Waimea/Kamuela

It’s paniolo (cowboy) country, all velvety green hills, rolling pastures and frequent rainbows from the upcountry mists. While Waimea is the town’s older name, Kamuela came into use in the early 20th century, when the postal service needed to distinguish this town from others so named throughout Hawai‘i. The postmaster’s name, Samuel, was adopted in its Hawaiian form, and Waimea acquired its nickname: Kamuela. Parker Ranch, one of the oldest and largest cattle ranches in the country, is a Waimea signature, and so is Mauna Kea, its summit and observatory everywhere in view from the town. Known for horseback riding, rodeos and parades, Waimea is also a haven for discerning diners, shoppers and art lovers, many of whom visit from the Kohala Coast resorts. At the Kahilu Theater, shows range from Hawaiian slack key guitar to jazz and extraordinary hula.