Where to Swim at a Waterfall in Oahu

As you are planning activities for your Oahu vacation, you might want to consider swimming at a waterfall for a unique experience.

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Waihi – Waimea Falls

On Oahu, there’s not an abundance of waterfalls that the public can access. Manoa Falls is an amazing Oahu waterfall, but visitors aren’t allowed to swim there. The good news is that  Waimea Falls (also known as Waihi) in Waimea Valley offers a safe place to swim at a waterfall. Friendly lifeguards are on duty . Life vests are available for you use. A changing room and restrooms are also available here. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in Hawaii where you’ll find these safety features and facilities at a waterfall.

The waterfall is located approximately 3/4 of mile from the entrance. The way there is on paved paths that meander through beautiful forests.

There is an admission fee to get into the valley. You can save time by pre-ordering your admission.

So, the waterfall is quite nice, but there’s  so much more!

Besides Waimea Waterfall, there are great themed botanical gardens. Also, you’ll have the chance to learn a bit about Hawaiian history and culture. The valley itself has quite a bit of history.

Waimea Valley is open most days from 9am – 4pm. It’s located on the North Shore of Oahu across from Waimea Beach. For more information, visit the Waimea Valley website and check this link for admission.

Here’s a video Andy shot during our visit to Waimea Falls.

For fans of the television show LOST, Waimea Falls may look familiar to you. In the earlier seasons, the plane crash survivors collected fresh water here. Kate and Sawyer also had a romantic swim here.

Have you been to Waimea Falls for a swim? What did you think of your visit?

For more reviews of Waimea Valley, see these TripAdvisor reviews.

  1. Love it! When we went we didn’t know you could swim so didn’t go prepared. My son was just turned 5 and he announced he was going to slide down the waterfall. Ouch! ha ha!

  2. I went to this waterfall when I was in Oahu for Christmas last year. I was the first one there that day and the first one in the water. Most of the people that showed up later were afraid to go in. I loved having it to myself for over an hour. The lifeguards were awesome. They watched my stuff for me (as I was by myself) and offered to take pictures of me with my camera. I highly recommend going there. The waterfall is located in a botanical garden (the reason for the entrance fee)which was really fun to checkout after my swim.

    1. Kathleen – how cool that you had the waterfall all to yourself for a while! The lifeguards that were there when we were there were super nice. Glad you had a good experience!

      1. We went in November of 2009 and the water was sooo dirty that we did not dare go in..our tour guide also turned us off by saying to be pre warned that animals sometimes use this as their “relieving” area. yuck..the gardens are absolutely beautiful but you couldn’t pay me to go in that water!

        1. Lisa – that’s too bad that the water was dirty. My initial guess was maybe you were visiting after they had a heavy rain which carried mud down the stream from the mountain. Wonder if that might have been the case.

          I have to wonder if your tour guide might have been pulling your leg a little. There’s not a lot of animals there around the pool and animals don’t normally go to a waterfall pool to do their business. But, stranger things can happen. 🙂

          1. The animals that he was probably referring to are HUMANS!!!!

  3. I don’t think he was pulling my leg, because it just wasn’t me in the tour but about six of us, and none of us dared go in..It also had a bad smell. It was really disappointing, because it was supposed to be the highlight of the tour and it turned out to be
    disappointing. It may have been that day, because of bad run off, but no one was in the water at all. They should close it off or post a sign before you pay so at least you know before hand you cannot swim in it when you enter and pay.

  4. Hi Sheila,

    Thanks so much for this awesome guide to Hawaii. I’m in Waikiki at the moment and getting the car early next week to properly explore Oahu. I wanted to ask you, please – are there shower facilities at Waimea Falls? Sorry I can imagine most people cringing as I ask this but I’m a bit of a germaphobe!!!

    Many thanks for your help,


    1. I’ve been plenty of times as I live here and I’ve never smelled anything bad from the waterfall and there are no animals in park so whatever tour guide you paid for was poorly educated on the valley. I am sorry you had a bad experience.

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