Waimea is known for its rolling hills, crisp nights and beautiful clear skies, close proximity to the impressive Waipi’o Valley and of course the beautiful white sand beaches on the north Kona and Kohala coast.
If you are spending the night in one of the charming bed and breakfasts in Waimea, you should definitely take your car and drive a little bit out of town to look for a dark spot and go stargazing. Even better, drive up to the Onizuka visitor center halfway up Mauna Kea to join their free stargazing program (4 nights / week).
Hiking and horseback riding
The scenery around Waimea is stunning, and great for hikes and you will find many horseback riding opportunities here. If you drive your car a bit further you can see the unmissable Waipio valley (you need a 4WD car to drive down into the valley) or the almost as beautiful but more easily accessible Pololu valley.
If you are into horseback riding, we can also recommend a visit to the Parker ranch and the Anna ranch heritage center. In both places you can learn a lot about the history of ranching and the Hawaiian cowboy (pianolo).
Magnificent white sand beaches and Whale Watching
The white sand beaches at the north Kona and Kohala coast are only a short 20 minute drive from Waimea. The easiest to reach beaches most popular beaches here are Mauna Kea beach, Hapuna beach, and Waialea beach (beach 69). See our big list of beaches for all beaches close to Waimea.
Whale watching (December – March)
The northern tip of the Big Island is the best place to see whales from the shore. The 3 best places to do so are all very close to Waimea:
- Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site (11 miles / 17 minutes by car)
- Lapakahi State Historical Park (22 miles / 29 minutes by car)
- Kapa’a Beach Park (25 miles / 34 minutes by car)
Read more about spotting whales from the shore (DIY guide).
Eating and drinking in Waimea
Once back in Waimea, one must-visit for home made tasty beers and Mexican food is the local brewery and Mexican restaurant the Big Island brewhaus.