Oahu is home to hundreds of beautiful waterfalls, offering a range of experiences for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From towering falls to small cascades, the island has something for everyone.
On a recent trip to Oahu, my boyfriend and I explored the best waterfalls on the island that are safe for swimming. We did our research ahead of time and checked out each spot to make sure they were accessible, clean, and suitable for swimming. We had a fantastic time exploring the jungle-like surroundings of the falls, taking pictures, swimming, jumping off cliffs, and even enjoying quiet picnics.
In this article, I’ve listed the best waterfalls for swimming on Oahu based on accessibility, cleanliness, size, swimming area, and overall feel.
Take advantage of these beautiful and refreshing spots on your trip to the island!
#1. Kapena Falls – Best Oahu Waterfall for Cliff Jumping and Swimming
Kapena Falls is a beautiful and serene destination on Oahu, offering visitors a unique and enjoyable experience. The waterfall and swimming area are clean and peaceful. The jungle surrounds the swimming area as if you are far in the wilderness.
We parked at the back of the Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary and took a short walk to the waterfall. It took us less than 10 minutes, and we enjoyed the trail. We visited in the morning, and there were almost no people at the waterfall.
The waterfall is only 15-20 feet tall but is strong and appealing. The swimming basin is large and rocky, but easy to swim in. I took some one-of-a-kind pictures near the waterfall. There is also a 35-foot cliff for jumping (my boyfriend loved it!)
We brought food and drinks and spent over two hours swimming and sunbathing. There are large rocks around the swimming area to put down a towel and your stuff. The view was beautiful in all directions because the waterfall is surrounded by incredible exotic vegetation and jungle-like surroundings. It made the whole experience feel exotic.
This is the best waterfall for swimming in Oahu because:
- The swimming area is nice and large, so you don’t feel crowded.
- There is a beautiful 20 ft. waterfall that is powerful (some dry out, but not this one!)
- There is safe cliff jumping from 35 ft. rocks.
- The surroundings are a lush jungle of exotic plants, making the view beautiful in all directions.
- Getting to the waterfall is a short walk, and most can do it.
Address: Alapena Pool, Honolulu, HI 96817 (Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary)
#2. Waimea Falls – Oahu Waterfall Easy-Access – Safest, Family-Friendly Waterfall and Swimming
This is the spot if you are looking for a beautiful waterfall swim with some added safety. Most people enjoy the hike and view of this majestic waterfall, but the best experience is in the swimming hole.
We packed a lunch, did the hike (less than 1 mile one way), and spent a little over two hours at the swimming hole. Both the trail and waterfall are surrounded by tropical plants making the area feel exotic and jungle-like (bird calls included!).
The waterfall is about 30 feet tall, and the swimming hole is nice and large. Lifeguards provide lifejackets at the site and are included in the price of admissions. (So enjoy!) Thanks to the recent rainfall, the water was gushing down the waterfall on our visit. So I found it exciting to swim and take pictures.
After a long swim, we ate some snacks and sunbathed before taking showers and changing clothes to hike to our car. We appreciated the clean facilities.
This is a great waterfall to swim at because:
- It is family-friendly, has a lifeguard, and swimming vests are provided.
- The waterfall is towering and powerful, and the pool is large for swimming.
- The trail leading to the waterfall is a beautiful botanical garden.
- It has changing rooms and showers available.
Address: 59-864 Kamehameha Highway Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712 / Waimea Valley Road, Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712 (enter this address on your GPS for directions)
#3. Waimano Falls – Oahu Waterfall Hikes – Dramatic Waterfall with a Great Hike
We reached the waterfall by hiking the Waimano Pool Trail. The hike to the waterfalls and hole is about 1.5 miles long and difficult. There are ropes to help you get to the swimming area, which is well worth the effort. The surroundings are tropical and jungle-like.
I loved that it wasn’t crowded for swimming (only two other couples were there), and the water was a beautiful blue. There was plenty of space around the swimming area to leave our stuff. There are ropes to swing from and jump into the water (for the adventurous swimmers!)
Green trees, gushing water, and wild birds surrounded us. Overall, a perfect place to have a picnic and enjoy the water. The swimming wasn’t too difficult, and it felt safe (some slippery rocks). I loved taking unique pictures, and the swim was refreshing. We spent about 2 hours at the waterfall.
We loved this waterfall and swim because:
- It felt secluded, nestled in the rainforest away from tourists.
- The beautiful surrounding jungle makes it feel and sound exotic and exciting.
- The leading to the swimming hole is moderate in difficulty and great fun.
- The water in the swimming hole is clean, and there are rope swings to jump in.
Address: Komo Mai Dr, Pearl City, HI 96782
Oahu boasts numerous waterfalls perfect for swimmers.
Planning an Oahu waterfall hike? The Waimea valley falls and Waimea Falls hike lead to pristine spots. Don’t miss Waimea Bay, a highlight of the north shore.
Lulumahu Falls, maunawili falls, and sacred falls stand as the best waterfalls in Oahu.
If you prefer easy hikes, choose a paved walking trail. Start at the trailhead begins and take the mile round trip hike. Watch for locals jumping but avoid swing ropes.
Remember, respect private property near waterfall hikes. From north shore Oahu waterfalls to Honolulu waterfalls swimming, every waterfall adventure in Oahu promises unforgettable memories.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can you swim in waterfalls in Oahu?
Yes. There are many good swimming options in the waterfalls of Oahu. Kapena Falls is an excellent option for those looking to cliff jump off the 35ft. rocks. If you are looking for a safe family option, Waimea Falls is the best choice. Waimea Falls has lifeguards, showers, and life vests for swimmers. Another great option is Waimano Falls, which can be done with the 1.5-mile hike.
Where can you swim in waterfalls in Hawaii?
Hawaii is famous for its waterfalls. There are many great options for swimming. Some of the best are on Oahu, including Waimea Falls, Kapena Falls, Waimano Falls, and the jackass ginger pool. For the more adventurous, some waterfalls and swimming holes offer cliff jumping. Some are very safe for families and even have lifeguards. Check out all of the listed choices to find your favorite.
What is the most beautiful waterfall in Oahu?
Manoa Falls is the most beautiful waterfall in Oahu. You can experience this waterfall up close by taking a 30-40 minute hike through a beautiful trail. The waterfall is 150 feet tall and powerful. The sheer size and strength are so impressive that TV shows and movies are shot there. However, visiting options such as Waimea Falls, Kapena Falls, and Waimano Falls are safer for swimming.
Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Brigitte