Waimea Valley

Craving land instead of sea? This 1800-acre Hawaiian cultural and nature park, just inland from Waimea Bay, is a sanctuary of tropical tranquility. Amid the jungle-like foliage you’ll find up to 5000 native and exotic plant species. It's a 1.5-mile return walk up to Waimea Falls, where you can go swimming; there's a lifeguard in attendance. Wander the numerous paths alongside Kamananui Stream, checking out the Hawaiian cultural attractions. The valley is home to numerous ancient sites.

Equally interesting are the replicas of ancient Hawaiian dwellings and a restored heiau (temple) dedicated to Lono, the traditional god of fertility and agriculture. Golf-cart shuttles are available to Waimea Falls for $14/10 return/one way.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

2. Waimea Bay Beach Park


It may be a beauty, but it’s certainly a moody one. Waimea Bay changes dramatically with the seasons: it can be tranquil and flat as a lake in summer,…

3. Pupukea Beach Park

1.02 MILES

With deep-blue waters, a varied coastline and a mix of lava and white sand, Pupukea, meaning ‘White Shell,’ is a very scenic stretch. The long beach…

4. ʻEhukai Beach Park

1.87 MILES

The break off the park is known as Banzai Pipeline, Pipeline or just Pipe; it's probably the most famous surf site in the islands. For expert board riders…

5. Laniakea Beach

2.43 MILES

Between the highway's 3- and 4-mile markers, this narrow spit of sand is visited by basking honu (green sea turtles), who migrate here from French Frigate…

6. Sunset Beach Park


Like many beaches on the North Shore, Sunset Beach has a split personality. In winter big swells arrive, along with pro wave riders and the posse of…

7. Haleʻiwa Beach Park

4.11 MILES

On the northern side of the harbor, this park is protected by a shallow shoal and breakwater, so it's usually a good choice for swimming. There’s little…

8. Liliʻuokalani Protestant Church

4.42 MILES

Haleʻiwa’s historic church, first built in 1832, takes its name from Queen Liliʻuokalani, who spent summers on the shores of the Anahulu River and…