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What You’ll Love About Waimea
Groceries, doctors, dentists, car repair services, delicious restaurants or fast-food options… you don’t need to leave town to find everything you want, need, and more… right at your fingertips.
As the largest town on the northern part of the Big Island, Waimea is home to many businesses, large and small. Medical and dental, professional services, tech and science, larger retail stores, and more offer tons of job options.
Located between the wet and dry sides of the island, weather in Waimea varies distinctly within its boundaries… from desert land to lush pastures. But either way, it’s a great place to cool off a bit after a hot day at the beach.
Come Explore Life in Waimea
Tucked into lush valleys and rolling hills in the heart of North Kohala on the Big Island, Waimea is a center for ranching activities and paniolo (cowboy) culture. It sits at the bases of Kohala and Mauna Kea at the intersection of Routes 19 and 190, within an easy drive of both the sandy western and the rugged eastern coastlines. It is home to a bustling Town Center filled with businesses, as well as the historic Parker Ranch, still the largest privately owned cattle ranch in the US.
What Future Residents Should Know About Waimea
What's the Weather Like?
Located at the transition between the wed and dry sides of the Big Island, Waimea enjoys a distinctly unique climate that can change dramatically between one side of town and the other. The simultaneously-occurring sun and rain often produces beautiful rainbows.
Should I Be Worried About Volcanoes?
No need to worry about eruptions or lava flows in Waimea! Despite the fact that it sits at the base of two volcanoes (both inactive), Waimea sits entirely within some of the safest lava flow zones on the Big Island. Take a look at the map below for more details.
Waimea's Best Attractions and Activities
Take a Look Around
Head to the center of town to explore plenty of local shops, restaurants, and galleries. Of particular note are the Isaacs Art Center and the Gallery of Great Things. Waimea is also a terrific place for stargazing—it’s home to two astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea.
Culture & History
The history of Waimea is deep-rooted in cowboy (paniolo) heritage… at one point, the still-vast Parker Ranch covered nearly the entire community of Waimea. Today, cowboy culture is still alive and well and can be seen throughout town and at the nearby Parker Ranch.
Parks & Recreation
Love to get outside and explore? There are so many ways to do it in the hills and valleys surrounding Waimea. Horseback riding and hiking are both quite popular, with area ranches offering guided tours and the nearby Waipi’o Valley known for its stellar views.
As the largest town in North Kohala, Waimea comes fully-equipped with businesses large and small. There’s a hospital, dentists, car repair services, and other large businesses like Keck Observatory, Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, and North Hawaii News.
Shopping & Dining
It’s a small town, but you’ll find plenty of places to shop and dine in Waimea. You’ll find locally owned restaurants like Big Island Brewhaus, as well as local shops. There are also regular Farmers Markets, and the Parker Ranch Center offers grocery stores, conveniences, and plenty of health, medical, and business services.
Waimea is known for its spectacular events! The 4th of July is celebrated in special style here… with a Fourth of July Rodeo at Parker Ranch! There’s also the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, held annually in February, which showcases the community’s beautiful old cherry trees in full bloom.
Waimea Quick Facts
Est. Population: 9,200
Travel & Commute
To Waikui from Waimea: 15 min
To Kailua-Kona from Waimea: 50 min
To Hilo from Waimea: 1 hour
Major Roads: Route 19, Route 250
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