For nearly 3 decades, this 1,875-acre park has lured visitors with activities from cliff diving and hula performances to kayaking and ATV tours. In 2008, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs took over and formed a nonprofit corporation, Hiipaka, to run the park, with an emphasis on perpetuating and sharing the “living Hawaiian culture.” A visit here offers a lush walk into the past. The valley is packed with archaeological sites, including the 600-year-old Hale O Lono, a heiau dedicated to the Hawaiian god Lono, the god of peace, fertility, and agriculture. The botanical collection has 35 different gardens, including super-rare Hawaiian species such as the endangered Kokia cookei hibiscus. The valley is also home to fauna such as the endangered alae ula, or Hawaiian moorhen; look for a black bird with a red face cruising in the ponds. The 150-acre Arboretum and Botanical Garden contains more than 5,000 species of tropical plants. Walk through the gardens (take the paved paths or dirt trails) and wind up at 45-foot-high Waimea Falls—bring your bathing suit and you can dive into the cold, murky water. The public is invited to hike the trails and spend a day in this quiet oasis. Check the website for potential closings due to weather.
59–864 Kamehameha Hwy, , Haleiwa, HI
Our Rating Neighborhood North Coast Hours Daily 9am–5pm Transportation Bus: 52 Phone 808/638-7766 Prices $16 adults, $12 seniors, $8 children 4–12 Web site Waimea Valley