Our Guide to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Hawaii

Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by admin

Tourists often flock to the beaches of Waikiki when they visit Hawaii, but if you drive just a little bit inland, you’ll be rewarded with views of the most lush tropical views at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. I’m from Washington State (known as the Evergreen State) so I’m used to seeing a lot of green, but even I was impressed with the amount of green vegetation at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. The gardens contain every shade of green you can imagine, and the Koolau Mountain Range provides the perfect backdrop for your vacation photos. Visiting this Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is an absolute must-see for your Hawaii itinerary. In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know about visiting the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.

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How to Get to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

 

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is located about 15 miles from Waikiki Beach. It took us about 30 minutes to drive there from our resort in Waikiki to arrive to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. We rented a car from Paradise Rent-a-Car and made a day trip visiting the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden and the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

The entrance to the garden is located off of a residential neighborhood in Kaneohe.

We visited the garden right before it opened. When we arrived, there was a line of 5 or so cars ahead of us. There’s a security guard at the entrance that prohibits pedestrians from entering the garden. We saw a couple trying to sneak by to take photos walking along the famous road before it opened, but the security guard stopped them. 

Don’t have a car? You can book a tour to take you there. This private tour includes a professional photographer.

 

 

See our Hawaii itinerary to help plan your trip!

 

ho'omaluhia botanical garden, things to do in Hawaii


About the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is a spectacular park that covers 400 acres. It was first opened in 1982.

You can drive through the park in as little as 20 minutes, or you can camp overnight and spend the full day in the park!

The garden’s name means “to make a place of peace and tranquility“, and the name certainly fits.

When you visit the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, you’ll see a variety of tropical plants from Hawaii, Polynesia, the Philippines, and more. Not all the trees and plants are labeled. We recommend that you visit the visitor center to learn more about the specific species in the garden.

 

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden in Oahu, Hawaii

Important Visiting information for the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

  • Website: https://www.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg
  • Hours: 9am-4pm (closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day)
  • Address: 45-680 Luluku Rd. Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi 96744
  • Admission: Free

Photography at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

You may have seen epic photos of the entrance road to the park on social media. Many influencers posted photos of themselves walking down the middle of the road with the mountains as a backdrop.

Please note that photos are not permitted on any of the roads at any time.

There are now signs posted throughout the road that clearly state that photos are not permitted. Even if you did break the rules to snap the photo, it would not be a pretty photo with all the signage they have prohibiting photos.

I had read online that if you arrived before the garden opened, you could take photos along the entrance road. This was incorrect. You’re not allowed to take photos on the road at any time. Please be respectful of this new rule. There are plenty of great places to take photos within the garden that aren’t on the road, I promise!

Tip: Take a look at the Go City Oahu all-inclusive pass. You’ll be able to save money by bundling multiple attractions on the island!

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden in Oahu, Hawaii
Lots of signage at the entrance stating that photos are not allowed on the road

 

See our complete list of 53 things to do in Honolulu here!

What to See at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe

There are lots of things to see at the garden. Below we’ll share a few ideas.

Visitor Center

The first place you should stop is the Visitor Center, which is located shortly after the park entrance. In addition to finding restrooms, you can grab a map and learn a bit about the garden’s history and plants.

A lot of the photos we’ve included in this article were taken just outside of the visitor center! There’s plenty of grassy spaces that have the Koolau Mountains as a backdrop.

Tip: Listen to the Jurassic Park soundtrack as you drive through the park!

Lake

There’s a short trail off of the visitor center that will take you to a beautiful lake. If you’re looking for a shorter “hike”, this is a great option! (Note: Fishing is not permitted at the lake.)

Trails

There are tons of trails within the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. You can view details for one such trail on the AllTrails website (linked here).

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden in Oahu, Hawaii


Camping at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe

It is possible to camp at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. Here’s the relevant websites with booking information:

The campsites are suitable for tents (not RVs). You can make reservations no sooner than two weeks in advance.

Camping is available on the weekends starting 9am on Friday and closing at 4pm on Monday.


How Long to Spend at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

For the casual visitor, we recommend setting aside 1 to 2 hours to visit the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. It takes about 20 minutes to drive through the park, but if you stop at the visitor center and some of the other parking lots, you’ll want at least an extra hour.

If you’re planning on completing some of the more extensive trails, you could easily spend half a day at the garden. The garden is over 400 acres, so there’s a lot you can see!


Where to Stay in Honolulu (Best Hotels!)

We recommend staying in Waikiki when you visit Honolulu. You’ll be steps away from the beach, and you’ll have a dazzling array of restaurants and shops within walking distance. 

See our full review of our stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort here!
 

  Booking.com

Luxury Hotels

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort: When we visited Waikiki in 2022, we stayed at the Ali’i Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Ali’i Tower is the most luxurious tower on the resort property, and it has its own private pool, lounge, and check-in. The Ali’i Tower has ocean-view and oceanfront rooms, and it’s just steps away from the beach and lagoon. We wrote a full review of our stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village here.
  • Halekulani Hotel: This luxury 5-star hotel has a beautiful pool overlooking Waikiki with a mosaic floor of 1.2 million pieces of glass tiles. The hotel also offers daily surfing demonstrations.
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort: This is another 5-star located right on the beach with two pool options. (Plus poolside cabanas!)

Moderately Priced Hotels

  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel: This hotel is located within walking distance of the beach, as well as other attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo and Kapahulu Avenue. 
  • Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach: Waikiki Beach is just a 3-minute walk from this hotel. This hotel also offers daily complimentary breakfast. 

Budget Hotels

  • Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki Hotel: This hotel is located just a few blocks away from Waikiki Beach. There’s also a small outdoor pool.
  • Ilima Hotel: This hotel is just a couple of blocks from the beach, and it has free parking.

What to Pack for a Trip to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

When you visit Hawaii, expect to spend a lot of time at the beaches! Here’s a few things I recommend bringing:

  • Portable Charger: We like this cell phone charger because the cord is embedded. (That’s one less thing to search for in your bag!) This charger will let you charge your phone when you’re out exploring. You don’t want to run out of battery while you’re on the go, because you don’t want to miss a photo opportunity.
  • Waterproof Phone Case: Protect your belongings with a waterproof phone case. 
  • Quick Dry Towel: This is perfect for hikes where you wouldn’t want to pack a bulky towel from the hotel. It’s easy to throw into a beach bag.
  • Flotation Strap: If you’re going to be snorkeling or surfing, and you want to bring a camera or GoPro, you should make sure you have a flotation strap. That way, if you drop your equipment, it won’t sink to the bottom of the ocean.
  • Water Bottle: Stay hydrated while you’re out in the sun! We like this water bottle because it’s insulated and will keep your water cooler for longer. 
  • Vacation Hat: Protect your face from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat. 
  • GoPro: A GoPro will let you take amazing underwater footage. We highly recommend getting one if you want excellent underwater photos and videos! 

(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information.)


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden free?

The entrance to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is free. It’s a beautiful place to visit in its own right, but especially great to visit if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii on a budget!

How long does it take to drive through Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden?

It takes about 20 minutes to drive through the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden if you don’t make any stops. However, there are plenty of parking lots throughout the garden where you can stop to take pictures or hike a trail.

Are dogs allowed at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden?

No, dogs aren’t allowed at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.


Summary: The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe

When you’re planning your Hawaii trip, make sure to schedule at least one day away from the beach and check out this botanical garden. Walking through the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden was an absolute dream. We made a short visit to the gardens because we had a limited amount of time, but I could have easily spent half a day. (It would have been so dreamy to have packed a picnic!) We highly recommend that you visit the lush Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden!

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Thanks for reading!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading Spanish novels, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!