Waimea Bay, on Oahu’s North Shore across from Waimea Valley, sits at the mouth of the Waimea River. The bay is home to “Jump Rock” which has become a popular destination for cliff diving from its 20-40 foot summit. During the winter months, advisories are put in place for inexperienced swimmers as the enormous winter waves at Waimea Bay signal the start of big-wave surf season.


Waimea Bay Jump Rock
  • Take the plunge off of “Jump Rock” when the ocean conditions are calm.
  • During the winter months, sit on the sand and watch surfers tackle enormous North Shore winter swells.
  • Swimmers should only go in the water during the summer months.
  • The quick steep drop off at the shore allows for swimming close to the shoreline.


Waimea is known for being the site where big-wave surfing was pioneered in the 1950’s after hundreds of tons of sand was moved from the bay to create Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island and Waikiki Beach. It is said the removal of the sand exposed ancient artifacts dating back to the Hawaiian Kingdom. In 1983, Waimea surfer James Jones recalled a Hawaiian petroglyph found on the rockshelf below the beach. He said it was possible, “…that the ancient Hawaiians had seen this strange [big-wave] phenomenon of nature before.”

Tips when Visiting Waimea Bay

  • Arrive early to secure a parking spot as parking is limited, especially on weekends and school holidays.
  • Read and follow all warning signs on the beach.
  • Speak with a lifeguard before you plan on entering the water as the ocean conditions can be extremely dangerous.
  • Public restrooms and showers are readily available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on the season, weather, and ocean conditions, Waimea Bay can be one of the best beaches for swimming on Oahu’s North Shore.

Swimming can normally only be done in the calmer summer months, but you should always observe all warning signs and speak with a lifeguard before entering the water.

During the winter months, ocean conditions will become very rough with large waves. Only strong surfers familiar with Waimea Bay should ever enter the waters during this time.

No, there are no vendors located at Waimea Bay, and you will need to bring your own umbrellas and chairs.

No. there are no restaurants or food vendors at Waimea Bay. There are many small local restaurants and food trucks around Waimea Bay and the North Shore. Be sure to bring some food, snacks, and drinks with you!

No, you cannot drink alcohol at any beach on Oahu.

How to Get to Waimea Bay

The easiest way to get to Waimea Bay is by car. Located on Kamehameha Highway, Waimea Bay is approximately an hour away from Waikiki and Ko Olina.

While you can also go to Waimea Bay on the Honolulu City Bus from Waikiki by taking the #60 Kaneohe – Haleiwa route to Kamehameha Hwy + Opp Waimea Valley Rd. It will take approximately 3 hours by bus.