Carlsmith & James Kealoha Beach Parks: Hilo’s Four Mile Beach

four mile
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > Carlsmith & James Kealoha Beach Parks: Hilo’s Four Mile Beach

One of my favorite areas to visit in Hilo is Four Mile Beach. This stretch of shoreline includes Carlsmith and James Kealoha Beach Parks – two places that are great for all kinds of watersports. Let’s explore more about this beautiful Big Island Locale. 

Little Sand, Plenty of Fun

Four Mile Beach on the Big Island is one of the best spots for Hawaii tide pools. Pockets of fresh lava rock form natural pools big enough to do a couple of laps. 

It’s a unique Hawaiian “beach” that goes against the popular image of an ideal white sandy one, which is often what tempts visitors to our islands.

The “beach” is actually a bed of lava rock and saltwater pools, but it’s still simply gorgeous on any tropical Hawaiian day.

Carlsmith Beach Park Four Mile Beach

Things to Do at Four Mile Beach

Families with children enjoy this beach because its natural barriers protect it from outside ocean waves, creating a calm swimming environment. 

The pools don’t get deeper than four feet and have sand-covered floors that are nice on the feet. 

Beachgoers also enjoy snorkeling, fishing, and spearfishing. But what I got a kick out of was the sunbathers. They laid out as if they were on a soft, sandy beach and seemed unfazed by the hard rock surface beneath them.

After dunking into one of the pools (which had a ladder added to it for easier access), I understood why the sunbathers were unaffected by the heated lava rocks. 

A mix of saltwater and natural spring waters makes the tide pool waters feel below freezing. I quickly jumped out and threw myself onto the closest flat, warm rock I could find, defrosting in seconds.

Two Hawaii Beaches: One “Four Mile” Destination

James Kealoha Beach Park and Carlsmith Beach Park are neighbors, located on Kalanianaole Street near the Hilo Airport. Together, they make up the area called “Four Mile” beach. 

Four Mile got its name from being exactly four miles from the Hilo Post Office. You may think that sending a letter and then going for a snorkel must be a popular activity here. 

But really, the post office is significant to the historic Hilo town, as one of the oldest structures still around today.

Like Four Mile, most Big Island beaches include lava rock and sand because of the active volcanoes found there. But Four Mile is my favorite because it never seems crowded. The vast open space gives everyone enough privacy to enjoy one of Hawaii’s natural gems.

Both James Kealoha Beach and Carlsmith Beach have lots of parking, picnic areas, restrooms, and showers.