Things to Do

11 Best Things To Do In Waimea Big Island

A couple enjoying horseback riding at Na'alapa Stables with a beautiful sunset view
Source : facebook

Things to do in Waimea Big Island include 1. Hunting at Parker Ranch Headquarters, 2. Strolling through the Kuhio Hale Farmers Market and much more.

Waimea is widely known for its cowboy culture and offers thrilling activities such as rodeos and horseback riding. Visitors can experience various aspects of the ranching lifestyle.

Waimea has famously earned its moniker as paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) country. This historic place is full of rolling green pastures and serves as a home to cattle, cowboys and ranches.

In this article, we have listed some activities that you should definitely try during your visit to Waimea.

1. A Guided Hunting Tour At Parker Ranch Headquarters

Parker Ranch Headquarters is a cattle ranch in the Big Island run by a charitable trust. The historical ranch carries on the tradition of cattle ranching business and rodeo competitions.

The Ranch covers a massive area of around 130,000 acres. The terrains vary in most parts and stretch from the ocean to an elevation of 8,000 feet on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

The ranch was founded by John Palmer Parker in 1847. This place has a rich history spanning 175 years. They are currently working with the Paniolo Preservation Society to promote the Hawaiian ranching industry.

Parker Ranch Headquarters
Source : tripadvisor

Visitors can take part in the thrilling Guided Hunting Tour at the ranch. Animals, especially Mouflon Sheep, Mouflon Hybrid Sheep, Pigs and Goats are available for harvest here.

As you take on the hunting adventure, you will get to witness the unparalleled scenic beauty of the island. Take home a Paniolo branded jacket, hat, or shirt as a souvenir. 

Visitors can enjoy a Self-Guided Tour of this historic landmark site by making an appointment. Additional details are given below:

  • Address: 66-1304 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 8 am to 4 pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Admission Fee: $6.50 per person

2. Take A Stroll Through The Kuhio Hale Farmers Market

Things to do in Waimea in Big Island is browsing local Hawaiian items on sale thru the Kuhio Hale Farmers Market. Visitors can also enjoy Live Music in the morning here.

The market is set up with the sole purpose of offering a wide variety of homegrown products to customers who provide services with Aloha. There are several vendors operating independently.

Some of the Vendors and their sales at Kuhio Hale Farmers Market are listed below:

Hula Hands Jellies & Island Hula Hands Soaps - Here you will find a variety of homemade tropical fruits jams, jellies, and butter

Margo's Expressions (aka Southward Design) - If you are looking for some fine hand-crafted jewelry and ceiling fans, this is the stop for you

A stall with handmade crafts at Kuhio Hale Farmers Market
Source : facebook

Pu'u Kapu Lihau - Take home some fresh chemical fertilizer-free vegetables that are grown using indigenous microorganisms

The Kuhio Hale Farmers Market is organized on a weekly basis. The first Saturday is Vintage Saturday and includes more cultural items. Some additional details are listed below:

  • Address: 64-756 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 7 am to 12:30 pm (Saturday)

3. Make A Visit To Isaacs Art Center

To do things in Waimea in Big Island is to visit the Isaacs Art Center with your family. The museum is located adjacent to Hawaii Preparatory Academy's Village Campus.

The Art Center was created to serve as a cultural force benefitting the Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA) and Big Island communities. The place receives benefits and charitable donations from people who appreciated the art.

A statue in Isaacs Art Center
Source : facebook

Isaacs Art Center boasts a gallery that represents the rich history of Hawaii's allure over two centuries. The building itself is set on 5,580 square feet of tropical land.

  • Address: 65-1274 Kawaihae Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 9 am to 4 pm (Fri-Sat)
  • Appointment is required

After you wrap up your exploration of the Isaacs Art Center at Hawaii Preparatory Academy do visit the amazing restaurants nearby to grab a bite.

  • Merriman's Big Island - 0.2 miles away
  • Hawaiian Style Cafe - located within a mile
  • Red Water Cafe - 0.2 miles away

4. Horseback Riding At Na'alapa Stables - Kahua Ranch

To do things in Waimea Big Island is to take on the horseback riding adventure at Na'alapa Stables - Kahua Ranch. Visitors are even provided with the opportunity to trot and canter.

The ranch is located a 60-minute drive away from Kailua Kona International Airport and offers plenty of space for parking.

The experienced paniolos (Hawaiian Cowboys) and the well-trained horses at Na'alapa Stables offer a superb riding experience. Maximum safety is ensured for beginners whereas utmost flexibility is provided for experts.

Visitors can choose from the offered packages given below:

  • Kohala Naalapa Stables 1.5 hour Tour- $110 per person
  • Kohala Naalapa Stables 2.5 hours Tour - $150 per person

Visitors enjoy horseback riding at Na'alapa Stables, Waimea
Source : facebook

The horseback riding experience is further elevated by the spectacular views of the mountains, coastlines, cinder cones, and lush pastures. 

Kahua Ranch is situated on the beautiful Kohala Mountain and covers 2,100 acres of land. The place features three main event venues:

  • A Covered Deck with an attached working barn - covering an area of 1,600 square feet 
  • A Lawn with an ocean view - spread across a space of 3,000 square feet
  • A historic Ranch Chapel

5. Organize A Picnic At Holoholokai Beach Park

Things to do in Waimea Hawaii is to visit the beautiful rocky Holoholokai Beach Park in Puako. This small and unique beach area serves as a great spot for picnicking.

The Park consists of a rocky coastline that is made up of black lava and white coral. This is the perfect place to spot the sea turtles at sunset.

Holoholokai Beach is relatively small in terms of area but rich in terms of history and marine life. This is not a typical go-to beach with warm and soft sandy shores. Instead, it has mystifying lava rocks.

The entrance of Holoholokai Beach Park
Source : tripadvisor

Holoholokai Beach Park makes it to the list of best beaches on the Big Island without a doubt given its natural beauty. The amenities that visitors can enjoy onsite include the following:

  • Onsite parking
  • Picnic tables
  • BBQ grills
  • Outdoor showers
  • Restrooms

As you stroll the shore, you will spot the vibrant sea life in the tide pools carried by the waves. These pools feel like a life-size aquarium where you can catch sight of sea urchins, hermit crabs, starfish, and more.

Some additional details about the Park are listed below:

  • Address: Holoholokai Beach Park Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 6:30 am to 6:30 pm
  • No admission charge is required

6. Take A Scenic Drive On The Kohala Mountain Road

Things to do in Waimea in Hawaii is to go for a scenic drive along the Kohala Mountain Road. The road is about 20 miles long and connects Waimea and Hawi.

Kohala Mountain Road is one of the most iconic highways in the Big Island which has a total elevation of 3,387 feet. While you drive along this country road, you will be mesmerized by the beauty of Waimea Valley.

The Kohala Region is known for its ranching culture, rich history and breathtaking sights of the valleys. Experience Hawaii in its purest form: a rural paradise with picturesque farms, rolling hills, country roads, and long-stretched views.

Kohala Mountain Road and the beautiful scenery along the road
Source : tripadvisor

Kohala Mountain Road is known among the locals as The High Road. Some of the top tourist sights you will pass by while traveling along this highway are listed here:

  • Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
  • Waipi'o Valley Lookout
  • Pololu Valley Lookout
  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection
  • Spencer Beach Park
  • Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

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7. Dine at Merriman's Big Island

To do things in Waimea Hawaii list is incomplete without dining at Merriman's Big Island. This inventive eatery specializes in regional dishes.

The talented chefs used locally sourced ingredients to craft food items with authentic flavors of Hawaii. Visit the place any day and enjoy a delicious meal along with a great view.

The restaurant offers a farm-to-table concept that showcases the island's freshest fish, seafood, and meat. The service schedule is listed below: 

  • Brunch - 10:30 am to 1 pm (Sat-Sun)
  • Lunch - 11:30 am to 2 pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Dinner - 5 pm to 8:30 pm daily

Merriman's Big Island, restaurant in Waimea
Source : facebook

Located in Opelo Plaza, Merriman's Big Island is one of the best restaurants in Big Island of Hawaii. You can secure a table for you and your friends and family at $95 per person.

Merriman's Big Island Menu consists of the following categories:

  • Lunch
  • Keiki Dinner Prix Fixe Menu
  • Prix Fixe Dinner Menu
  • Wine List 
  • Keiki Lunch Menu
  • Beverages
  • Brunch

8. Enjoy A Show At Kahilu Theatre Foundation

Waimea Big Island things to do enjoy a show at the historic Kahilu Theatre Foundation. This performing arts theatre has a 490-seat theater for stage production.

Kahilu Theatre is located in Parker Ranch Center on Lindsey Road, Waimea. It is one of the top places on the whole island for artistic and cultural performances.

The art center opened its doors to the public in 1981 as a Broadway Stage. The theatre presents a full season of world-class performances every year.

Kahilu Theatre Foundation
Source : google

In addition to the stage productions, the place also provides space for quality art exhibitions from emerging and established visual artists. These exhibits help to develop accessible performing arts programs for students of all ages.

Some additional details about Kahilu Theatre Foundation are given below: 

  • Address: 67-1186 Lindsey Rd, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 2 pm (every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday)
  • Ticket Price: $35 to $65 per person
  • Children under the age of 18 are admitted for free

9. Go Shopping At Waimea Center

Waimea Hawaii things to do is to go shopping at Waimea Center shopping mall. Enjoy a unique and quaint shopping experience along with some fine dining.

Waimea Center features retail stores that sell unique local products and eateries that serve international flavors and cuisine. It is the perfect place for tourists to find a memento or gift to return home with.

The iconic Paniolo statue at Waimea Center
Source : yelp

Furthermore, you can find groceries, beachwear, and bakery goods as well. This shopping center started its business in 1989 and features the iconic statue of Paniolo.

Some additional details about the Waimea Center are provided below:

  • Address: Waimea Center, 65-1158 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm (Mon-Fri), 9 am to 1:30 pm (Sat)

10. Take Your Family To Ulu La'au (Waimea Nature Park)

Waimea things to do Big Island is to visit the Ulu La'au Waimea Nature Park with your family. This is a public park located at the heart of Waimea town.

The Park is open to the responsible public seven days a week for free. The place was acquired by the Waimea Outdoor Circle in 1999.

Explore the lush beauty of the Big Island at your leisure at Ula Laau. This beautifully maintained green space is a wonderful place to stroll through ohia lehua trees along with other native Hawaiian plants.

Hiking trial at Ula La'au (Waimea Nature Park)
Source : outdoorproject

Visitors are also allowed to bring their furry friends along with them to the park. You just need to make sure of the cleanliness that you need to maintain there and keep your dog on a leash at all times.

Do you want to make a visit to Ulu La'au Park, here are some useful details to consider:

  • Address: 66-1246 Mamalahoa Hwy, Waimea, HI 96743
  • Opening Hours: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm daily
  • Total Area: 10 acres
  • Free admission

11. Go For A Hike At Koai’a Tree Sanctuary

Waimea things to do Hawaii is to go on hiking to Koai’a Tree Sanctuary. This is a preserved area along the scenic Kohala Mountain Road.

Koaia Tree Sanctuary covers an area of 13 acres and it is a part of the 2 miles long corridor managed by Kohala Watershed Project.

The sanctuary has an interlinked network of short trials while the outer interpretive loop only extends three-quarters of a mile long.

Koaia Tree Sanctuary
Source : foursquare

Hiking is one of the top things to do on the Big Island year-round. If you are eager to go on a short hike and are interested in the tropical Hawaiian vegetation, Koai'a Tree Sanctuary is the perfect place for you. 

The walking distances are short and the beautiful scenery of the native trees along the way makes this place an ideal hiking route for people of all ages.

  • Parking Pass is not required
  • Trail length: 1 mile
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Trailhead elevation: 3,200 feet