View of the Dole Plantation in Oahu Hawaii

A Guide to Visiting the Dole Plantation on Oahu

If you are planning on visiting Oahu’s scenic north shore, you should consider making a stop at Oahu’s popular Dole Plantation. While we generally try to avoid touristy spots in Oahu, we make an exception when it comes to visiting the Dole Plantation. The Dole Plantation can be considered a touristy spot as it is one of the most visited places in Hawaii and a popular tourist destination. Its over 1 million visitors a year can’t be wrong about what a great place the Dole Plantation is to visit. 

But what draws so many visitors to the Dole Plantation every year? There are many things to see and explore at the Dole Plantation. Such as the Dole Plantation Train and the popular Dole Plantation Maze.  It is a great family-friendly thing to do in Oahu and it is a fun place to spend some time. I also think the popular Pineapple Dole Whip has a lot to do with drawing in so many tourists every year. And yes, this is the same Dole Whip available at Disneyland, but it tastes so much better when you get it at the Dole Plantation in Oahu, Hawaii. 

Let’s explore everything you can do and see when visiting Oahu’s popular Dole Plantation. 

View of the grounds at the Dole Plantation
Grounds at the Dole Plantation

History of the Dole Plantation

The Dole pineapple plantation was established by James Drumond Dole in 1900. He believed that Oahu had a lot of potential in agriculture, especially with growing pineapple. He opened the first cannery which transported canned pineapple. The company he established, the Dole Food Company, is known all over the world. The Dole Plantation was initially a fruit stand where people could buy its delicious fruits. It evolved and by 1989 it became the Dole Plantation, offering the best pineapple experience that we know today. 

Visit the Gift Shop at the Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation has an incredible gift shop. You will find many pineapple themed items to purchase. Along with the creative items sold at the gift shop, there are various sweets available for purchase. While you will find candy at the gift shop, the sweets are not limited to just candy. There are dehydrated fruits of different kinds including pineapple. You will also find Waialua Estate chocolate and Waialua Estate Coffee both of which are grown in Oahu’s north shore. There is a small coffee shop in the gift shop where you can purchase a nice hot cup of Waialua Estate coffee. 

Activities at the Dole Plantation

There are several fun activities you can do at the Dole Plantation. The Dole Plantation tours range from going on a train tour of the plantation to making your way through a maze. You can do one or all of the activities at the Dole Plantation. Ticket prices range from $8.00 to $13.75 for the different tours. 

Tours available at the Dole Plantation
Tours available at the Dole Plantation

Make Your Way Through the Pineapple Garden Maze

The Pineapple Garden Maze at the Dole Plantation is the world’s largest maze. It was added to the Guiness Book of World Records in 2008. The maze is over 138,000 square feet in size and has 2.5 miles of paths to explore. As you make your way through the pineapple maze you will see many Hawaiian plants that adorn the maze.

Pineapple Garden Maze sign at the Dole Plantation
Pineapple Garden Maze sign

There are eight secret stations in the maze. The goal is to find each station and stencil the secret emblem for that particular station. There is an app that you can download on your phone that enhances your experience in the maze. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices. The app will track the time spent in the maze and the stations you have found. One tip on using the app is that you should look for the stations in order. The maze is large. Be prepared to spend at least an hour or so going through the maze.  

View of the center of the Pineapple Maze at the Dole Plantation
Center of the Pineapple Maze
View of the center of the Pineapple Maze at the Dole Plantation
Center of the Pineapple Maze
View of the Ni'ihau Secret Station in the Pineapple Maze
Ni’ihau Secret Station

Go for a Ride on the Pineapple Express Train Tour

The Pineapple Express Train Tour takes you through two miles of the Dole Plantation. The narrated tour takes about 20 or so minutes. There are four different trains that take passengers around the plantation. The trains are the Lady Liberty, Pineapple Express, Aloha Express, and the Ohana Express.

Entrance to the Pineapple Express Train
The Pineapple Express Train Tour
View of the Ohana Express Train
The Ohana Express train
View of the Lady Liberty train
The Lady Liberty train

On the narrator tour, you will learn about the history of the Dole Plantation and how James Drummond Dole founded the Dole Company. As you pass by the fields, you will see some of the equipment that was used in the plantation for planting, picking, and processing pineapples. You will pass through large pineapple fields and learn about other fruits grown on the plantation such as papaya, banana, mango, pomelo, lime, sugar cane, and avocado to name a few. 

Dole Plantation grounds from the Pineapple Express Train tour
Plantation grounds from the train tour
View of Pineapples growing on the Dole Plantation
Pineapple fields
View of a coffee field from the Pineapple Express Train tour on the Dole Plantation
Coffee Field

Go for a Stroll in the Plantation Garden Tour

Near the Pineapple Express Train ride is the Plantation Garden Tour. The Plantation Garden is a great place to take a leisurely walking tour exploring all of the Hawaiian plants, flowers, and fruits growing in the garden. On the beautiful plantation garden tour you will see eight different gardens that represent the different types of flora that grow in Hawaii. 

Entrance to the Plantation Garden Tour
Entrance to the Plantation Garden Tour
Pond in the Dole Plantation Garden
Pond in the Dole Plantation Garden

The eight gardens are the North Shore, Hibiscus, Native Species, Lei, Irrigation, Bromeliads, Ti Leaf, and Life on the Plantation. As you stroll through each garden you will see plants such as the various fruits and coffee that are grown on the north shore of Oahu. The many different types of Hibiscus flowers in the Hibiscus garden, flowers that are used in making Leis, and native species of plants that are only found in Hawaii. 

View of the Dole Plantation Garden
Dole Plantation Garden
View of a Hibiscus flower at the Dole Plantation Garden
Hibiscus Flower
View of a ginger plant at the Dole Plantation Garden
Ginger Plant

Grab a Bite to Eat at the Plantation Grille

You might feel hungry after a day of exploring everything there is to see at the Dole Plantation. Luckily, you can grab a bite to eat at the Plantation Grille. Here you will find regular items such as hot dogs and hamburgers and french fries. A few options have pineapple added to them for an even better treat such as the Pineapple Chili Dog. If you are looking for a more traditional Hawaiian fare, they offer items such as a Kalua Pork plate, Loco Moco, and Teriyaki Chicken. There are tables located inside near the Plantation Grille and several tables located on the outside patio where you can enjoy your meal.

View of the patio at the Dole Plantation
Outdoor patio at the Dole Plantation

Have a Dole Whip at the Plantation Grille

You definitely do not want to skip trying the Dole Whip when visiting the Dole Plantation. You can order the Dole Whip in a regular cone, waffle cone, or a cup and you can add fresh pineapple topping, and pineapple juice as well. There are several different ways to have the Dole Whip. And each one is delicious! 

A Dole Whip with pineapple juice and pineapple topping from the Dole Plantation
A Dole Whip with pineapple juice and pineapple topping

Is a Visit to the Dole Plantation Worth It?

Yes, visiting the Dole Plantation is absolutely worth it! You will spend a day or few hours learning about an important Hawaiian export, participating in a variety of activities and tasting one of the best ice creams around. There are many things to do in Oahu and visiting the Dole Plantation will be a memorable experience during your Hawaii vacation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We added a few answers to questions we thought you might ask. We hope you visit and have a great time at the Dole Plantation.  

Are Reservations Required at the Dole Plantation?

No, reservations are not needed to visit the Dole Plantation. You can visit the Dole Plantation anytime during normal business hours.

Do You Need to Book a Tour to Visit the Dole Plantation?

No, you do not need to book a tour to visit the Dole Plantation. You can visit the Dole Plantation on your own. However, if you do book a tour, such as a Circle Island tour, you will more than likely stop at the Dole Plantation during the tour. 

Are There Things to Do for Free at the Dole Plantation?

Yes, you can walk around the gift shop and the outside area of the Dole Plantation. You do not need to purchase anything if you do not want to. There is a fish pond near the exit of the Pineapple Express Train where you can see and feed fish. You can also see some pineapples and coffee trees that are in the open area near the Pineapple Express Train. You will also find a couple of local vendors set up outside and you can walk around to see the items they are selling.

When is the Best Time to Go to the Dole Plantation?

There are several tours that visit the Dole Plantation on a daily basis. Therefore the plantation can get very busy. Usually, the Dole Plantation is one of the stops on the tour so the tourists arrive for a set period of time. This happens throughout the day. The times when there are less people from tours are in the morning and in the afternoon. This is your best bet if you want a less crowded experience at the Dole Plantation. If you arrive in the afternoon and would like to get tickets for one of the attractions such as the train, you will want to note when the last entrance time is to your attraction. This way you will not miss your adventure.

How Much Time Should You Spend at the Dole Plantation?

How much time you spend at the Dole Plantation is completely up to you. You can spend as little or as much time as you want to walk around the grounds. One of the nice things about the Dole Plantation is that there is no entrance fee to enter. You are free to explore the grounds. If you just want to get a Dole Whip and walk around the gift shop or explore the outside, you might not spend much time at the Dole Plantation. The main factor in deciding how long to visit is whether or not you would like to do a paid activity. It is really all up to you. We have spent as little as 40 minutes and as long as 3 to 4 hours at the Dole Plantation. Sometimes, running in and just grabbing a Dole Whip is the goal. 

How Do You Get to the Dole Plantation? 

The Dole Plantation is located at 64-1550 Kamehameha Highway in Wahiawa. If you are coming from Waikiki, you will take H-1 West and then transfer to the H-2 North. On the H-2 you will take Exit 8 to Wahiawa. Then continue to Kamehameha Highway (99) to the Dole Plantation.

How Far is the Dole Plantation from Waikiki?

The Dole Plantation is about 27 miles from the Waikiki area. It will take about 40 minutes to drive to the Dole Plantation from Waikiki.

How Far is Aulani to the Dole Plantation?

The Dole Plantation is about 21 miles from the Aulani Disney Resort. It will take about 30 minutes to drive to the Dole Plantation from Kapolei where Aulani is located.  

Is There Free Parking at the Dole Plantation?

Yes, parking at the Dole Plantation is free. The lot is fairly large, but if you go during high season, Hawaii’s prime travel season, you might have to wait a little for a parking spot. However, each time we have visited, we have not had any problems finding a parking spot.

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