Discover the Beauty of Waimea Falls on the North Shore: A Must-Visit Destination for Nature Enthusiasts and swim to the falls (2023)

Waimea Falls in the north shore of Oahu is a fantastic place to enjoy a waterfall visit that is also family friendly and a relatively easy hike the falls and swim. Located in the Waimea Valley botanical garden and across Waimea beach, it’s a perfect additional spot to visit before or after you do some fun beach time.

Waimea Falls is one of the most family friendly waterfall and swimming areas that is also supervised with a lifeguard and lifejackets are required to swim in the pond area. Part of a non profit organization that benefits the community and cultural awareness and education, a visit to Waimea Falls and the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden is a fun opportunity to learn and enjoy this historic and fun destination.

Visit Waimea Falls – family friendly, safe and swimmable.

A visit to Waimea Falls on the North Shore of Oahu and waimea falls hike
HIke to Waimea falls hike and Waimea fall

Where is Waimea falls Oahu located?

Waimea Falls Oahu is located on the North Shore of the island at the Waimea Valley arboretum and botanical garden. This is approximately 34.4 miles from Honolulu, and you get there by driving on the H1 to H2 highway to the North Shore past Haleiwa town. From there you take the coastal road to Waimea Valley located on the right-hand side facing Waimea Beach area.

Waimea fall is located deep in the canyon and a nice easy trail on the Waimea falls hike. Those with mobility issues can take a paid shuttle direct to the falls and swimming pond if you do not want to do the hike.

Where is Waimea falls located?

Can you swim at Waimea falls?

Yes, you can actually swim at Waimea Fall, everyone is required to wear a life vest (available free on site) along with a lifeguard that is on duty at the falls. You can try out the various life vests for size and required to have them strapped in when you enter the swimming area.

The pond is a nice size and deep in the center but shallow on the edges and it is a safe area to swim and enjoy the waterfalls, view and nature.

There is a lifeguard at the location that will watch and supervise the swimming activities at the swimming area making your swim to Waimea waterfall safe and easy with family in tow.

Can you swim at Waimea falls?

Waimea falls hike details

The Waimea Valley trail is very easy and a family friendly experience.

Access to the Waimea waterfalls in the botanical garden is mostly on paved and a short a graveled path that is easy with a slight incline the closer you get to the waterfalls area. The hike is only .75 miles takes less than forty minutes to get to the lookout point area and entrance to the waterfall checking and life jacket station.

Along the way on the Waimea falls hike you can visit the botanical gardens which are set up into separate garden rooms and there is also a fantastic replica of a typical ancient Hawaiian style village made with indigenous materials for the homes and various buildings on the site with signage to explain what you are visiting on site.

The Waimea falls hike is easy to do with family or children but if you do need help getting there and back there are shuttles you can take for a nominal fee.

How far is the hike to Waimea Falls?

What is included in visiting the gardens and Waimea falls?

The Waimea waterfall is part of the non-profit Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Entrance to Waimea Valley botanical gardens includes access to the grounds with various garden rooms and reproductions of a typical village with buildings, artifacts and other structures that were used by Early Hawaiian people living in the area. You can sign up for a docent tour or do your own tour and follow a brochure and map to explore the various gardens and simulated villages that were typically built in the area. The collection of plants is substantial with large native plants and international plant species collected from around the world.

Note – entrance is free to the gardens and waterfall area with a purchase of the Luau ticket and experience at Waimea Valley. Check for more details on their website here for more information if the Luau experience is currently happening during your visit.

Here’s a video tour experience to Waimea Valley below

Details to entrance and fees

As of March 2023, here is a breakdown of the general admission costs. For the most up-to-date pricing information, please visit the official Waimea Valley website here.

Please note that the following breakdown applies to general admission for non-residents. If you are a Hawaii resident and/or part of the military, be sure to visit the Waimea Valley website for specific admission fees.

  • Adults: $25.00
  • Seniors: $18.00 (Age 62+)
  • Students: $18.00 (With a valid student ID)
  • Children: $14.00 (Ages 4-12)
  • Group Rate: $18.00 per person (For groups of 10 or more)”

What is included in visiting the gardens and falls?

Enjoy Toa Luau at Waimea Valley and visit Waimea falls for free

There is a Luau experience located right at the botanical garden grounds called Toa Luau.

If you book the Luau experience at Waimea Valley, your entrance to the botanical gardens and swim at Waimea falls is actually free either before your swim experience or in the afternoon for the early luau day experience.

The Luau experience is held on the grounds and they offer a day time or night time Luau experience here.

You can find out more information about the the Luau experience here for more information and making a reservation for the day or night Luau.

Check out the the highlights in this video of the luau below

Day adventure tour with visit to Waimea Falls

If you want to do a tour package around the island and a visit to Waimea falls, check out this circle island tour here for more information.

Weather and best time to visit Waimea Falls

The weather at Waimea Falls is typically warm and pleasant throughout the year, thanks to the tropical climate of the region. However, it’s important to note that rainfall is a common occurrence, adding to the vibrant beauty of the surroundings. The wettest months are usually from November to March, while the drier period falls between May and September.

To make the most of your visit, it’s advisable to plan your trip during the drier months. The sunny and relatively dry weather during this period creates ideal conditions for exploring the falls and its surroundings. You’ll have a higher chance of enjoying clear skies, comfortable temperatures, and less chance of rainfall, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural wonders of Waimea Falls.

Additionally, it’s worth considering visiting Waimea Falls during weekdays or early mornings to avoid larger crowds. This way, you can fully embrace the tranquility and serenity of the place, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of the picturesque landscape without distraction.

Remember to check the local weather forecasts before your visit, as conditions may vary. It’s also advisable to bring appropriate clothing and footwear for outdoor activities, as well as some rain gear, just in case the weather surprises you.

Other tips to visiting Waimea Falls

The hike to Waimea falls is just on a slight incline and mostly paved with a gravel path leading to the waterfall area

Bring sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun

The pond is mostly rocky bottom so wear waterproof shoes if you plan on swimming and exploring the waterfalls

Jumping off the rocks is not allowed at the waterfalls

There are lots of resting areas and shady and grassy areas before the waterfalls if you want to take a break and picnic

Waimea Beach Park is directly across the main road if you want to also enjoy some beach time.

There are food truck vendors that are typically on the main road if you want to purchase any local style food.

Kawela Bay

Things to do close to Waimea Valley at the North Shore

There’s plenty of fun activities and places to explore around the North Shore – here are our favorites below.

Visit Waimea Bay

Visit Waimea Bay

Located just across the highway is one of the most popular public beaches on the North Shore at Waimea Bay. With full facilities including parking, shower and bathrooms, lifeguards and picnic areas this beach park has it all and is very busy from morning until late afternoon. You can easily do Waimea Bay and falls in one day, probably do the beach first since parking tends to fill up quickly during the day.

Check out our post here on visiting Waimea Bay here for more information and images.

Check out the Bonzai Pipeline

Check out the Bonzai Pipeline

One of the most iconic surfing sports of the North Shore which is active and supercharged during the winter season when the winter swells bring up these incredible waves. You can easily visit and enjoy all the fun wave action during the winter swells or even the main surfing competition that draws the best surfers from around the world.

Check out this post on visiting the Bonzai Pipeline here for more information and images.

laniakeal beach

Laniakea Beach Park – Turtle Beach

One of the most popular tourist attractions is Laniakea or Turtle beach, the spot to visit the green sea turtles or honu that congregate here. They love the remote and seaweed that is accessible and the beach area that actually is tourist friendly for swimming.

You can check out this post on visiting Laniakea here for more details and images to seeing this area.

A brief history of Haleiwa hawaii

Check out Haleiwa town

If you love to explore, shop and just hang out Haleiwa town is fun to do just that. Grab a shave ice, check out the art galleries or surf shops or find a fun place to hang out or bite to eat at the food truck court and you’ll be vibing just like the locals.

Check out our post on visiting Haleiwa town here for more inspiration and pictures.

Pin and save this for later

Visit Waimea Falls (family friendly, safe and you can actually swim here)
Visit Waimea Falls (family friendly, safe and you can actually swim here)
Visit Waimea Falls (family friendly, safe and you can actually swim here)

Check out these other places to visit on Oahu

Visit the North Shore of Oahu and places to explore

Visit to Haleiwa on the North Shore

Explore and hike Waimea Valley

Enjoy a day on the beach at Waimea Bay

Free or cheap things to do in Oahu

A Diamond Head Hike in Honolulu

Family friendly beaches in Oahu

Top things to do in Honolulu

Top things to do in Waikiki now

Horseback Riding in Hawaii

Conclusion to visiting Waimea Falls in Oahu

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.