A couple months ago, our good friends from Pennsylvania came down to visit with their family. We love when our friends come down to visit because not only do we get to see and hang out with them, but we also get to play tourist for a couple of days! One of the activities we did during their stay was head to Waimea Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls on Oahu, Hawaii.
Waimea Falls is located in Waimea Valley on The North Shore in Haleiwa. It’s right across the street from Waimea Beach, one of my favorite beaches on the island! Waimea Valley also offers more than just the falls – it serves as a giant cultural and botanical center, and it’s a great place to spend a few hours to learn about Hawaii and it’s history.
Admission is $16 for adults, and $12 for adult kama’aina (locals) or military. (There are also varying prices for students, children, seniors, etc.) There are paid and non-paid parking options. It’s a bit expensive if you’re just planning on going to the falls, but definitely worth the price if you plan to spend a few hours exploring all the cultural areas included in the park.
At the entrance there is a gift shop, a restaurant known at the peacock – with actual peacocks roaming!, as well as options to take a guided tour or buy supplementary audio guides. There are also options for little golf cart type of shuttles for an additional fee if you don’t want to walk around. (It is a lot of walking, so this is a great option for elderly visitors!)
Once you start your walk throughout the park, you will notice that every single type of plant has it’s scientific name displayed – it’s a botanists dream! The amount of foliage throughout the park is quite beautiful, and you could literally spend a couple hours just admiring nature if you wished. There are so many places to roam that we even lost part of our group for a bit – cell phone reception is terrible in the valley!
Also located throughout the park are cultural stops that teach you about Hawaiian culture. There are representations of old, Hawaiian houses (hale) for example, and there are booths with employees demonstrating traditional Hawaiian crafts and games. It’s very informative!
At the very back end of the valley, after about a 30-45 minute walk, you will reach the beautiful Waimea Falls. The walk is easy and flat – pretty much just a leisurely stroll. Lifeguards are posted with free life jackets at the falls if you would like to swim, and there are seating areas for those that just want to admire the view. It’s quite crowded, but a beautiful waterfall nonetheless!
We had a great time at Waimea Valley – it was actually our first time there, even though we’ve driven by it hundreds of times before! As a local, it’s definitely worth visiting at least once, as the park is exquisite to explore. I wish there was an option to visit just Waimea Falls though, without paying admission for the entire park! It does offer the whole package though and is super informative on Hawaiian culture, so definitely check it out while your on Oahu, Hawaii!
59-864 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712