Waianae Dolphin Coast (Top Oahu Attractions & Sights), Oahu tours & activities, fun things to do in Oahu | HawaiiActivities.com
Top Oahu Attractions & Sights
Waianae Dolphin Coast
4.43
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

Too Crowded

2021/10/02 Couples Megan Rish

The dolphin tour was so crowded and even though the guide was friendly and the people were very friendly there were just too many. Many people didn’t actually get to see the dolphins in the water and were being kicked wi... more

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Amazing experience

2021/09/20 Solo Travelers kris

Saw a pod of dolpins. swam with sea turtles and we had rare sighting of a HUGE pod of pilot whales, maybe about 30-40 of them !

Best experience ever

2021/08/10 Solo Travelers Hayu

I think I came to Hawaii for this. This made me like Hawaii! The first thing I did after iClouding every video of dolphins was buying a shirts that says i love hawaii. I saw so many dolphins and knew that they are much m... more

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So Rad!

2021/05/29 Couples BLC Reno NV

Worth every penny, We will be doing this again when we return to the islands. The crew was friendly, interactive with everyone, and also very caring and attentive to the folks that didn’t have their sea legs. The day we ... more

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Nothing special.

2021/05/16 Couples OKM

This excursion was okay at best. Though we were able to see dolphins, which was lovely, the snorkeling was blah. First the company took us south along the island, versus out into the ocean, and guided us snorkeling rig... more

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Sunset cruise

2021/05/07 Couples Debbie

This was an awesome cruise, The staff was very friendly. I highly recommend this.it was very classy we did a couple other sunsets and this was the best by far.we were nervous at first cause it started raining but it did ... more

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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.