Quirky Attraction: The Dole Plantation in Hawaii

dole plantation hawaii

The Dole Plantation in Hawaii is pineapple utopia. It’s the place to find all sorts of amazing foods that you never knew you needed, like pineapple popcorn and pineapple salad dressing. These and dozens of other products can be found in the plantation’s gift shop, which offers a mind-blowing selection of pineapple-flavored concoctions.

The plantation runs various tours of the grounds. It’s a fun place to spend an hour or two and definitely one of the must-do activities in the island of Oahu.

Dole Plantation Maze and Garden Tours

garden maze tour

In 1899, James Dole bought a plot of land in central Oahu. He didn’t even know what crops he would plant, but eventually he settled on pineapple, as the climate was ideal. The Dole family eventually purchased land on Lanai and Maui as well, helping the state of Hawaii produce around 80% of the world’s pineapples at one time.

What is now the Dole Plantation began in 1950 as a fruit stand in Dole’s pineapple fields. It was expanded and rebranded as a full-blown tourist attraction in 1989 and is now the second most-popular attraction on the island of Oahu, behind only Pearl Harbor.

lemon lime fields

Visitors have the option of taking any or all of three tour experiences. One is the Pineapple Maze, which they refer to as “the world’s largest maze.” In fact, the Guinness Book of World Records even verified that title in 2008!

It’s a 3-acre maze with 2.5 miles of paths that visitors must navigate to find the exit. The maze contains around 14,000 local plants. The maze was closed during my visit due to heavy rains, so I didn’t get a chance to put my maze skills to use.

pineapple express tour

The Pineapple Express is a 20-minute train tour that describes the history of pineapple growing in Hawaii and weaves through the grounds past all sorts of tropical crop fields. It’s a little cheesy, but in a fun way. Visitors can hear narration for this tour in English, as well as Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

Finally, the Garden Tour is a shorter walking tour through eight gardens, which house fruits and flowers. As of 2018, the tours range from $6-11 each. The plantation also offers a few Combo Tours that combine multiple tours and offer a few bucks’ worth of savings, so be sure to check the full price list to get the best deals.

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Pineapple Foods in the Gift Shop

dole plantation gift shop

The tours are interesting, but the real gold mine here is the gift shop and restaurant. You’ll see hundreds of pineapple-flavored items, more than you could ever imagine.

Next to the gift shop is the Pineapple Grille, where you can buy burgers, sandwiches, and desserts. This is where you find the famous Dole Whip, which is essentially soft-serve pineapple ice cream.

dole whip ice cream

The Dole Whip is delicious, but I recommend not getting the chunked pineapple on top. That ends up being too sweet. Plain whip with no topping is best. Also, the bowls are huge, so you can easily share one with another person. I’m the world’s biggest ice cream addict and I couldn’t finish the regular-sized bowl.

In the gift shop, brace yourself for the crazy variety of products. The products include pineapple soap, pineapple hand lotion, chili pineapple chunks, pineapple pretzel biscuit sticks, pineapple nougat, pineapple shortbread, pineapple coconut balls, chocolate-covered pineapple, pineapple syrup, pineapple mango jam, and pineapple macadamia cookies. Not to mention pineapple glitter candy, cotton candy, jelly beans, gummi bears, and taffy!

Check out the amazing selection of pineapple products that exist in the gift shop. Buy them all if you like!

pineapple syrup pancake mix

pineapple salad dressing

pineapple chocolate crunch

pineapple chunk soap

chili pineapple chunks

If You’re Going: The Dole Plantation in Hawaii

Address: 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786 (Google Map)
Cost: Free to visit the gift shop. Pineapple Express Tour is $11, Pineapple Maze is $8, Garden Tour is $6. Visitors can combine tours for a discount.
When to Visit: Open daily 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Website: www.doleplantation.com
Budget Lodging Nearby: Airport Honolulu Hotel
Upscale Lodging Nearby: The Residences at Waikiki Beach Tower
Further Reading: Lonely Planet Guide to Oahu (Amazon)

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    About Quirky Travel Guy

    Scott Shetler is a Seattle-based freelance writer & fan of indie rock, road trips, ice cream, squirrels on power lines, runaway shopping carts, and six-way intersections. Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, which may earn me a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.

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