Waianae Dolphin Coast (Top Oahu Attractions & Sights), Oahu tours & activities, fun things to do in Oahu | HawaiiActivities.com
Other Interests
Top Oahu Attractions & Sights

Waianae Dolphin Coast

4.49
Waianae, located on Oahu's west side, is a beautiful coast along the Waianae Mountains lined with rural towns, a recreational boat harbor, and the Ko Olina resort area where you can find the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Disney Aulani hotels. Waianae stretches for 20 miles from Nanakuli to Makua Beach and offers great panoramic views of the sunset and pods of friendly wild dolphins jumping off shore.
History of Waianae

It is said that the great demi-god named Maui, a mythological Hawaiian superman, who fished the islands of Hawaii from the depths of the ocean, first settled here on the Waianae coast. With its abundant waters and nutrient rich soil, the ancient people of Waianae prospered as a bustling fishing community.

In 1778, Captain Cook first caught sight of Oahu’s Waianae Coast on his pacific journey, but continued on to Kauai instead. Soon after in 1811, European and American traders became interested in the untapped sandalwood trees of Waianae that would sell for a hefty sum to merchants in China and other Asian countries. The Hawaiian chiefs of the time quickly put everyone to work harvesting sandalwood at the unfortunate expense of neglecting the crops and fishing. The combination of a crumbling tribal infrastructure and exposure to outside disease plummeted the population of Waianae until only 800 native Hawaiians were left in the entire area.

The entire west coast of Oahu, including Waianae and its northern neighbor Makaha, went through a number of land ownership changes over the course of the century as numerous businessmen and companies sought to purchase the vast tracts of rich land. At one point in the 1880s, Benjamin Franklin Dillingham began building a railroad that would connect Waianae to Honolulu. The once arduous 35-mile trek via horseback had been reduced to a speedy two hour journey by rail. Although now defunct, you can still see the remains of the rails while driving along the Farrington Highway.

The commercialization of the area came to an end with the closing and liquidation of the Waianae Sugar Plantation. In 1946, their doors closed after a long and arduous battle between the owners and workers for water rights. Since sugar plantations require a large amount of water, the owners held a monopoly on the area’s water usage to the dismay of the many residents of Waianae.

Now the Waianae coast is one of the last remaining untouched areas of Oahu, offering pristine beaches and waters filled with marine life, including the often seen Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins that frolic in the early morning sun. As you head north past Makaha to Kaena Point, you will even see ancient caves concealing petroglyphs carved by Hawaiians hundreds of years ago.

Highlights

Waianae Harbor is a popular departure point for many early morning dolphin swimming and watching tours, as well as a number of fishing boat charters. The Waianae Mall Shopping Center has all of the stores you will need to grab a book or stock up on food and refreshments before heading out to the popular Pokai Bay. Be sure to visit some of the local road-side vendors selling unique Hawaiian treats and food.

Top-Rated Activities for Oahu

Latest reviews of Waianae Dolphin Coast

Oahu West Coast Sunset Cruise with Cocktails from Waianae - Hawaii Nautical

An evening sunset cruise along a beautiful shoreline.

2022/12/31 Couples Pam

I it was beautiful. We really enjoyed the cruise. The crew and captain were great! We saw dolphins and a beautiful sunset! We would do it again!

West Oahu Whale Watch Tour with Sightings Guaranteed - Hawaii Nautical [Dec-Mar]

Waianae whales did not disappoint!

2022/12/07 Solo Travelers Blu3yedblonde

An hour out, we were all (including crew) worrying we wouldn’t see any whales. Crew had seen 1 in the morning.
Into the 2nd hour 2 beautiful hump back made their appearance. They put on an amazing show for us, with mult... more

Close
West Oahu Dolphin Watch & Snorkel Cruise with Lunch & Dolphin Sighting Guarantee

Great cruise

2022/11/30 Families Scott

We saw dolphins and whales. The crew was fun and easygoing.

West Oahu Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin Watch, Kayak, SUP, Water Slide & Lunch

Gorgeous Day

2022/09/15 Couples Kara

The west side of Oahu is a great way to get away from the busy Waikiki area! Recommend for a sun filled snorkel adventure!

West Oahu Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin Watch, Kayak, SUP, Water Slide & Lunch

West Oahu Dolphin Tour

2022/09/14 Families Michelle Haywood

Such a great day from beginning to end. Excellent bus for transport. The tour operators made it a really fun day and it was awesome to see them enjoying their jobs so much! Great food and plenty of it for lunch. Fabu... more

Close
West Oahu Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin Watch, Kayak, SUP, Water Slide & Lunch

Dolpin Watch and Snorkel

2022/09/12 Families addy

It was very nice experience to watch dolpin and snorkel

Waianae Dolphin Coast (Top Oahu Attractions & Sights), Oahu tours & activities, fun things to do in Oahu | HawaiiActivities.com
Waianae, located on Oahu's west side, is a beautiful coast along the Waianae Mountains lined with rural towns, a recreational boat harbor, and the Ko Olina resort area where you can find the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Disney Aulani hotels. Waianae stretches for 20 miles from Nanakuli to Makua Beach and offers great panoramic views of the sunset and pods of friendly wild dolphins jumping off shore.