Lele‘iwi Beach, just south east of Hilo, is a picturesque collection of natural ponds, inlets, coves and tide pools, and part of the larger Richardson Beach Park. A small black sand beach graces one of the coves, and the rugged shoreline views make for a photographer’s paradise. After a fun day of snorkeling and picnicking, be sure to visit the adjacent Richardson Ocean Center for an interpretive marine experience the whole family will enjoy.
Lele‘iwi was originally the site of an ancient Hawaiian fishing settlement. The home of the Malo family in the late 1800s, the Malos were stricken by typhoid in 1920. Elena Malo, the least ill, walked to the home of George Richardson on Reed’s Bay to seek help. Richardson immediately put her aboard his boat, gathered rest of the Malo family, then brought them all to the hospital in Hilo. Sadly, two of the Malo children died despite all rescue efforts. David Malo, Elena’s husband, offered that Richardson build a home on their property, which he accepted. The Richardson home still stands today, housing the Richardson Ocean Center.
Lele‘iwi Beach Facilities
Paved parking, picnic tables, brick barbecue grills, pavilions, restrooms, and showers make Lele‘iwi very comfortable.
Lele‘iwi Beach Park Swimming Conditions
The shallow water and abundant marine life make Lele‘iwi best beaches in Big Island for snorkeling, swimming, and boogie boarding. There are several safe places for young children to play in the ocean. As with all Hawaiian beaches, check the current conditions and pay heed to all posted signs regarding ocean conditions and safety.
How to Get There
From Hilo, take Highway 11 south to Highway 130 (Kalanianaole Ave.) Continue on 130 and turn left when you see the sign for Richardson Beach Park. Lele‘iwi is on the south side of the beach park. Enjoy one of our favorite beaches on Hawai’i’s Big Island!