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Waimea has a Hawaiian landscape unlike any other – it is a largely rural area where cattle still graze among the green, rolling hills. Today, working cattle ranches dot the landscape, along with cozy art studios and award-winning restaurants. Outdoor recreational opportunities are available for dogs in the area.
The Waimea Nature Park features an ulu la’au, a garden of trees. Open from 7 am to 5:30 pm daily, the 10 acres of space has been turned into a haven for research, education, and ecosystem restoration. Invasive plant species have been removed and replaced with native Hawaiian plants, making this park one-of-a-kind in the area.
The local farmers’ market also allows on-leash dogs. The Waimea Town Market and the Homestead Farmers Market take place between 7 am and 2 pm on Saturday, while the Waimea Mid-Week Market at the Pukalani Stables is open all day on Wednesday. Check out the delicious local meats, cheeses, and produce, as well as unique items like orchids, jewelry, and jam.
When you’re done exploring all Waimea has to offer, stop in for a cool drink at the Big Island Brewhaus. This local favorite features Mexican steaks, salads, vegetarian options, and locally-brewed beer on tap. The lanai welcomes on-leash, friendly dogs, and the servers have a reputation for taking special care of four-legged friends!
Waimea isn’t separated into distinct neighborhoods, but instead is a census-designated area on the Kauai island with a low population. Still, it's a popular spot for travelers. Waimea sits on the Waimea Bay and features scenic, resort-style beaches, some of which allow your pup to run and splash if he’s on his leash. A popular place here is JoJo’s Shave Ice, which has more than 60 flavors of the deliciously cool treat – and some outdoor tables at which your pooch can join you! You can also bring him to Ishihara Market’s outdoor seating area to enjoy some local seafood and mouth-watering sushi.
About 21 miles from Waimea is the Poipu neighborhood of Koloa. This area is home to the popular Poipu Beach Park, which has gorgeous sand and water and was also named “America’s Best Beach” by the Travel Channel. Dogs are welcome to visit the beach with their owners on their leashes, but they need to stay away from Monk Seals, which often give birth in the area. Right near the park is Bubba’s, a local eatery known for its delicious burgers. The restaurant has an outdoor table set aside especially for dog owners and their pups – he can even enjoy a Bubba Burger that’s safe for dogs!
A 25-minute drive from Waimea will bring you to Nawiliwili Ahupua’a, a neighborhood in Lihue, Hawaii. This area is just a few miles from the water so you can enjoy some of the island’s beautiful beaches of the east coast. And, you’ll have your pick of dining areas in the neighborhood that will welcome your pup to eat with you. A favorite shave ice parlor in the area is Uncle’s Shave Ice, which has outdoor seating for you to sit with your pup. After you cool off, head to Freddie’s Dog Park, which the Kauai Humane Society owns and operates. This beautiful park has separate areas for small and large dogs, lots of grass, and benches for owners.
On the other side of the island from Waimea is the town center of Kapaa, which will take you about 56 minutes to drive to. This area is the home of Kealia Beach, a beautiful beach that’s one of the hosts of the Kapaa Coastal Path that runs along the cost, which is a perfect path for walking or biking while enjoying some amazing scenery. Your leashed dog is welcome on the beach – just make sure you clean up after him! A few minutes from the beach is the wildly popular Green Pig food truck, which has outdoor tables that welcome your furry pal.
A short distance south of Kapaa’s Town Center and about a 50-minute drive from Waimea is Wailua in Kapaa, where there are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants to enjoy. Verde Restaurant is a hot spot with unique Mexican cuisine and plenty of outdoor seating for you and your pup. If you’re looking for some outdoor activity, head to the Kauai Path, a part of the Rails-to-Trails organization that gives you a gorgeous, serene place to walk, jog, or bike with your dog in tow. Of course, the area is also surrounded by the Kauai coast, so feel free to take a splash and cool off your paws!
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