Waimea and its surroundings are primarily known for the pasture lands, cowboys, and horseback-riding. There are however many more activities that can be enjoyed from the northern Big Island coast.
Nearby Waipiʻo valley for example is one of the most scenic places on the Big Island and offers stunning vistas and many miles of hiking trails to among others a black sand beach. Of course, there are also several options in town that you should not miss when passing through.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
- Activities and attraction that are specific to Waimea. Think of visiting the Parker Ranch, farmers markets, learning how to make a Lei, or visiting the local brewpub.
- The more general outdoor activities that you can enjoy around Waimea
If you are short on time you can also see our personal favorite activities for Waimea.
Activities and Attractions in Waimea
If you like going local as well as good breakfasts, we suggest you go for breakfast at one of Waimea’s Saturday farmers markets for a good start of your day. At night the Big Island Brewhaus serves very tasty homemade beer and is a “must-taste” in Waimea.
Big island Brewhaus (and Mexican food)
The Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea on the Big Island started selling their homemade beers on march 4th 2011. Its owner has won over 30 national and international awards before opening his own place. This place is definitely worth a visit.
Read more about the Big Island Brewhaus.
Private Lei making classes
A Lei is a garland or wreath common in Hawaiʻi, and the process of making and giving one still has strong cultural significance.
Mōhalu Hawaiʻi provides private lei making lessons for those who would love to learn more about Hawaii through the beautiful art of lei. During the class you will learn about the different styles of lei, the many different flowers and foliage that are used, the cultural importance and significance of lei in Hawaiʻi, and much more. All materials needed to create your lei are provided, and of course you get to take your lei with you.
More on the Mōhalu Hawaiʻi website.
Visit the Parker or Anna Ranch to learn about Hawaiian cowboys
The Parker Ranch on the Big Island was once upon a time the largest ranch in the united states. Their history is interwoven with that of the American presence in Hawaii, and nowadays they also organize very interesting horseback riding excursions. Read more about the Parker Ranch in Waimea. Another old Ranch house you can visit is the Anna Ranch (which also hosts a weekly farmers market, see below). They host a “Historic ranch house tour” 4 days / week where you can learn about the history of ranching on Hawaii, which goes as far back as the days of King Kamehamea I.
Go to the Anna Ranch website.
Waimea Farmers Markets
There are several farmers markets in and near Waimea: The largest markets in Waimea are the Waimea Town market, the Waimea Homestead farmers market, and the Waimea mid-week market at the Pukalani stables.
Read more about the Farmers markets in Waimea.
Vanilla, Chocolate, Tea, and Farm Tours + Tastings
Did you know you can visit a working Taro farm down in Waipiʻo Valley? The lush Hamakua coast is home to many exotic farms (vanilla, chocolate, coffee, tea) that offer tours + tastings, but you can also leave a permanent legacy by planting a native tree.
Read more about the Farm Tours near Waimea.
Outdoor Activities in and around Waimea
Waimea can be found at an elevation of nearly 3000 ft. in the north of the Big Island close to some great beaches on the Kohala coast and spectacular hikes in and around Waipiʻo valley. The crisp, clean skies at night also make Waimea a great place to turn your eyes up for stargazing.
You can find below a list of all outdoor activities that are doable in and closely around Waimea.
ATV tours are a fun way to explore the beautiful difficult to access places such as the wild forests and cliffs on the Kohala coast. Close to Waimea there are two tours that take take you on a 10+ mile drive through private lands with stops on the way at scenic points, historic sites, and waterfalls.
Read more about the ATV Tours near Waimea.
The Beaches are one of the main attractions of the Big Island and are great for being lazy, snorkeling, surfing or what not! Some of the best white sand beaches (on the Kohala coast) and black sand beaches (in Waipiʻo and Pololu valley) of the Big Island can be found at a short drive just west of Waimea.
Read more about the Beaches around Waimea.
The Big Island is known as the golf capital of the state, and in Waimea you are in close proximity of almost half of the golf courses on the Big Island.
Read more about Golf courses near Waimea.
Several ranches around Waimea offer the opportunity to explore their (often very large) range as part of a guided tour of the pastures with spectacular views of the coastline and peaks. It is also possible to make it of the range and explore other spectacular parts of the island such as for example Waipiʻo valley.
Learn more about horseback riding on the Big Island.
Luau and Hula Performances
A Luau show is a good way to experience local food and culture, but there are more (and cheaper) ways to do so. Close to Waimea you can find these shows at the resorts on the north Kona coast.
Read about all your options to visit Luau and Hula shows.
Hawaii is one of the world’s best places for stargazing, and Waimea with its clear skies and close proximity to Mauna Kea is a good place to start.
Read more about Stargazing on the Big Island
Scuba diving on Hawaii is a great way to get away from the crowds and enjoy the Big Island underwater paradise on your own. Waimea is close to western Kohala coast which is one of the best places for this kind of adventure.
Read more about Scuba Diving.
Just a short drive to the west you can find some great snorkeling spots and beaches. Warm, clear water, plenty of fish and coral reefs mixed in between the lava rocks make for a stunning snorkel.
Find out more about Snorkeling spots close to Waimea.
Petroglyphs are images carved in stone, and offer a unique view into the history of Hawaii. Some petroglyphs date back to the 16th century – only one century after Columbus first landed on American soil! There are two petroglyph fields west of Waimea: the Waikoloa Petroglyps and the Puako Petroglyph field.
Pololu valley is the most northern of the impressive valleys that are carved into the Kohala volcano at the lush green pastures of the Kohala region on the Big Island. The spectacular views of the valley and the steep cliffs that end in the ocean are worth a trip on their own, but the real thing to do here is hiking to the black sand beach at the valley floor! There also are some pretty cool things to do close to Pololu valley to make your visit into a small road trip.
Read more about visiting Pololu valley.
Waipiʻo valley once upon a time was densely populated and home to old Hawaiian kings . Now however, Waipiʻo valley is mostly lush wilderness interspersed with taro fields and a couple of dozens of inhabitants. The valley is about one mile wide and six miles deep and boasts a gorgeous black sand beach.
Read more about visiting Waipiʻo valley.
The steep cliffs of the northern valleys are home to impressive waterfalls. One of these is part of our list of the 5 most easily accessible, biggest and most popular waterfalls.
Read more about waterfalls on the Big Island.
Ziplining is an activity where you are attached with a harness to a rope that is strung between a high and a low point. The ziplines are built high above scenic areas and features such ravines, jungles, meadows, and forests, and there are plenty of those around Waimea.
The ziplining course nearest to Waimea is in the forests on the Kohala volcano, and can be enjoyed by themselves or as a ʻzip and dip (in a waterfall) combination. Read more about Ziplining near Waimea.