The towering North Shore waves start here in Waimea Bay. The winter swells that roll into the famous Oahu North Shore beaches, generally top out at Waimea Beach Park , on the right hand side of the bay.
Surfing the Bay, along with Sunset Beach and the Banzai Pipeline, is considered almost a pilgrimage among many pro-surfers that fly in from all around the world to partake in the daring action. The fun generally begins when the National Weather Service issues high surf warnings for the North Shore. Waimea Beach Park is located just past Haleiwa Beach, and across from Waimea Falls Park.
Flying above Waimea Bay gives it a whole perspective and meaning the beauty that this Oahu beach is entails.
Take a moment to cruise along the golden beach, fly above and around Waimea Rock with beach goers plunging back into the ocean, and sail along the point with beach front homes and the iconic Mission of Sts. Peter and Paul church.
While everyone wants to see the surfers riding the Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay has to be the most popular beach on the North Shore. This Oahu beach offers a lot of action in both the winter and summer months!
The Bay itself has a glowing aura about it, and you feel its presence as soon as you pull into the parking lot and walk across the vast lawn area.
There are distinctive landmarks that help define this special bay, including the Mission of Saints Peter & Paul Church at sits out on the point at one side, and a huge rock that sits at the other end, known as "The Rock".
The bar is set here for Hawaiian
surfing as waves generally
start around 10 to 20 feet in height and
sometimes jump up to 30 feet plus – that is a measurement from
backside of the wave. The front
side peak usually measures
twice as high! Imagine riding down a 60 foot-face
is an exhibition playground for big-wave
including Hawaiian surfing
legends like Eddie Aikau, Greg Knoll, Ken Bradshaw,
and Laird Hamilton. Andy
Irons, a three-time world surfing champion, often competed here along with other legendary North
Shore spots like the Banzai
Pipeline and Sunset
Waimea Beach Park, from the hillside, is a great spot for spectators to view daring surfers play with death defying rides. Wiping out on these waves can be extremely hazardous to your health and life as we know it!
become so monstrous at times, that they roll past the bone yard of
boulders and rocks and spill onto the roadside above, which usually
leads to beach
and road closures.
You will find a beautiful memorial on the park grounds dedicated to
big wave rider, Eddie Aikau.
Eddie risked his life in dangerous surf conditions to save others stranded on the capsized Hokulea Voyaging Canoe. Eddie paddled off on his surfboard, never to be seen again. There is a big respect for who Eddie was and what he did.
Bay Beach Park during the summer is like
driving up to a completely different North Shore Beach scene.
The waves go flat and the waters remain calm, surfers are scarce,
all the keikis (kids) and families takeover the Oahu beaches
Watch the local kids swimming out to “Da
located just off shore on the left hand side.
The idea is to
climb up 30 feet,
build up your confidence, and take a leap of
faith! Most people take time to build up the courage before jumping off the steep edge and into the deep blue ocean below.
While jumping off the rock can be a lot of fun...and you'll see a
lot of people doing it, it can be very dangerous. I would not recommend it as there have been reported injuries from time to time.
The rock is not
easy to climb up onto, can be slippery, and dangerous to jump off of.
Look for the many posted signs and heed their warning!
You will also find a lot of kids playing around in the Waimea River that runs down from the Waimea Falls Park area. The river sometimes gets carved out by the locals, helping release river water back into the ocean.
The Waimea River then becomes
perfect tube ride back to the ocean, creating another summer fun thing
to do on the North Shore.
There is a 90 minute guided snorkeling tour in Turtle Cove, that includes a professional instructor, equipment, and safety lesson. Explore the open water in search of green sea turtles and other sea life. See other awesome snorkeling spots around Oahu here...
Take caution entering the ocean at Waimea. The shallow shoreline drops off quickly - a good 20+ feet deep! There are no fish in the area, but it can be a humbling experience to bring a mask & snorkel to just check out the deep blue ocean, giving you a feeling of the abyss.
careful of the shoreline breaks, which could be very powerful and
dangerous when present. Always ask the lifeguard about beach
conditions and which part of the beach would be best for the activity
you would like to do.
From Waikiki , take the H-1 Freeway headed West…
Take the H-1 Hwy West to the H-2 Hwy North
Follow the H-2 Hwy to the Kamehameha Hwy (hwy 99)
Take Hwy 99 and continue into Haleiwa Town Or bypass Haleiwa Town, and continue on Hwy 99 and merge onto Hwy 83, which will lead you to the coastline.
As you continue on Hwy 83, keep going until you see a park sign on your left hand side.
Turn into the parking lot and you are there!
Take the 52 bus from Kuhio Ave to Haleiwa Town, and transfer to Oahu Bus number 88A or 60. These Oahu Bus will take you to the North Shore Beaches.
Note: Bus # 88A travels from the Ala Moana Center around the North Shore and backdown the Windward (East) side of the island.
Ask the bus driver once again to notify
you once you have arrived at Waimea Bay Beach Park.
Enjoy the grassy park area above that overlooks the bay. There are a few benches sitting in the shade of the trees. It's a prime spot ready to enjoy a beautiful picnic.
Falls Park – Extend your day
North Shore fun with a
family stroll that ends at this stunning Oahu waterfall. The
walking trail is set along
some beautiful botanical
gardens as you make your way towards the Waimea Falls.
This Best of Oahu waterfall is located directly across from Waimea Bay. Make sure to bring your bathing suit so you can swim up to the legendary Waimea waterfall. Changing rooms and life jackets are on site, as well as lifeguards on duty. Also spend a little extra time to check out the Hawaiian cultural activities as you enter the Waimea Valley estates.
Tie on a visit to Waimea Falls Park with an evening luau dinner with cultural demonstrations and Hawaiian entertainment. The Toa Luau includes your entrance to Waimea Valley & Waterfall.
Just make sure you give yourself enough time to get back in time for the festivities. Note that this luau only takes place on Mon - Wed. Learn more and reserve a spot...
Beach – more popular known as the Banzai
action isn’t close enough for you at Waimea Bay , then head
up the road to Ehukai Beach and watch surfers dropping into perfect
barrels, that will feel like watching a 3-D movie.
Pipeline curling waves are world renown and play a big part in the
North Shore experience. The trick to finding Ehukai Beach ,
is looking for the Sunset Elementary School , which is located right
across the street.
Town Haleiwa – before heading off to
Waimea Bay Beach
want to stop in the old town Haleiwa to checkout the North Shore
rustic surf shops,
local art galleries, enjoy a Matsumoto’s Hawaiian shave ice, and grab
some lunch to take with you to the beach.
stopping at Haweiwa Joe’s, Cholo's or other North Shore Restaurants for dinner, before making the
journey back to
Waimea Heiau Ruins – Just
above Waimea Bay is one of the most well
preserved Hawaiian heiaus on the island, known as Puu o Mahaka State
Monument. Most of the outlying walls are still intact,
prospective on just how large the site was.
You can drive up to this
site which is a quarter mile up the road, or take a small hike up
trail that starts just beyond the entrance to the beach parking
lot. There are some nice views along the way and up top!