Time to head to
the countryside and pay a visit to the
laidback Oahu North Shore!
A one hour drive will take you from the bustling Waikiki to
the rural countryside. You know you’re close when you start
passing through the pineapple fields. Continue driving down
the ridge, as you admire the impressive view of the Oahu North
Shore. Roll down your windows, and breathe the fresh cool
salty air, as you arrive at the rustic old Haleiwa Town.
It’s time to slow down and relax, grab a Hawaiian shave ice, check out the Hawaiian art galleries and shops before continuing on to the famous Northshore beaches.
Take a stroll through the Matsumoto’s video, and order a yummy shave ice!
I never get tired visiting North Shore Oahu. There’s a different style and way of life in this part of the island that’s hard to put into words –it’s something you just have to experience to appreciate.
Talking with artist Roy Taisora, who owns his own gallery in the North Shore , I believe he put it best when he advised to “slow down when you arrive in the North Shore and the magic will appear… You will be treated to the small island life”.
I enjoy popping into small but well represented art
into small roadside island cafes, buying trinkets for my little girl
and checking out the surf gear at the rustic surf
Make sure to stop by and visit Roy Taisora’s gallery along with the other half dozen galleries in Haleiwa town, including the famous works of the artist Wyland. If you are interested in picking up a piece of Hawaiian art work, this is the place to do it. You’ll find that it is about 50% less expensive than purchasing it back in Waikiki.
Also make a point to visit renowned artist, Kim Taylor Reece Gallery, outside of Haleiwa, in an area called Sacred Falls, Punaluu.
Kim has captured the beauty of the Hula performance in sepia-toned black and white photography. His enlarged photographs that he lovingly calls murals are very captivating and will leave you with a larger appreciation for what the Hawaiian Hula dancers and their performances are all about.
The Kim Taylor Reece gallery is
about 15 minutes east of Turtle Bay Oahu Resort, and a special treat
Beyond the galleries filled with Hawaiian art work, I love the
character of the old surf
shops with the retired long boards that line
up against the entrance walls. Even if you are not into
surfing, you might appreciate the nostalgia that’s lying around these
There is also a neat surf museum located in Haleiwa Town called the North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum. It captures the history of surfing on Oahu North Shore,
with antique surfboards, ancient artifacts, daily showing of movies and other surf nostalgia.
It’s easy to find the popular North Shore Shrimp Truck, as there are probably about 30 or more spread throughout North Shore-Oahu. They are all about the same so go ahead and stop when you see one so you can fulfill your craving to snack on a bucket of shrimp. The garlic shrimp is a crowd favorite.
Don’t get too full on shrimp because you'll need to save some of your appetite for mouth-watering shave ice!
Make sure you stop at the popular Matsumoto’s Hawaiian Shave Ice shop. A trip to Haleiwa town just isn’t complete without indulging in this ultimate Hawaiian treat.
Matsumoto’s is by far the most famous, but if you wish not to stand in the long line, then jump next door to Aoki’s Hawaiian Shave Ice.
BEST Hawaiian Shave Ice TIP:
Where ever you end up, just make sure you request a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of your cone –trust me, it takes your Hawaiian shave ice experience to a whole new level!
If Hawaiian shave ice just doesn’t cut it for you, then maybe Ted’s Bakery's famous pies just might fulfill that sweet tooth.
Take note that these are not just everyday pies that you can find anywhere, but special pies with Hawaiian local flavors like Haupia (coconut), Chocolate Huapia (most popular) & Pineapple Cheese. Everyone loves the Chocolate Haupia, my family's favorite is the plain Haupia.
I would recommend buying a whole pie versus just a
slice, or eat a slice while you are there, so you still have the
ability to return and buy more before you leave.
Leaving Haleiwa Town, you have two choices as you head out to the beaches.
Turning left and heading west, will take you an isolated and beautiful side of Oahu North Shore called Mokuleia.
Turning right will take you across the famous twin-spanned
which is the gateway to some of Hawaii’s most popular
beaches. Waimea Bay Beach Park, Ehukai Beach Park (Banzai
Pipeline), and Sunset Beach Oahu are the main event in the
wintertime, when the waves are towering at 30 ft plus faces.
Finally, don’t miss a breathtaking Oahu waterfall across the street from Waimea Bay Beach Park. It’s located in the Waimea Valley Audubon Center (formally known and sometimes still referred to as “Waimea Falls Park”).
There is a small entrance fee to these
botanical gardens, but well worth the admission to stroll the grounds
with over 300 species of tropical plants and a stunning view of a 50ft
waterfall at the end of the trail.
Other things to do on Oahu North Shore are: North Shore Scuba Diving, Northshore Golf Courses
Because the attractions are spread through out Oahu North Shore, it's best to rent a car to get around, and see everything on your own time.
There are lots of charter tours available to get you out to the main attractions, but you lose part of the whole feeling of what the North Shore Oahu is about.
Taking the Oahu
bus is also an option, but again, you will lose much time
and off the Oahu bus at destination points. If you choose the
bus as a means of transportation, I would recommend stopping in Old
Haleiwa Town, and then choosing just one of the North Shore beaches to
continue traveling on to.
From Waikiki, take the H-1 Freeway
Take the H-1 Hwy West to the H-2 Hwy North
Follow the H-2 Hwy to the Kamehameha Hwy (hwy 99)
Take Hwy 99 and continue into Haleiwa Town.
If you wish to by pass Haleiwa and head towards the north shore beaches, then continue on Hwy 99 and merge onto Hwy 83, which will take you to the coastline.
As you continue on Hwy 83, you will first encounter Waimea Bay Beach Park, followed by the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach Park), and Sunset Beach Hawaii.
From Waikiki, take the number 98A bus from Waikiki to the Wahiawa
Armory and transfer to Oahu Bus 88A, that will take you out to Haleiwa
Town and to the northshore beaches.
Facilities: Old Haleiwa Town has some of the best Oahu North Shore restaurants and public restrooms. The famous North Shore Beaches and Waimea Falls Park also have facilities available.
Start early as traffic builds through out the day, and plan on staying
out there a full day including sticking around to view the sunset at
one of the beaches -Sunset Beach Hawaii didn’t get its name by chance.
I would also recommend checking out one of the Oahu North Shore restaurants for dinner. This will allow you to let the returning traffic to pass, and give you a chance to enjoy a nice ending to a fun day, versus trying to rush back to Waikiki to get ready for a late dinner.