While many are still family-owned working cattle ranches, an increasing number of Hawaii ranches are evolving into full-fledged outdoor adventure centers, offering a host of activities, team-building challenges and venue sites for groups.
“Hawaii ranches have long been a staple for trail rides or a country and western, rodeo-style evening, but now they offer so many more ways to do customized programs,” says Tony Vericella, president of Island Partners Hawaii, a local DMC and meeting planning firm. “They have expanded their product offerings with ATV rides, ziplines and even the chance to learn about Hawaii ranching traditions and how they contribute to the local farm-to-table movement.”
One thing that Vericella especially likes about ranches is that they offer a variety of experiences to suit the preferences and fitness levels of various attendees.
“Any group is going to have different types of people—you can’t assume that everyone is going to want to zipline or go horseback riding,” he says. “You can also offer more passive activities such as a ranch tour or even visiting film and TV locations, which you can do at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu. Then you can bring the group back together for lunch.”
While ranches can be used for evening events, they usually make more sense for daytime use, according to Vericella.
“For evening, it can get expensive as you have to bring a lot of the elements in yourself, such as lighting,” he says. “And the ranch may be 30 or 40 miles from the hotel, so you may not want to transport people back and forth at night.”
Group-friendly ranches can be found on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. Here are a few of the most versatile.