Waimea Valley Travel Guide
Some people come to Oahu for the beaches. Some come for the hikes or waterfalls. Others just want to experience the colorful tropical vegetation. Whatever you came to Hawaii for, Waimea Valley has something unforgettable to offer.
Waimea Valley’s falls, hike, botanical garden, and nearby beach are some of the island’s most phenomenal attractions. If you’re coming to Oahu, be sure to stop by Waimea Valley, and you’ll quickly come to understand why this region was sacred to ancient Hawaiians.
Direction, Costs, Hours & Weather
Travis.Thurston, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
To find Waimea Valley, you’ll either travel northwest along King Kamehameha Highway 83 out of Haleiwa or, from the direction of Turtle Bay and Pupukea, travel southeast along Highway 83. Turn onto Waimea Valley Road and follow it until you arrive at the valley entrance.
Address: Waimea Valley Road, Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712
Entrance fees: $20 for adults, $12 for children under 12
Hours: Seven days a week 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
If you’re on our Shaka Guide Circle Island Driving tour, we’ll guide you to Waimea Valley!
Weather: Most areas of Hawaii only receive two noticeable seasons. There is a wet winter from November to March when temperatures drop a bit and a warmer, drier summer from April to October.
Temperatures at Waimea Valley do fluctuate slightly more than other regions on the island. In the winter, highs can get down to the upper 70s, while summer highs can reach the lower 90s. Precipitation is also less predictable in this region with summer months sometimes receiving 16 days of rain. Park officials recommend bringing a raincoat.
Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and Hike
The botanical gardens are the valley’s central attraction. Viewing them takes you along a short but magnificent hike through 41 different curated gardens featuring 5,000 tropical species of plants, many of which are native to Hawaii or endangered.
Over 90% of native Hawaiian plant life is endemic, meaning it is found nowhere else on earth, so the botanical gardens also function as a crucial conservation project. In the gardens, you’ll find rare Hawaiian flora such as specimens from the beautiful Hawaiian hibiscus.
The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip, with several short detours through optional exhibits. It is paved and rated very easy. The hike also features intriguing ancient cultural sites, some of which were constructed as long ago as 1470 CE.
Please be respectful of these sites, as they are not just historical landmarks. Several are still used by those practicing Hawaiian traditions today.
Waimea Valley Waterfall
Waterfalls at Waimea Valley | shanstap, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
At the turn around point of the hike, you’ll be greeted by a beautiful 45-foot waterfall. Depending on conditions, you may be allowed to swim in the pool below the falls. Lifejackets are required for swimming and are provided by park staff. To check the swimming status, call (808) 638-7766.
Waimea Valley Luau
If you’re interested in attending a luau, Waimea Valley hosts an excellent event. If you pay for the luau, you are also granted entrance to the valley and botanical garden for the day of your luau. The luau costs between $100 and $165 for adult depending on what package you choose. Prices for children are about $15-20 less. You can read more about the luau here in our Oahu Luau blog post.
Waimea Bay and Rock | Travisthurston, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
While you're in the area, head across the street to Waimea Bay. This white-sand beach is a popular spot for surfing and cliff jumping. Waimea Valley hosts paid parking for Waimea Bay Beach Park, even if you don’t plan on visiting the gardens or falls. Waimea Bay is a beautiful destination that receives huge swells during the winter. These swells are sometimes large enough to host the famed Eddie Aikau Big Wave surf competition.
Waimea Valley is one of the many exciting spots Oahu's North Shore has to explore. Perfect for a day out with the family, you'll get to hike, see unique flora and swim beneath a waterfall!
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