Hawaii June 21, 2018
12 Refreshing Natural Pools You’ll Definitely Want To Visit This Summer In Hawaii
With approximately 750 miles of stunning coastline, the Hawaiian Islands are home to countless incredible beaches and coastal secrets. While we certainly love our beach days (let’s be honest though — who doesn’t?), sometimes you just need a little more adventure. From waterfall-fed swimming holes to tide pools nestled along the coast, these 12 natural pools scattered across the Hawaiian Islands are perfect for a summer adventure.
Because these incredible destinations are fed by streams, cascading waterfalls, and the ocean, it is important to issue a friendly warning about the risks associated with flash flooding, and leptospirosis bacteria found in many of Hawaii’s natural pools. It is advised that you check weather reports and ocean conditions before heading out for the day, never swim in these pools when you have open wounds, and to always watch your step. With that warning out of the way, let’s dive in!
1. Upper Waikani Falls
Appropriately referred to as Three Bears Falls, you will find a surreal series of three waterfalls, each taller than the last, from 70 feet to more than 150 feet tall, according to various estimations we found on the internet. Not only will you experience a serene beauty you can’t get from above, but the crystalline water is enticing, and soon, you’ll be taking a dip in one of Hawaii’s most stunning waterfall swimming holes.
This waterfall swimming hole hike is well worth the visit.
Click here to learn more.
2. Waimea Falls
Located within Waimea Valley is this charming waterfall, perfect for a family swim. Visitors will have to pay an entrance fee for the botanical garden, but once inside, the paved stroll to the waterfall is quick and features a changing room, available life jackets and lifeguards on duty. The main trail is approximately 1.5 miles round trip and is entirely paved, with plenty of unpaved offshoots to check out along the way. You can even pay $1 for a tram ride to true highlight of the valley: the lovely 45-foot Waimea Falls.
Learn more about this swimming hole and botanical garden
3. Uluwehi Falls
Often known as Secret Falls to locals and visitors alike for some unknown reason (the waterfall is in no way a secret, at least not anymore), the journey to this remote waterfall is a popular day adventure on Kauai’s east side. Located up the Wailua River, you will need to either rent kayaks or book a guided tour to reach the trailhead. Then, you have to complete the 45-minute hike through the muddy jungle to reach the falls. The effort is totally worth it when you reach this dreamy spot.
Learn more about this marvelous adventure
4. Makapipi Falls
Makapipi Falls is visible from the Road to Hana and is unique in that the waterfall plummets into a striking blue pool. You can either take a look from the bridge or hike down to the base and go for a swim. Unfortunately, the strength of the falls is often dependent on rainfall — so here's to hoping you catch it on a good day.
For more information about this unique cascade,
5. Waimano Falls
The hidden Manana Trail, nestled in Pearl City, leads hikers on a 2.8-mile journey to the ethereal Waimano Falls and Pool, an unexpected destination in the heart of the Hawaiian jungle. If it’s been raining lately, you’ll find a flowing waterfall, but if not, you’re more likely to encounter little flow and a few stagnant pools.
To discover this hidden destination,
6. Ahalanui Hot Pond
Geothermally warmed by flowing lava deep beneath the surface, Ahalanui Hot Pond is surrounded by green grass, palm trees, and the Pacific Ocean. Though the water is a combination of river water and seawater, you will still find plenty of sea life in this balmy hot pond, and snorkeling is allowed. While is obvious that the cement walls that surround the pond are man-made, the pool itself is naturally geothermal, and its waters are heated volcanically to a balmy 90 degrees. Lava located beneath the park’s surface warms the fresh water that flows in from surrounding terrain.
For more information about this unique warm spring,
7. Hanawi Falls
Surrounded by lush rainforest and featuring several plunging waterfalls, it doesn’t get any more picturesque than this striking stop along the Hana Highway. Hanawi Falls is a true gift from Mother Nature, and we're obsessed. On a calm day, the waterfall-fed pool visible from the Hana Highway near Mile Marker 24 is perfect for a relaxing — albeit icy cold — swim.
Dive into this picturesque pool
8. Lulumahu Falls
Located off Pali Highway is this extraordinary waterfall hike — complete with a trek through a bamboo forest, views of a stunning field and reservoir, the beauty of the Hawaiian jungle, and, of course, the jaw-dropping, 50-foot Lulumahu Falls. At the cascading waterfall, you can enjoy a picnic lunch, admire your surroundings, and maybe even wade in the pool below. What a perfect day in paradise, wouldn’t you agree?
to learn more about this epic hike.
9. Queen's Bath
Fed by waves from the Pacific, this saltwater swimming hole is exactly what it sounds like: a popular bathing spot for Hawaiian royalty. Due to the pool’s location on Kauai’s north shore, it is best enjoyed during the summer months, when the water is nice and calm. Adventurers who aren’t scared off by the dangers associated with accessing the Queen’s Bath should always check the surf report before you head out — if the tallest waves are predicted to be less than four feet tall, the bath will be relatively safe to swim in.
to learn more about this tide pool.
10. Ching's Pond
Combine vibrant sapphire pools with some stellar spots for cliff jumping, and you’ve got one of Maui’s local hangouts. This picturesque spot can be found past mile marker 16 on the Hana Highway, below the bridge that crosses Palauhulu Stream. Also known as the Blue Sapphire Pools, Ching’s Pond is certainly a sight to behold.
to see more photos of this lush locale.
11. Makapu'u Tide Pools
These utterly divine tide pools are perfect for days where you want a little more adventure than nearby beaches typically allow, though unfortunately, these tide pools aren’t necessarily easy to access. Located via a steep, rocky path off the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, these tide pools are absolutely dreamy.
For more information about these gorgeous tide pools,
12. Makaleha Falls
Hawaiian waterfalls are a dime a dozen, but the tiered Makaleha Falls is easily one of the most impressive and secluded cascades in the Aloha State. Nestled near Kapa’a at the end of Kaiwahau Road, this 2.5-mile, lightly trafficked trail is not for the hiking novice, but rather those who have quite a bit of experience hiking through the Hawaiian jungle. A tiered-waterfall cascading down a narrow canyon, Makaleha looks as though it has been ripped from the pages of your favorite fantasy novel.
Read more about this hike and swimming hole
What’s your favorite natural pool in Hawaii? Share your opinions and experiences with us in the comments below.
And if you’re more into beaches than swimming holes, check out our
favorite beaches tailor-made for summer.