter conditions, although it’s not as rainy as the winter months. The weather remains warm, making it a pleasant time for exploring the area.
Hurricane Season (June to November): Hilo is prone to hurricanes during this period. While direct hits are rare, it’s essential to stay informed about weather updates if you plan to visit during hurricane season.
In terms of the best time to visit Hilo, it largely depends on your preferences:
- For Lush Scenery: Visit during the wetter months (winter and fall) when rainfall makes the landscapes incredibly green, and waterfalls are at their fullest.
- For Sunshine: Opt for the drier months (spring and summer) when you’re more likely to experience consistent sunshine for outdoor activities.
- For Whale Watching: If you’re interested in whale watching, plan your trip between December and April when humpback whales migrate to Hawaiian waters.
Keep in mind that Hilo’s weather can be unpredictable due to its rainforest climate, so it’s always a good idea to check the local forecast and be prepared for occasional showers no matter when you visit.
Further reading to visiting Hilo and surrounding areas in East Hawaii
Check out the top things to do in Hilo, Hawaii
Strolling through Lili’uokalani Gardens – a gorgeous Japanese garden that is bay front in Hilo
Explore the best Waterfalls of the Big Island
Enyoy this exciting and unusual Big Island hike to Narnia
Visit to Rainbow Falls, one of the most popular attractions in Hilo and some other fantastic waterfalls to explore.
Explore the cool caves above Hilo at Kaumana Caves State Park
A visit to visit the botanical gardens and lava tree stumps at Lava Tree State Park in Pahoa
Exploring the best of the national park scene at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Have you been to CarlSmith Beach Park?
Please share your thoughts and other recommendations in the comments below with your recommendations.
Conclusion to visiting Carlsmith Beach Park
In conclusion, a visit to Carlsmith Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii, promises a tranquil escape to a tropical paradise. With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life, and serene ambiance, it’s a must-visit destination for those seeking relaxation and natural beauty. Whether you’re snorkeling in the warm tide pools or simply basking in the sun on the pristine shore, Carlsmith Beach Park offers a slice of Hawaiian paradise that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.
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