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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Waimea Bay Beach Park


The Need to Knows
  • Waimea Bay Beach Park is located at 61-031 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, HI 96712.  The exact location of the park entrance can be found here:
  • I'm not sure if the park closes after dark, but there is a gate at the entrance to the parking lot so that very well could happen.  If you want to visit the beach at night, I would park outside of the gate so you don't risk getting locked in.
  • It is free to park in the beach parking lot.  However, it is small and fills up very quickly.  Waimea Valley across the road does have parking available, but it costs (I think) $5 per car.
  • Restrooms are available (bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer just in case) as well as outdoor showers, trash cans, and picnic tables.
  • Like the rest of the beaches on the North Shore, Waimea Bay has two distinct seasons: summer and winter.  Summer means calm, placid waters with great swimming, snorkeling, and rock jumping.  Winter means intense, huge waves, surfing competitions, and definitely no swimming.


WARNING:  If you choose to jump from this spot or anywhere else on island, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK.  Spitting Caves has had two tragic deaths in the past few months (both young Navy sailors) because of jumping into rough ocean waters.  Please be WARNED and be KNOWLEDGEABLE of the risks of this kind of activity before participating and STAY SAFE.  If the ocean looks rough and/or you aren't a strong swimmer, DO NOT JUMP AT ALL.


Waimea Bay Beach Park is an absolutely delightful stretch of sand located on the North Shore of Oahu.  I fell in love with it from the first moment I stepped foot there.  The water is stunning (these pictures are 100% unedited by the way), the sand is soft, deep, and plentiful, and it really is a quintessential Hawaiian beach.  If it doesn't rank as my favorite beach on Oahu, it is absolutely in the top three!



There are a few things to know that will come in handy when and if you decide to visit Waimea Bay, however.  One is that the parking lot is small and fills up very quickly.  I treat it like Hanauma Bay.  Around 7-8 AM is usually best, but if it's 9AM or after you can most likely forget about parking in the lot until the afternoon unless you get lucky.  However, there is parking available over at Waimea Valley across the road, but you'll have to pay up.



It's also worth noting that when it's summer, the water is exactly how it looks in these pictures.  It's calm, gentle, and wonderfully inviting for various activities like swimming and snorkeling.  However, when "winter" (November to April, generally) rolls around and the waves start getting huge in this neck of the woods, the water is definitely not the same.  In fact, you should probably just stay out of the water unless you're an experienced surfer!




If the waves get big enough between December 1 and the end of February, then a surfing competition known as the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, AKA the Eddie, will be held here at Waimea.  It's nicknamed the Eddie because of the legendary Eddie Aikau, a lifeguard at Waimea Bay who gave his life attempting to save his crew members after their canoe capsized south of Molokai.  Because of the specific restrictions regarding wave height, the tournament has only been held 8 times since its inception in 1984.




One other thing that Waimea Bay is pretty well-known for is a giant black rock that people love to jump off of.  It's supposedly around 30 feet high, and if you choose to participate in this activity, it's obviously at your own risk.  I'm not brave enough to jump, but on this trip, my dad was!




Jumping from Waimea Bay Rock from And Drink the Wild Air on Vimeo.


This gorgeous scenery will definitely be one of my most-missed places on Oahu.  If you ever are able to visit Oahu, I highly, highly recommend checking Waimea Bay out.  If it's summertime, you'll get absolutely perfect swimming and snorkeling conditions, and if it's wintertime, you'll get to watch some amazing pros battle it out on the waves.  You really can't go wrong!


Would you be brave enough to jump from the Waimea Bay rock?

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