The following places are off limits to Tour Companies: (This means All tour companies. If you find a tour company that offers to take you to these places, they are probably breaking the law.)
Kailua Beach Park,
Kalama Beach Park,
Commercial activities, including recreational stops by commercial tour
companies, are not allowed at any time at city owned or operated beach rights-
of-way and easements from Lanikai to Kapoho Point (Castle Point).
(This covers All of the beaches in the town of Kailua. In 2012, the town of Kailua got a law passed known as Bill 11 (2012) which makes it illegal for commercial activities to go to all 3 of these beaches, due to the overcrowding of the beaches and parking. The residents there are very vigilant and will photograph and turn in any violators.)
Kaupo (Baby Makapu’u),
Kaiona Beach Park,
Waimanalo Beach Park,
Bellows Field Beach Park
(All of the beaches in Waimanalo are now off limits.
These beaches are part of the Hawaiian Homestead Lands and is owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The beach parks are managed by the City & County of Honolulu. Commercial activities are required to have a permit from the Parks Department to go to any of the City & County beach parks, however the Parks Department is not allowed to give permits to commercial activities to go to these beach parks since they are owned by the DHHL. January of 2017, this was codified into law as Bill 8 (2015).)
(Together, Bills 11 and 8 above, and Bill 34 below have made 10 miles of coastline on the east shore of Oahu off limits to Commercial Activities.)
Waiale’e Beach Park,
Sunset Beach Park,
‘Ehukai Beach Park,
Pupukea Beach Park,
Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park,
Kaiaka Bay Beach Park,
and the undeveloped portions of Haleiwa Beach Park adjacent to Pua’ena Point,
or any of the city-owned or operated beach rights-of-ways and easments from Sunset Point to Kaiaka Point.
(So that makes more than 8 miles of coastline on the North Shore off limits to Commercial Activities,
from Sunset Beach, all the way through Haleiwa to Kaiaka Point, and even Waiale’e Beach which is between Sunset Beach and Turtle Bay.
This ordinance went into effect December 16th, 2021 by the passage of Bill 34 (2021).
Note that Commercial Activities includes more than just stops by tour companies, that also includes any paid activity such as Surf Lessons, or Kayak or Stand Up Paddle board rentals, snorkeling, scuba, etc…)
Hunananiho formerly Waimanalo Bay State Recreation Area
(Ultimately this beach was made off limits by Bill 34 (2021) which went into effect Dec 16, 2021
January of 2018 Bill 93 (2017) was passed which required a permit for commercial activities to go to this beach. The permit would have cost $165 per van, per month, and limited to up to 5 vans no bigger than 15 passenger, and not allowed on weekends or holidays, but no permits were ever issued, pending new Rules on the issuance of permits. Bill 77 (2020) was introduced which would make it illegal for tour companies to stop at Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, which would overturn Bill 93.
Ultimately this beach was made off limits by Bill 34 (2021) thus making 10 miles of coastline from Makapu’u to Castle Point off limits to commercial activities.)
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden,
Koko Crater Botanical Garden
(These are 2 of the 4 botanical gardens maintained by the City and County of Honolulu, however commercial tours are not allowed there even with the Parks permit from the City.)
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail / Queens Bath
(This is both Hawaiian Homestead Land and a State Park, and Commercial Activities are not allowed at State parks.
This area is part of Ka’iwi State Scenic Shoreline.
The sign at the entrance says No Commercial Activities.)
Ahupua’a O Kahana State Park,
Ka’ena Point State Park,
Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area,
La’ie Point State Wayside,
Malaekahana State Recreation Area,
Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site,
Pu’u ‘Ualaka State Wayside (Tantalus Lookout, upper area),
Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site,
Wa’ahila Ridge State Recreation Area
(These areas are off limits because they are State parks where commercial activities are not allowed. In general, commercial activities such as tour companies are not allowed at any of the State parks, or State waysides.)
Punchbowl Crater National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific: Tour companies are only allowed to drive in, do a loop, and drive out. No stopping or unloading. You can’t get out of the vehicle. There is a new visitor center outside of the gates, tour companies are not allowed there either.
Hiking trails: There are 34 hiking trails on Oahu that are kept accessible through the Na Ala Hele Trail & Access Program through the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Only 7 of these trails are available to commercial activities with a Permit from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Kealia trail and access road,
Hauula Loop trail,
Maakua Ridge trail,
Maunawili trail and access road,
Kuliouou Valley and Ridge trails,
Kalawahine trail to Pauoa Flats,
Manoa Falls trail.
In order for tour companies to take you hiking on these trails, they need to have the Permit from DLNR, and pay a fee, per person, online, in advance.
Other unsanctioned trails that lead to waterfalls and overlooks usually traverse land that requires permission from private property owners or the Board of Water Supply as they traverse watersheds that supply the island’s drinking water.
Your best bet for a hike to a waterfall is at Waimea Falls Park where you pay an entry fee of about $20 per person to walk the paved path through the Botanical Garden to the waterfall at the end of the 3/4 mile path. Most other waterfalls on the island are a 1 to 3 mile hike through dense jungle and muddy trails. There are only a few waterfalls that are visible from the road.
Stops at City & County beach parks require a permit from the parks department.
There is a gray area that allows tour vehicles to stop at the beach parks for up to 15 minutes for things like using the restroom. However that does not apply to the beach parks listed above and below that were made off limits by bills 11, 8, and 34, where you can not stop at all.
The permit from the Parks Department allows Commercial Stops for up to 90 minutes.
Recently the Parks Department re-wrote the Rules on the issuance of these permits that makes them harder to get, and pretty useless even if you are able to get one.
These new Rules were approved in September 2020.
The Parks Department has divided the island into 5 districts. They will issue up to 5 permits per district. If more than 5 tour companies apply for a permit for the same district, then it goes to a lottery system.
Under the new rules, the permit is only good for 1 of the tour company’s vehicles. So in total, only 25 tour vehicles on the entire island would be permitted to make commercial stops at any of the City & County beach parks.
The way that the 5 districts are divided up, one of the 5 districts, District 4, contains about 50% of the coastline of the island, from Makapu’u on the East side, along the North Shore to Ka’ena Point at the North West tip of the island. But District 4 also contains the 10 miles of coastline on the east side that is off limits, as well as 8 miles of the North Shore that is off limits. The other 4 districts are just not as desirable to get a permit for as there are not many good places for a tour company to stop.
The following stops require a fee which is not included in the price of this tour:
Byodo-In Japanese Buddhist Temple: about $5 per person.
The Pali Lookout:
Effective November 1, 2020, The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has increased parking fees for the
Pali Lookout (Nu’uanu Pali Wayside) Parking area as follows:
Non-Resident Auto Parking – $7.00
Commercial Van 1-7 Passenger – $15.00
Commercial Van/Bus 8-25 Passengers – $30.00
Commercial Bus 26+ Passenger – $50.00
Diamond Head Crater:
OPEN: Thurs., Fri., Sat., & Sun. 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, Gates Close = 6:00 pm, CLOSED: Mon., Tue., & Wed., CLOSED: Christmas & New Years
Residents = No Charge w/Hawaii ID or DL
Non-Residents = $5
Resident = No Charge with ID
Non-Resident = $10 Per Vehicle
Commercial vehicles fees:
1-7 Passenger Vehicles = $25
8-25 Passenger Vehicles = $50
26+ Passenger Vehicles = $90
Ubers, Lift, and Taxis = $5 to drop off inside the crater.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) implemented a new reservation portal for out-of-state visitors and active PUC motor carriers visiting Diamond Head State Monument.
Beginning May 12, 2022, PUC motor carriers wishing to access Diamond Head State Monument must be registered with DLNR’s Division of State Parks at https://gostateparkspuc.hawaii.gov/.
More information about the reservation system can be found on DLNR’s Diamond Head State Monument website at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument/ or DLNR’s news release.
(As of this update January 4, 2022, Hanauma Bay is still not open to Commercial Activities, and a Reservation is required for entrance, with exception for local residents.)
With the exception of a 15 minute stop at the top viewing area. It’s a $500 fine if tour companies are caught dropping off or picking up customers anywhere within the park.
City Council passed Bill 44 (2020) in Oct 2020 which requires a fee for tour vehicles to enter the park at Hanauma Bay.
The fee is:
$10 for vehicles with capacity of 1 – 7 people,
$20 with vehicles with capacity of 8 – 25 people,
$40 for vehicles with capacity of 26 or more people.
By City Ordinance, they only get to stop there for a maximum of 15 minutes, and not allow their customers to go down to the beach.
However, at this time, it is not open at all to tour vehicles, taxis, the Bus, or Ubers, etc, and you must have a reservation in advance.
New restrictive rules for Hanauma Bay as of December 2, 2020:
1. Hanauma Bay will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2. Only 720 will be allowed into the bay each of those days, with the last entry at 2 p.m. each day.
3. All face mask mandates must be followed within Hanauma Bay.
4. Fees for nonresidents to park and enter the nature preserve has been increased to $3 for malihini parking, and $12 for entry of nonresidents older than 12 years old. KamaÊ»aina and keiki under 12 remain free. Parking also remains at $1.
5. Commercial activities in all capacities will not be allowed inside Hanauma Bay. This includes taxis, shuttles, buses, and tour operators like sightseeing, snorkel, or scuba tours.
6. The City bus will not be operating within Hanauma Bay.
7. Basic facilities are operational within Hanauma Bay. This includes the showers, bathrooms, parking lot, theatre, and beach.
8. Everyone going down to the beach will be required to watch the educational video before descending. You cannot skip the video, even if you have watched it before.
9. The gift shop, food concession, snorkel and locker rental facilities will remain closed. The public must bring in their own snorkel equipment.
As of Jan 9, 2021, Walk-ins are no longer allowed at Hanauma Bay.
If you would like to go to these places, try my App. It’s only $4.99 and has 30 stops. It uses GPS to guide you to the location, and then has a narration at each stop to tell you about the place, as if you had a tour guide with you.
These places may be off limits to commercial activities like tour companies, but they are not off limits for individuals with their own car, or a rental car to go to.
Here’s the app:
The Out of Bounds Tour