Your Guide to Visiting the Dole Plantation
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The Dole Food Company was founded in Hawaii in 1901, and eventually became one of Hawaii's biggest corporations. At one time, Dole owned the entire island of Lanai near Maui - and used it as a pineapple farm!
Most of Dole’s pineapples are grown in other countries today, but some are still grown at the plantation, which now doubles as a tourist attraction. It’s also home to a picturesque train ride through the pineapple fields, and the world's largest outdoor maze! Be warned, though - if you go in, you might not make it out before nightfall... just kidding! Oh, and don’t forget to try the Dole Whip ice cream, if you want a snack.
What You Need To Know Before Visiting The Dole Plantation
Before you make your way over to the Dole Plantation, you’ll want to read up on some essential information such as hours, costs, parking, directions, etc. Conveniently, we’ve pulled all of that information for you right here!
Amy Meredith, CC BY ND 2.0, via Flickr
Dole Plantation Hours
The Dole Plantation is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except Christmas Day. Dole Plantation tours and activities close thirty minutes earlier at 5:00.
Fees and Costs
Entrance into the Dole Plantation visitor’s center is free. However, there are several paid tours and activities you’ll probably want to take advantage of. You can book tours online here until 7:00 a.m. the day of or buy tickets at the plantation kiosk when you arrive.
Below are entrance fees for the various activities the Dole Plantation has to offer:
- All Activities Combo: $25 for adults, $23 for residents/military, $21 for children
- Pineapple Maze: $8.25 for adults, $7.25 for residents/military, $6.25 for children
- Plantation Garden Tour: $7.25 for adults, $6.75 for residents/military, $6.50 for children
- Plantation Train Tour: $12 for adults, $11.25 for residents/military, $10 for children
If you choose to stop of the visitors center and skip the paid attractions, there are loads of pineapple flavored treats for you to buy. And don't forget about the Instagram-famous Dole Whip! You can pick one up right in the visitor's center for $5.95. Here, you can also watch a pineapple cutting demonstrations (it's actually really interesting) for free!
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Directions and Parking
The Dole Plantation is accessed via HI-99. Coming from Honolulu, you’ll probably want to take the H2 north to HI-80 and then get on HI-99 from there.
If you are coming from the north, take HI-83 out of Haleiwa. HI-83 becomes HI-99. You’ll arrive in roughly ten minutes -- maybe longer depending on exactly how slow island time is moving that day.
Parking is free and there is usually no trouble finding a spot.
To make things easier…
You can take Shaka Guide's Legendary North Shore Loop or Oahu Grand Circle Island Tour, both of these excursions stop at the Dole Plantation and will give you turn-by-turn directions to this sweet spot. Plus, the tour provides useful facts about the Dole Plantation and surrounding area along the way!
What to Bring
You won't need much for your trip to the Dole Plantation, but here are some things you should pack:
- Water (you can always buy there if you forget)
- Sunscreen - most activities are outside
- Comfortable walking shoes - most activities are done by foot
Enjoy some fresh pineapple when you’re visiting the Dole Plantation / Phoenix Han / Unsplash
There are concession stands, gifts for sale, and fresh pineapple -- bring some extra cash (they accept credit too) if those sound like something you are interested in. You have to try Dole Whip at least once!
What to Expect: Dole Plantation Tours
Everything You Need to Know about the Garden Tour
There are eight themed stops along the Dole Plantation's garden tour. Each mini-garden is a uniquely coordinated experience such as the “Life on the Plantation” garden, the “Native Species Garden”, and “North Shore” garden.
What else does the tour offer?
If you’re able to take a tour during the spring blooming months, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful and fragrant lei flower blooms.
The walking tour takes about an hour to complete.
Everything You Need to Know About the Train Tour
The Pineapple Express is the Dole Plantation’s specially constructed train tour. It takes about twenty minutes to complete (however there's usually a line to ride it), so if you are short on time this might be your best bet.
In addition to learning about the plantation's history, this tour offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and scenery.
You can get a Garden Tour and Train Tour combination here for $15.75 for adults or $12.25 for children.
Everything You Need to Know about the Dole Plantation Maze
In 2008, the Dole Plantation's Pineapple Garden Maze was named the world's largest maze. It features over three miles of paths, stretches two acres of land and takes an average of 40 minutes to complete.
You can take as long as you want on the maze, as long as you don’t start just before activities close.
There are no accessibility concerns other than the obvious of needing to walk several miles. The maze is not paved, but it is considered accessible by scooter or powered wheelchair.
The cost to enter is between six and eight dollars depending on your age and residency.
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FAQs and Tips
What is the best time of year to visit the Dole Plantation?
The plantation is lovely all year long, but we would highly recommend visiting during the spring blooming months.
How much time should I plan to spend at the Dole Plantation?
If you intend to do all the activities -- the maze, garden tour, and train ride -- expect to spend about 4 hours at the Dole Plantation. This includes some time to enjoy a Dole Whip (more on that below). You can obviously adapt based on your time constraints. If you're in a rush, our recommendation is to just do the train ride, you'll learn history and overall with waiting on line and shopping for goodies in the gift shop should take about an hour.
Do you have any money saving tips?
Of course! Local penny savers and coupon books often have deals for various tour combinations so be sure to grab any of those you see lying around informational pamphlet kiosks. Residents of Hawaii and active duty military members can also get several dollars off. You can also opt to have a Shaka Guide tour ($11.99) take you to the plantation, versus a large bus tour.
The adjacent Helemano Plantation has cheaper food than Dole and can be walked to without having to move your car.
What the heck is Dole Whip?!
Delicious, that’s what. It’s also a dairy-free frozen pineapple dessert with a consistency much like frozen yogurt. Get it in a cup, cone, with chunks of fresh pineapple or as a float with pineapple juice.
Are you really living if you haven’t tried Dole Whip? / Tony Webster , CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Recapping the Dole Plantation Highlights
Now that the seed is planted, the Dole Plantation tours are probably starting to sound pretty cool, right? Before you leave, lets review.
You’ll want to take plenty of water and sunscreen-up. If you’re going to the plantation, you’ll be spending lots, and no one wants to be dehydrated and sunburned on vacation.
The plantation has three main attractions: the walking Garden Tour, the Train Tour, and the Pineapple Maze. You can get access to all three for about twenty bucks per person. Each takes between 20 minutes and an hour to complete.
And Don’t Forget...
Shaka Guide has TWO tours that visit the Dole Plantation. Check out our Legendary North Shore Loop if you want to visit in the morning or our Oahu Grand Circle Island Tour if you plan to visit in the afternoon.
This article was originally published April 29, 2019. It has since been updated.