Visiting the Dole Plantation on Oahu, Hawaii (2024 Guide!)

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Considering a visit to the Dole Plantation on Oahu? One of the most popular attractions in Oahu, the Dole Plantation is fun for visitors of all ages.

Stroll a lovely garden filled with colorful plants, try to find your way through a large living maze, take a ride on a mini train, and, of course, jump on the opportunity to enjoy a creamy Dole Whip.

Started as a fruit stand in 1950, Dole Plantation first opened to the public in 1989 as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Experience.” Today it hosts more than one million visitors annually.

Dole Plantation Garden on Oahu Island in Hawaii
Walking the Plantation Garden at Dole

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The Dole Plantation is located in Wahiawa, a central valley that lies between the two mountain ranges on either side of Oahu. If you are based in Waikiki, it is an easy stop on the way to or from the north shore.

We’d been a little reluctant to visit, thinking it would be touristy and crowded. But on our last trip to Oahu, we stopped off on our way back to Waikiki from Haleiwa, and we loved it!

Yes, it’s unabashedly touristy, and yes, it’s crowded, but if you visit toward the end of the day (or at opening time), you’ll escape the worst of the crowds.

There’s plenty to do at the Dole Plantation for kids and adults, so it makes for a great place to include in your Oahu itinerary if you are visiting the island as a family.

In this guide, we will describe the things to do at the Dole Plantation (we took so many photos!), and give you all the information you need to plan your own visit.

Ready? Let’s get started discovering how to visit the Dole Plantation in Oahu!

Walking the Dole Plantation Garden in Oahu
Strolling the Plantation Garden

Things to Do at the Dole Plantation

Tour the Plantation Garden

Made up of eight mini-gardens, the Plantation Garden at Dole Plantation isn’t very large. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in the variety and color of the many plants.

Plant and nature lovers will love this garden: it’s one of eight Oahu gardens to visit if you enjoy plants!

A paved walking path lets you meander through the garden area, observing the plants up close.

Bonus: the garden is the least crowded part of the Dole Plantation!

Look for plants like coffee, cacao, and banana — when we visited, we saw bunches of bananas and papayas hanging from healthy plants right next to the path. The large purplish pink flowers are gorgeous too!

Cacao plant at the Dole Plantation on Oahu, Hawaii
A cacao pod on a tree at the Dole Plantation
Papaya in the Dole Plantation in Oahu
Papaya on a tree in the Plantation Garden

A fragrance garden, called a lei garden, holds plants like plumeria, pikake (a jasmine), and pua kenikeni (with flowers that are pristine white and smell heavenly). Many of the flowers here bloom in the late spring and summer.

The hibiscus garden features blooms in many different colors, from white and yellow to red and pink. Colorful bromeliads make for great photos, as do the tall ti plants.

We saw spectacular birds of paradise flowers, as well as heliconias. The palm trees make a striking tropical statement, and there are some native Hawaiian trees like koa and ohi’a lehua.

A water garden contains a pond with koi fish and water lilies, and land at the back of the gardens hold many mature mango trees.

Water Garden at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii
Water lilies in the pond at the Dole Plantation

Look for birds

If you enjoy birding, bring your binoculars to any garden you visit in Hawaii (or when you go hiking), because you will likely see some birds!

At the Dole Plantation Garden, we saw some common mynas (they are everywhere, and loud!) and some zebra doves, but we also saw several red-crested cardinals and a couple of white-rumped shamas.

A red-crested cardinal at the Dole Plantation Garden
A red-crested cardinal on the garden path

These species aren’t shy at all, and will sit still or stay nearby, allowing you to snap photos or a quick video.

You may also see other species, such as red-vented bulbuls, great frigatebirds, saffron finches, and western cattle egrets, and maybe even an ‘apapane, a native Hawaiian honeycreeper that like to feast on ohia blossoms.

Work Your Way through the Maze

The Pineapple Garden Maze at the Dole Plantation in Oahu was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 as the largest maze in the world.

Spread over three acres, the maze features 2.5 miles of paths lined with Hawaiian plants. It’s an exciting walk for active visitors, and we saw lots of older kids having fun trying to conquer it.

The Pineapple Garden Maze at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii
Complete the Pineapple Garden Maze!

You have to find eight secret stations spread through the paths to unravel the mystery of this botanical maze.

The stations are named after the Hawaiian islands, and you learn about the history of each island and uncover interesting facts about each island as well.

At the center (your destination) is a collection of shrubs in the shape of a large pineapple, although it’s easier to tell the shape from above.

Download the Dole Plantation app onto your phone (it’s free) to help you track your time and the stations you’ve found.

On average, the maze takes about 40 minutes, so allow for enough time if you choose to do it when you visit.

Ride the Pineapple Express

Although it’s short, we really loved the train ride at the Dole Plantation, because it was informative and we got to see the plantation beyond the store and gift shop.

If you are traveling with young kids, they will likely love it!

Pineapple Express Train Ride Dole Plantation Oahu. HI
The Pineapple Express comes around a bend

The 20-minute narrated ride takes you through two miles of the Oahu countryside, and you learn about the story of pineapple in Hawaii and how James Dole, known as “The Pineapple King,” started growing pineapples on this land in 1901.

Although Dole today has moved much of its pineapple farming to Asia and Latin America for cost reasons, the company still maintains two farms on Oahu, about 2,000 acres.

The Dole Plantation currently owns four vintage-style trains. They are attractively painted and each engine hauls 3 to 4 passenger cars.

The train ride takes you through the pineapple fields and other crops grown on the property.

Railroad Crossing at Dole Plantation in Oahu
A railroad crossing near the Plantation Garden

The pineapple fields do have to sit vacant for a year once a cycle of growth ends, so if you happen to visit when a harvest has just occurred, you may not see lots of pineapples growing.

Note that the train rides normally have a long wait. Plan to arrive at opening time and get your tickets ASAP so you can take the first ride of the day. Or arrive in the late afternoon and plan to go on the last ride.

Trains run every 20 minutes.

Enjoy a Dole Whip

The vast gift shop and restaurant was the most crowded place on the Dole Plantation, even very near closing time.

The onsite restaurant, The Plantation Grille, has a menu that features Hawaiian favorites like loco moco and kalua pork if you want to have a meal here.

But most visitors step inside for that creamy concoction for which Dole is famous: the Dole Whip.

The Dole whip is the quintessential sweet treat at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii
Enjoy a Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation!
Dole Whip with pineapple chunks
Dole Whip with chunks of sweet pineapple

The soft-serve treat is sweet, tangy, and refreshing, and you can get it with bits of pineapple.

There are plenty of tables on the patio outside to sit and enjoy your Dole Whip.

Tables outside the Plantation Grille at the Dole Plantation on Oahu, Hawaii
Tables outside the store to sit and enjoy your Dole Whip!

You can also have variations of the treat, for example, a float that combines fresh pineapple juice with the Dole Whip.

Shop the Plantation Store

The large store at the Dole Plantation features the usual tourist-oriented gifts, like Hawaii-themed apparel, plush toys, and pineapple bath and body products.

Dole Plantation Store in Oahu Hawaii
The Dole Plantation Store in Oahu

You can also buy a lot of pineapple flavored foods, from chocolate to pineapple chunks, as well as Waialua estate coffee.

Pay attention to the labels if you are looking to buy local food products though, because many of the items come from other parts of the world.

Posing for a photo in front of the red-roofed store building, with its large Dole logo, is a popular activity!

Places to Visit near the Dole Plantation

Also in Wahiawa, garden lovers will want to visit the Wahiawa Botanical Garden, a 27-acre upcountry garden that showcases a variety of tropical and sub-tropical plants.

Look for the tall rainbow eucalyptus, the fig tree with exposed roots, palms, and other nature trees.

Wahiawa Botanical Garden is free to enter.

A few miles north of Dole Plantation is the charming north shore town of Haleiwa, with its double-arched bridge and walkable main street.

Haleiwa Town on Oahu, Hawaii
Shop for souvenirs in Haleiwa

You will find many small shops and art galleries to browse, as well as eateries and the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice.

If you want to see Hawaiian green sea turtles, you may see some in the shallows at Haleiwa Beach, just outside the town of Haleiwa. Or drive a little further to Laniakea Beach, where turtle sightings on the beach are common.

Getting to the Dole Plantation in Oahu, HI

Drive yourself

The Dole Plantation is located along the Kamehameha Highway in Wahiawa, centrally in the northern part of the island.

If you’ve rented a car for your Oahu trip, it’s easy to get to the Dole Plantation from either the Waikiki area or Haleiwa on the island’s north shore.

From Waikiki, Take H-1 W, then to H-2 N. Take the Wahiawa exit and continue to Kamehameha Highway (Hwy 99). Dole Plantation is located at 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway.

In normal traffic, the drive from Waikiki should take you about 40 minutes (see map).

From Haleiwa, take the Kamehameha Highway (Hwy 99) to your destination.

In normal traffic, the drive from Haleiwa should take you about 10 minutes (see map).

We use Discover Cars to book rental cars in Hawaii. They scour multiple providers to get the best price for you, including brands like Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, and Sixt.

>> Check prices and availability on Oahu rental cars now!

Take the bus

You can also ride the local bus get to the Dole Plantation from Waikiki. Get schedules and plan your trip here.

Colorful plants in the Dole Plantation Garden, Oahu, HI
The Dole Plantation Garden offers lots of color!

Join a guided tour

And if you are based in Waikiki but do not want to rent a car or ride the bus, a guided tour is a great option to see several sites on the island in an efficient manner, although you will not get a lot of time at each site.

Many Circle Island Tours in Oahu include the Dole Plantation on their itinerary.

This super popular tour, for example, includes both Dole Plantation and the beautiful Byodo-In Temple along with the north shore.

>> Check pricing and availability for this Circle Island Tour now!

This highly-rated tour includes the Dole Plantation along with Diamond Head, Waimea Valley, the beaches of the north shore, and much more.

>> Check pricing and availability for this island tour now!

Take a Shuttle from Waikiki

If you would like more time at Dole Plantation but do not want to rent a car or take the public bus, you can opt for the round-trip shuttle from Waikiki that allows you two hours at Dole and two hours in Haleiwa.

>> Check pricing and availability on the shuttle to Dole and Haleiwa now!

Birds of Paradise Plants at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii
A healthy row of birds of paradise plants

Dole Plantation Oahu Hours and Fees

The Dole Plantation is open daily from 9.30 a.m. until 5 p.m., other than on Christmas Day, when it is closed. Ticket sales for attractions end 30 minutes before closing time.

It is free to enter the Dole Plantation, and you can walk a limited area and visit the store and restaurant area.

But the train ride, the maze, and the garden tour are fee attractions.

The train ride costs $13.75 per non-resident adult and $11.75 per child for kids 4-12.

The garden tour costs $8.00 per non-resident adult and $7.25 per child for kids 4-12.

The maze costs $9.25 per non-resident adult and $7.25 per child for for kids 4-12.

Hawaii residents and military personnel get a small discount off the general adult price of each attraction.

hale plants at the Dole Plantation in Oahu
Hawaiian hale plants making a striking statement in the Dole Garden

The Best Time to Visit the Dole Plantation

You can visit the Dole Plantation year round.

The gardens here are tropical and you should find them stroll-worthy all through the year. Plumeria, jasmine, and the like only bloom in late spring and summer, though.

If you are looking to combine a visit to Dole with some beach time on Oahu’s north shore, know that most Oahu north shore beaches feature massive waves in the winter, so if you visit then, you can only watch expert surfers, not swim or snorkel.

As far as best time of day to visit the Dole Plantation, it’s best to arrive at opening time, or late in the afternoon, for lower crowds. Plan to visit on a weekday if your itinerary allows.

Papaya flowers on a tree at the Dole Plantation Garden on Oahu, HI
Papaya flowers

More Hawaii Travel Inspiration

If you are considering a Hawaii vacation, check out our round-up of the best things to do in Hawaii, by island.

And read our article on the best places to visit in Hawaii, from Kauai’s Na Pali Coast to Pearl Harbor in Oahu.

We also have a compilation of the best things to do in Maui, from sunrise at the top of Halekala to snorkeling at Molokini.

And if you are planning a trip to Oahu, be sure to check out our article on the best gardens in Oahu, from Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden to Waimea Valley!

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Everything you need to know to visit the very popular Dole Plantation on Oahu, Hawaii. Ride the train, do the maze, enjoy a Dole Whip, more!

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Dhara's travel interests are eclectic, spanning everything from natural wonders to history, culture, art and architecture. She has visited 22 countries, many more than once, plus almost all 50 states of the USA, and has amassed a hoard of cherished travel moments.

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