Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Waimanalo, HI

  • Published 2023/04/10

Perched on the eastern side of the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is the small windward community of Waimanalo.

This census-designated place is part of Honolulu County.

It boasts pristine, powdery soft white sand, gorgeous turquoise blue waters, towering ironwood trees, and plant nurseries and farms.

Visitors often bypass this place for its larger neighbors, but once you discover its hidden gems, you’ll want to spend more time here.

Enjoy exciting activities like swimming, surfing, bodyboarding, kayaking, hiking, biking, picnicking, viewing wildlife, and playing beach games.

The place also rewards you with magnificent panoramic views, perfect for photography.

Are you interested to know more about this stunning tropical paradise?

Here are the best things to do in Waimanalo, Hawaii:

Camp Out at Bellows Field Beach Park

The waters of Bellows Field Beach Park – Yuri A /

If you’re searching for a more private and peaceful place to relax during your vacation, go to Bellows Field Beach Park, or Bellows Beach.

The oceanfront park sits on a lovely stretch of windward beach in Waimanalo, with stunning views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

A popular spot among campers, the park has 50 great tree-shaded campsites available for overnight rental with camping permits.

You can check out the Honolulu Camping website for availability and reservation if you want to camp here.

Dunes of Bellows Field Beach Park – Yuri A /

If the ocean conditions are good and the weather permits, you may get in the water and enjoy activities like bodysurfing, bodyboarding, swimming, kayaking, and fishing.

With plenty of green spaces available, you can also set up a picnic and soak up the beauty of this hidden gem.

With its vast white sand beach, crystal clear turquoise blue waters, and beautiful amenities, this place is a treasure among locals and tourists alike.

Bellows Field Beach Park is also part of an active military training area, and you may also find marine life like Portuguese man o’war and pupu pani mollusks.

Aerial view of Bellows Field Beach Park

Danita Delimont /

Play Golf at Olomana Golf Links

Play golf with your pals at Olomana Golf Links along Kalanianaole Highway.

Architect Bob Baldock designed this links-style, 18-hole, par 72 golf course, which opened in the late 1960s.

The front nine has finely manicured fairways with water hazards, while the back nine winds through a vast wooded forest with irregular rolling hills and abundant trees and wildlife.

Besides offering a challenging game, players will enjoy the country-like atmosphere and the striking views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range and Olomana Peak.

There’s also a driving range where you can practice your swing and a beer garden to drink while listening to music.

Olomana Golf Links has a clubhouse, pro shop, bar, grill-type restaurant, and banquet rooms.

Notable persons who spent their time here are former President Obama and Michelle Wie, who frequently practiced here before turning pro.

Soak up the Sun at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park

Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is a lengthy stretch of powdery soft white sand with native ironwood trees flanking the beach, providing shade and scenery.

It has ten campsites available for overnight rental with camping permits, and you can check their availability and reserve the same by visiting the Honolulu Camping website.

Other amenities include ample public parking, showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and a water drinking fountain, and lifeguards are also on duty throughout the year.

Enjoy swimming, surfing, bodyboarding, and paddling at Waimanalo Beach, as Waimanalo Bay’s turquoise blue waters are relatively calm during the summer.

Likewise, enjoy long beach walks, picnics, relaxing under the sun, and the stunning views of Waimanalo Bay, mountains, distant islets, far-off Makapu’u Point cliffs, and the Pacific Ocean.

Although it can get more crowded in the summer months, you can still secure a spot with your family because of its vast beach.

With all it offers, Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is a paradise worth visiting.

Hike the Maunawili Ditch Trail

The Maunawili Ditch Trail is another fantastic attraction to explore in Waimanalo, especially if you love the great outdoors.

This 2.5-mile out-and-back trail is ideal for beginner-level hikers because it’s a relatively easy hike leading through the woods.

It parallels the old Kailua Ditch, built in the 1920s to carry water from Kawainui Swamp to Waimanalo Sugar Company’s canefields.

The trail offers breathtaking views of Waimanalo, Oahu’s windward side, and other stunning backdrops for perfect outdoor photos.

Besides hiking, the Maunawili Ditch Trail is famous for mountain biking and horseback riding, so you’ll likely encounter other people during your exploration.

You may also take your dogs with you, but they must be on a leash.

Shop at Shima’s Supermarket

Interior of Shima's Supermarket

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

Stop by Shima’s Supermarket, a small neighborhood store operated by Times Supermarkets.

You can easily find this shop because it is conveniently located on Kalanianaole Highway.

This Waimanalo’s favorite grocery store offers quality local produce, meats, seafood, liquor, and general grocery items at low prices.

Shima’s Supermarket is also best known for its fantastic selection of fresh poke that you can enjoy on a picnic at a beach nearby.

These include smoked marlin poke, furikake salmon poke, and kamaboko poke, but you can also ask its friendly staff behind the counter for their recommendations.

Visit Shima’s Supermarket to shop for the things you need before or after going to other Waimanalo destinations.

Explore Hawaiian Cuisine at Hawaiian Island Cafe

Go to Hawaiian Island Cafe on Kalanianaole Highway for outstanding authentic Hawaiian cuisine.

This restaurant is a favorite for locals to hang out with friends while enjoying a hearty meal in a calm environment with homey decor.

Their exciting menu features delicious acai bowls, breakfast, sandwiches, gourmet pizza, salads, smoothies, frappe, and espresso drinks.

When you visit, try choco lava waffle, Mauna Kea waffle, turkey kale pesto creamy, or specials like loco moco corned beef hash, loco moco hamburger, and kalua pork.

Whether you visit for breakfast, lunch, or after a day at the beach, get a fill of Hawaiian Island Cafe’s menu, and you’ll return for more.

Grab Your Favorite Fruit at Frankie’s Nursery

One of the best nurseries in Oahu is Frankie’s Nursery on Mahiku Place in Waimanalo.

The nursery is known for its variety of exotic tropical fruit trees and outdoor flowering plants, some of which are rare.

While they don’t offer farm tours, you can explore the nursery grounds and buy your favorite tropical and subtropical fruits.

The fruit trees on its extensive list include honey cream pineapple, miracle berry, chempedak, Philippine coconut, Kaimana lychee, jackfruit, Papua New Guinea longan, and many more.

Note, though, that fruits for sale at Frankie’s Nursery vary depending on the season.

Have some from a selection of delicious homemade tropical juice to make your day brighter.

Meanwhile, its ornamentals include Thai Gardenia, Flame of Jamaica, Hybrid Hibiscus, Tropical Lilac, and more.

Spend a Relaxing Afternoon at Waimanalo District Park

The grounds of Waimanalo District Park

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

Waimanalo District Park is a large, clean, peaceful park on Hihimanu Street.

There are basketball, pickleball, and tennis courts where you can practice, break a sweat, play for fun, and have a great time with friends.

It boasts plenty of green space perfect for flying kites, playing Frisbee, and having picnics.

You can also sit, relax, and watch baseball, softball, or soccer games.

Take the kids to the playground and enjoy the morning or afternoon breeze and the beautiful mountain, sky, and beach views.

Waimanalo District Park also has restroom facilities and a huge gym, a hub for community events.

Hang Out with Family and Friends at Ohana Karaoke Grill and Bar

Check out Ohana Karaoke Grill and Bar along Kalanianaole Highway for delicious homemade recipes and live entertainment.

“Ohana” means “family,” and visiting this fun and welcoming place will make you feel like you’re a family to them.

The lunch and dinner menu offers terrific Korean food, from bulgogi and bibimbap to spicy ramen and kimchi soup, and Hawaiian food like saimin, poke bowl, and oxtail soup.

You can also try their pupu or appetizer items like French fries, Jalapeño poppers, cheesesteaks, ahi belly, and fried noodles.

If you’re not hungry, enjoy alcoholic beverages at their full bar and sing your favorite songs with friends.

Otherwise, you can enjoy playing with their pool tables or dart boards.

Ohana Karaoke Grill and Bar is ideal if you’re searching for a spot with live music and a traditional Hawaiian vibe.

Delight in Sweet Treats at Dave’s Ice Cream

Stop by Dave’s Hawaiian Ice Cream, the perfect place to cool down and grab a sweet treat.

It has served Hawaii’s families and visitors for over 30 years, with various locations, including one in Waimanalo along Kalanianaole Highway.

This ice cream shop is the ultimate destination if you’re searching for the best freshly made frozen treats.

At Dave’s Hawaiian Ice Cream, you can indulge in unique flavors that satisfy your sweet tooth and make you smile.

They have over 50 delicious ice cream and sherbet flavors, including Poha Berry, macadamia, green tea, chocolate chip mochi, ube, Kona coffee, lychee, mango, and rainbow.

If you’re in the mood for some award-winning ice cream, head to this specialty shop with your kids, family, friends, or special someone.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Get Up Close with Marine Animals at Sea Life Park

Seals at Sea Life Park

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

A seven-minute drive away from Waimanalo will take you to Sea Life Park in Waimanalo Beach, Hawaii.

With more than 2,000 marine animals in their natural habitats, the family-friendly marine park is a perfect attraction for kids and those fascinated by sea creatures.

Check out the exhibits and facilities like Dolphin Lagoon on Oahu Island, Penguin Habitat on Oahu, Hawaiian Reef Lagoon, and Sea Bird Sanctuary.

Some of the animals you will see on your exploration are a variety of fish, reef sharks, sea turtles, penguins, dolphins, and wild marine birds.

The grounds of Sea Life Park

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

The marine park offers educational and fun opportunities for visitors to interact directly with the animals through many incredible shows, talks, activities, and other events.

You can also dine at one of the restaurants in the park in case you feel hungry.

Whether you want to swim with dolphins, observe adorable animals from a safe distance, or learn more about marine creatures, Sea Life Park has got you covered.

Dolphins at Sea Life Park

Sbraden92, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a Fun Day at Waimanalo Country Farms

Daytime view of Waimanalo Country Farms

Mikela Bond /

Waimanalo Country Farms is one of the most popular attractions in Oahu that you shouldn’t miss visiting.

It was formerly known as Golden Melon Farm and has operated since 1948.

You’ll enjoy its famous Fall Harvest Festival with fantastic events, including a pumpkin patch, petting farm animals, and a hayride.

The country market and grub stand features freshly squeezed lemonade, super sweet corn, farm-fresh honey, handmade wooden coasters, handmade soaps, decorative pumpkins, lovely sunflowers, apparel, and more.

Sunflowers at Waimanalo Country Farms

Mikela Bond /

Visit the gorgeous sunflower fields that offer beautiful Instagram-worthy photo ops.

Whether you’re a kid or an adult, the farm has something fun to offer you and your family.

You can find Waimanalo Country Farms on Lupe Street in Waimanalo Beach, just a six-minute drive from Waimanalo.

Close view of a sunflower at Waimanalo Country Farms

Louise Rico /

Go Snorkeling at Kaiona Beach Park

Canoes at Kaiona Beach Park

Bill Morson /

Do you love snorkeling?

If so, the perfect place is Kaiona Beach Park in Waimanalo Beach, a six-minute drive from Waimanalo.

You will also enjoy walking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and watching Hawaiian marine life, including many fish and sea turtles.

This spot also boasts majestic views of the Pacific Ocean, and you can’t help but admire the place and enjoy taking photos.

The beach is narrow in some sections, but it’s long and has picnic tables, plenty of shade trees, and space for family picnics and playing Frisbee.

Its soft white sand, calm and shallow turquoise blue waters, picture-perfect views, and fun activities make Kaiona Beach Park a popular, ideal setting among local families.

Enjoy the View at Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail

Exterior of Makapu'u Point Lighthouse

Cucumber Key Photography /

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is only 11 minutes away from Waimanalo and is one of Oahu’s most popular hiking areas.

The paved trail starts at the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse trailhead and ends near the eponymous historic red-roofed lighthouse, which is off-limits to visitors.

Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Oahu coastline, offshore islets, and Makapu’u Lighthouse.

Trail leading to the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse

E.J.Johnson Photography /

On clear days, you can also spot the Lanai and Molokai islands.

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is also ideal for watching whales and seabirds during the season.

It’s usually sunny and hot here, so don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, plenty of water, and a camera to photograph the stunning panoramic vista.

People along the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail

Steve Heap /

Grab a Meal at Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack

Exterior of Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack, or Ono Steaks, is an excellent restaurant serving Hawaiian cuisine.

Their menu features delicious seafood, burgers, sandwiches, sides, salads, and Saimin hot noodle soup.

Order exceptional local specialties like loco moco, kalbi, teriyaki chicken, garlic shrimp, smoked meat, and fresh ono with papaya-mango salsa.

Facade of Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack

Eric Broder Van Dyke /

This brightly yellow-colored dining spot has indoor and outdoor seating options and friendly staff that gives good service.

Swing by this restaurant with your whole family and enjoy a bite to eat at a reasonable price.

Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack are conveniently located on Wailea Street near Kalanianaole Highway in Waimanalo Beach, just four minutes from Waimanalo.

Final Thoughts

If you’re seeking a spectacular place to unwind, explore, and enjoy the great outdoors, head to Waimanalo, Hawaii.

It is an ideal getaway from the busy city as it holds many incredible things to see and do to keep you entertained.

What are you waiting for?

Plan your trip and discover the best things to do in Waimanalo, Hawaii!

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