On the gorgeous “Big Island” of Hawaii, Waimea is a small slice of paradise that can be found about an hour’s drive from both Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Waimea has long been known for its ranching industry and is considered the paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy capital. This picturesque village is surrounded by stunning, lush peaks and emerald volcanic geological structures that contrast with the bright blue ocean.
Although this pleasant town is found a bit inland and away from the coast, it only takes 20 minutes of driving to find the world-famous beaches of Hawaii when you rent an RV. Between the ancient Hawaiian culture, laid back vibes, lush green forests, and, of course, the unbelievable beaches, you sure are in for a treat when you book an RV in Waimea.
Explore the Outdoors
Hawaii’s islands are some of the most scenic places on Earth and the “Big Island” is arguably the best of them all. It is larger, less urbanized, and has more open areas and lush forests than any of the other islands in Hawaii by far. The Pu’u O Umi Natural Area Reserve is a large protected area free from development that partially cuts through the northern edges of Waimea. The reserve is home to some of Hawaii’s best hikes, with rolling grasslands and descending slopes that slip into the sea. You hardly have to drive far in your Waimea RV rental to reach this unbelievable preserve to see its rare wildlife and rare black sand beaches.
Pu’u Wa’awa’a Cinder Cone State Park presents more opportunities for you to see another prominent geological feature on Hawaii’s biggest island. Visitors can hike to the cinder cone of one of Hawaii’s largest volcanoes when exploring the state park, and climb through the clouds to reach vistas with spectacular views of the island and its neighbors. Farther to the south, you can drive your Waimea camper rental to Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, known for its historical significance as well as its natural beauty. The park was established in 1978 in an effort to pay homage to the potent Hawaiian culture that has been a part of the island for centuries. The park has native Hawaiian structures, sacred stone shrines, and religious sites along the coast where visitors can also canoe in native watercraft, snorkel, and swim.
It would be unwise to forget one of Hawaii’s most popular parks when you rent an RV in Waimea and tour the island. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is the centerpiece of the “Big Island” where guests can learn all about the ancient volcanoes that helped bring the islands into existence. Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes constantly churning out hot magma and creating new land where the pyroclastic flow meets the ocean, and Mauna Loa is one of the most massive mountains in the world from seafloor to peak, as well as one of the most prominent. You can hike around the park past historic sites like the lava field that is littered with ancient glyphs inscribed into the rock. There is a bevy of campsites for you to use when you bring your Waimea motorhome rental to this incredible park, as well as some amazing hikes to the volcanic crater at the peak of Mauna Loa.
RV Parks to Visit
When you visit the “Big Island” there are limited options as far as RV camping is concerned as most of the island features campgrounds that are only accessible by foot. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is one place you can stay with your Waimea travel trailer rental although it is about an hour's drive from town. A few of the state parks and recreation areas also have some campgrounds available for RV renters to use but there are not many private campgrounds to be found.
You may be able to park in one of the nearby Walmart Supercenter parking lots, just be sure to call ahead to confirm your stay with store management.
Waimea might not be a large town, but it sure does find a way to pack a whole bunch of excitement despite that. There are multiple farmers markets in Waimea that are perfect ways to get a feel for local culture while buying fresh produce. Waimea Homestead Farmers Market, Waimea Town Market, and Kamuela Farmers Market have some mouthwatering fresh fruit and vegetables that are grown all year round. W.M. Keck Observatory is one of the largest astronomical telescopes in use on the planet and guests can tour the facility and learn about what makes Hawaii such an ideal place to observe the cosmos. You might need to rent or buy a winter jacket as the peak of Mauna Kea can get pretty cold and snowy.
Isaac Art Center Museum & Gallery is a lovely place to see some locally produced art, especially native Hawaiian artwork. All of the proceeds from admission go towards supporting artists scholarships to inspire more artists to pursue their dreams. Paniolo Heritage Center is a great place to learn about the famed Hawaiian cowboys that still work on the ranches near Waimea to this day. This informative center is located on Parker Ranch land which also has an incredible mansion that now serves as a history museum.