One of the most frequently asked questions I get about Hawaii is whether or not the Dole Plantation is worth a visit. Honestly, I could never answer. I had never been to the Dole Plantation aside from a quick visit to grab some Dole Whip.
But today, I decided to do some research and see for myself. I went to the Dole Plantation to try out all of the activities to see if it is worth visiting. I was so excited, and even a little bit surprised when I saw how much the Dole Planation has to offer. And, what surprised me the most, I think, was how much the Dole Plantation has to offer aside from pineapples!
Yup, The Dole Plantation Has Pineapple Everything
If you love pineapple, you’ve found the right place.
At the Dole Plantation, you can walk in a maze that is shaped like a pineapple. It takes most people about an hour to get through it!
Also, you can take the Pineapple Express train and see how pineapples are grown. Both of these activities are geared toward all ages, making the Dole Plantation a great place to take kids.
Afterward, try Dole Whip, Dole’s famous pineapple ice cream. You can buy almost anything pineapple-related in the souvenir shop, located right next door.
Plantation Garden Tour
But my favorite part of my visit to the Dole Plantation was the Plantation Garden Tour. It’s a small garden that is a showcase of many different plants that you will find here in Hawaii. Here, you will also learn about what life was like on the plantation.
You can probably see the whole thing in less than 30 minutes. I loved this little garden because I learned so much about the things that grow here in Hawaii! There are eight different gardens that you walk through during the tour.
The North Shore section has a variety of tropical crops, including banana, taro, sweetcorn, lychee, papaya, mango, coffee, cacao (chocolate), and flowers that are grown on the North Shore and make their way into restaurants throughout Hawaii.
The Hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower, and in this section of the garden, you will find many different varieties.
Leis are deeply important in Hawaiian culture. They are given to commemorate special events, holidays, and affection. The Lei garden has flowers Hawaiians use to make leis.
But my favorite section was the Native Species section, in which you can see the plants that are native to Hawaii. These plants evolved in Hawaii over millions of years in isolation, so many of these plants don’t grow anywhere else in the world. Don’t miss the chance to see them!
One of the most interesting sections to me was the Ti Leaf section of the garden. It talks about plants very important to Hawaii. Ti is a “canoe plant,” meaning that it is one of the few plants the first Hawaiians brought to Hawaii. Hawaiians used the large Ti leaves for many things, like cooking and protecting themselves from the rain.
In just 20-30 minutes, you learn so much about Hawaiian culture in this little garden! It’s a must-do.
The Dole Plantation’s cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food is delicious! If you’re there early in the morning, try the Plantation Breakfast Wrap, which has bacon, eggs, Monterey jack cheese and hash brown wrapped in a spinach tortilla. Or, go for the honey cured deli ham and fried egg with a slice of American cheese, served on a sweet bun.
If you’re there in the afternoon, there are both appetizers and full meals available for purchase.
Many of the Plantation Grill’s offerings showcase pineapple. Appetizers include their Pineapple Chili Dog topped with chili and fresh diced Dole Plantation Pineapple. Or, maybe you will try a Pineapple Chili Bowl, which is beef and bean chili poured over a scoop of rice and topped with fresh diced Dole Plantation Pineapple. Of course, you can wash it down with pineapple juice.
If you are on pineapple overload at this point, don’t worry – there are plenty of times that don’t feature pineapple on the menu.
For lunch, there are over twenty meals to choose from. Many of them showcase local foods, including a kalua BBQ pork sandwich, teriyaki chicken, a plantation pork BBQ rib Sandwich, and mahi-mahi fish, and loco moco. Also, burgers and hot dogs are available.
The Dole Planation has its own gift shop with pineapple everything. They even sell shirts made with dye from pineapples!
Outside the Dole Plantation, there are a number of artists selling locally made products.
I spent a good 5 minutes watching the man hand carving these tikis.
Pro Tip: In the back of the store is where you will find the good stuff. Watch a pineapple demonstration, look at local art for sale, and enjoy an entire section selling Hawaiian chocolate! Also, there is a wall of Christmas ornaments that you can get personalized right there. Christmas ornaments are one of my favorite souvenirs to pick up when I go different places, and the Dole Plantation has one of the largest selections I have seen on Oahu.
What would any attraction be in Hawaii without coffee? Wailua Roasters, located just minutes away from the Dole Planation on the North Shore of Oahu, sells its coffee in the gift shop. Honestly, it doesn’t get much more local than that!
So, the next time someone asks me if Dole Planation is worth the visit, I will say yes! If you are staying in Waikiki, you will pass it on your way up to the north shore, so you might as well stop here for a quick visit.
Visit the Dole Plantation on Our Oahu Circle Island Tour
If you want to experience all that Hawaii has to offer, including a visit to the Dole Plantation, call us to book our Oahu Circle Island Tour.
For this tour, we have perfected a route that hits the best stops on Oahu. But, we also customize it for our guests’ interests. If there is something on your bucket list, let us know that we will try to make it happen during the tour.
A visit to the Dole Plantation for some Dole Whip is a frequent stop on this tour. Other stops include Iolani Palace, Downtown Honolulu, Haleiwa, Wailua Coffee Farm, Haleiwa Town, Alii Beach to see turtles, and Kawela Bay. You may also visit the Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, where the huge waves are a sight to see during the winter months. Based on your interests, we can also visit the Mac Nut Farm, Shark’s Cove, and Aloha General Shave Ice.
Of course, along the way, you will get some of the best local comfort food Hawaii has to offer, including malasadas, coco puffs, spam musubi, and manapua! Click here for more information about this tour.
Call us today to reserve a spot on our Oahu Circle Island Tour, and let us know that you want to visit the Dole Plantation! We will make it happen!