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Oahu North Shore - Step into the Country

Time to head to the countryside and pay a visit to the laidback Oahu North Shore!  Just a one hour drive will take you from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki to the rural countryside. You know you’re close when you pass the Dole Plantation, and travel through the pineapple fields.

Continue driving down the road, as the impressive views of the North Shore open up before your eyes. Roll down your windows, and breathe the fresh cool salty air as you arrive at the rustic town of Old Haleiwa.

Dole Plantation - First North Shore Stop

Dole Plantation Entrance

You will first come upon the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa, just before you head down the coast into Haleiwa.  Consider a stop here to grab a famous Pineapple Dole Whip and ride a neat train into the pineapple fields and learn some interesting history.

There are some beautiful botanical gardens to wander through, lots of tempting shopping, a good cafeteria with yummy local eats, and a huge pineapple maze to get lost in.

Historic Haleiwa Town

It’s time to slow down and relax when you reach the Historic Haleiwa TownGrab a Hawaiian shave ice, check out the Hawaiian art galleries, and shops before continuing on to the famous Oahu North Shore beaches.

Aokis Shave Ice is a popular and beloved spot in Oahu, serving up refreshing and flavorful shaved ice treats that are perfect for beating the island's heat.

Haleiwa Town is a charming and laid-back North Shore community in Oahu, known for its surf culture, boutique shops, and delicious local eateries.

I never get tired visiting the North Shore on Oahu and exploring all it has to offer.  There’s a laid back island 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.

North Shore Art Galleries

The North Shore Art Galleries showcase a diverse range of artistic talent, from local artisans to internationally renowned artists, offering a captivating experience for art enthusiasts.

There's a good handful of art galleries spread through out the town, showing off some colorful artworks, including the famous marine life artworks of Wyland, being displayed at his own gallery.

If you are interested in picking up a piece of original Hawaiian art work, this is the place to do it, and possibly less expensive than displayed in Waikiki.

And while one of my favorite photographers closed his Kim Taylor Reece Gallery, you can still find Kim's beautiful black & white photographs online capturing the magic of hula.

Line up for Hawaiian Shave Ice

Matsumoto Rainbow Shave Ice in a bowlMatsumoto Rainbow Shave Ice

If you didn't stop at the Dole Plantation for their famous Pineapple Dole Whip, then make sure you line up 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.

Hawaiian Shave Ice is a delightful frozen treat consisting of finely shaved ice topped with a variety of colorful and flavorful syrups, creating a refreshing and tropical dessert experience.

Matsumoto’s is by far the most famous, but if you wish not to stand in the long line, then I recommend walking across the street 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!

Surf Shops and Surf Museum

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 exterior walls.  Even if you are not into surfing, you might appreciate the nostalgia that’s lying around these shops.

The Surf N Sea Shop is a legendary surf store on the North Shore of Oahu, offering a wide selection of surfboards, beachwear, and accessories for both locals and visitors to enjoy the island's famous waves.

The Oahu North Shore is loaded with major attractions, so why not consider a small group tour that takes you through old town Haleiwa, step onto famous beaches like Waimea Bay, Pipeline, and Sunset Beach, and maybe see some green sea turtles along the way!  Sign up and learn more...

Oahu North Shore Restaurants

The North Shore Restaurants offer a delectable array of dining options, ranging from casual food trucks serving fresh seafood to upscale eateries showcasing farm-to-table cuisine, satisfying every palate.

Don’t fill up too much on garlic shrimp, because you'll want to save your appetite for some really good Oahu North Shore restaurants.

Most of them are centralized around Haleiwa with the shops and galleries, but other noteworthy eateries are in or near Turtle Bay including Roy's Beach House.  And Kahuku now has a food truck community near the shrimp farms, with lots of choices to choose from.

Whether you decide to keep it simple with a Hawaiian Plate lunch, or dine watching the sunset at the Haleiwa Beach House, there are a lot of great choices to choose from.

Toa Luau at Waimea Bay

Toa Luau at Waimea Valley offers an immersive experience of traditional Hawaiian culture, featuring vibrant performances, delicious Polynesian dinner, and free admission to the beautiful Waimea Valley.

Tie on a visit to Waimea Falls Park with an evening luau dinner with cultural demonstrations and Hawaiian entertainment.  The Toa Luau includes your entrance to Waimea Valley & Waterfall.

Just make sure you give yourself enough time to get back in time for the festivities.  Note that this luau only takes place on Mon - Wed.  Learn more and reserve a spot...

Oahu North Shore Beaches

Known for it's incredible 7 miracle miles of beautiful sand, there are some great North Shore beaches worth exploring.  Wintertime brings big waves to this region, and surfers from around the world flock to grand Waimea Bay, stunning Sunset Beach, and the famous Banzai Pipeline.

Overlooking Waimea Bay in Oahu's North Shore, with its vibrant blue waters, sandy beach, rock formations, and a distant lighthouse.

The most popular north shore spot is Laniakea Beach located just outside Haleiwa, where you can see large green sea turtles in the area.  Sharks Cove is also a neat place to explore the tidepools and one of the best Oahu snorkeling areas.

Head towards Mokuleia if you're seeking isolated stripes of warm sand to nestle your toes in. Check out these Oahu North Shore Beaches along with more gems along the coastline.

Surfing Haleiwa & Stand Up Paddleboarding the River

Stand Up Paddleboarding on the North Shore offers a serene and enjoyable way to explore the crystal-clear waters, scenic coastlines, and possibly even encounter marine life in a peaceful and engaging manner.

Learning to surf and riding waves is not just a water activity that takes place in Waikiki, but is widely available on the North Shore as well. 

There are spots along the Haleiwa Beach shoreline that provide ideal waves for surfing and paddle boarding for all skill levels.  Sign up for a 2 hr surf lesson

Aside from paddling on the beach, another fun and unique experience is to take a journey along the Haleiwa River on a stand up paddleboard.   Reserve a private Stand Up Paddleboard tour

The North Shore Snorkeling Tour offers an exhilarating and immersive experience, allowing participants to explore the vibrant underwater world of Oahu's North Shore and encounter diverse marine life in their natural habitat.

There is a 90 minute guided snorkeling tour in Turtle Cove, that includes a professional instructor, equipment, and safety lesson.  Explore the open water in search of green sea turtles and other sea life.  See other awesome snorkeling spots around Oahu here...

Oahu North Shore Hikes & Waterfalls

Waimea Falls is a stunning and tranquil waterfall nestled within a lush botanical garden, providing a picturesque setting for swimming, hiking, and immersing oneself in the beauty of nature.

A great way to explore the rustic countryside is through some adventurous Oahu North Shore Hikes.  Climb to the top ridge in the Sunset area and checkout the old Ehukai Pillboxes, wander through a tropical botanical garden that leads to the grand Waimea Falls, or trek beyond where the road ends at Kaena Point and discover an secluded bird sanctuary.  Discover these and other fun hikes on the north side.

Experience the North Shore from above

The North Shore Helicopter Ride provides an exhilarating aerial experience, allowing passengers to soar above the stunning landscapes of Oahu's North Shore, including iconic surf breaks, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls.

One of the most amazing experiences is taking it all in from above!  Words can't explain flying just a few hundred feet in an open-door helicopter above the magnificent coastline... 

taking in panoramic views spanning from Turtle Bay to Kaena Point, including Waimea Bay, the famous Banzai Pipeline, Haleiwa Town, and much, much more. 

Explore a once in an life time experience...

Kahuku Countryside and Beyond

While most visitors head to the North Shore to visit Haleiwa Town and the popular surfing beaches, I like to head towards the tip of Oahu North Shore and beyond.  You'll notice there's a lot less traffic and development, and a lot more country greenery to see.

The Oahu Shrimp Trucks are a mouthwatering culinary experience, serving up delicious and flavorful shrimp dishes that have become a must-try for visitors seeking a taste of the island's seafood delights.

But the adventure doesn't stop once you reach the north tip, where you'll find the Turtle Bay Resort and its extensive natural preserve estate.

Kahuku Shrimp Farms

The Kahuku Shrimp Trucks offer a delectable selection of fresh and succulent shrimp dishes, showcasing the flavors of the North Shore and satisfying the cravings of seafood enthusiasts.

Just beyond the northern tip, you will discover the original 2 shrimp farms in a small town call Kahuku.  Between Romy's Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp and Fumi's Kahuku Shrimp farms, you can sample some of the islands best and freshest garlic shrimp!

Take a tour or simply sit on the outdoor picnic tables and enjoy!  You will also find some shrimp trucks along the way, including the famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, where you write you name with a black sharpie...if you are able to find a spot to write it on!

Zipline Across the North Shore

The Oahu North Shore Zipline provides an exhilarating adventure, allowing participants to soar through the lush tropical landscape and enjoy breathtaking aerial views of the island's natural beauty.

Embark on an exhilarating adventure ziplining above the North Shore’s countryside. The feeling the adrenaline rush through your veins as you glide down Oahu's longest ziplines.

Your journey begins at Climb Works Keana Farms with a thrilling ATV ride to the mountain's summit, where breathtaking panoramic views of the majestic ocean and magnificent mountains of the renowned North Shore await you.

The ziplines, spanning from 500 to an awe-inspiring 2,400 feet, offer a perfect combination of excitement and tranquility, as they are designed to provide a remarkably quiet and serene experience.

Brace yourself for an array of surprises along the way, including rappels, sky bridges, and scenic boardwalks, adding an extra element of thrill and fun to your adventure.  Reserve your spot now...

Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a captivating and immersive cultural experience that showcases the rich heritage and traditions of the Pacific islands through interactive exhibits, traditional performances, and authentic cuisine.

Just below Kahuku in Laie awaits the Polynesian Cultural Center.  This cultural center opened in 1963 to the public with over 42 acres to explore today. This Oahu attraction offers an incredible experience!

You could easily spend all day here exploring the many different Polynesian cultural areas, shows, and activities.

You'll want to stick around for the traditional luau, and also get tickets to their amazing night show called Ha "Breath of Life".  This Broadway-like production is a one of a kind experience, high energy, and will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Experience Kualoa Ranch - Windward Countryside

Kualoa Ranch is the chosen spot on Oahu for filming box office movie hits such as Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, and famous TV shows like Lost, and Hawaii Five-O.  And touring these valleys are a blast via ATV adventures, horseback rides, trolley tours and more...

Today, Kualoa Ranch attracts thousands of visitors to not only see the dramatic backdrops of famous movies, but also to engage in exciting of adventures in the vast park grounds. Spend a day riding ATVs, horseback riding, kayaking to a secret island, or flying across the tropical jungle on ziplines!

Where to Stay in North Shore Oahu

How to Get There

Haleiwa on the North Shore is a charming and vibrant town that embodies the laid-back surf culture of Hawaii, with its quaint shops, delicious eateries, and beautiful beaches.

Because the attractions are spread throughout Oahu North Shore, it's best to rent a car to get around, and see everything on your own time.

There are plenty of charter tours available to get you out to the main attractions, but if you want to enjoy the laid back island life, having your own car may be a better option so you don't feel rushed and you can take your time going from one spot to another.  Just get started early!

Taking the Oahu bus is also an option, but again, you will lose much time getting on and off the 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 to.

By Car:

Directions:  From Waikiki, take the H-1 Freeway headed West…

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 bypass Haleiwa and head straight 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.

Discount Oahu car rentals offer the best deals and a variety of vehicles to choose from, allowing you to explore the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, at an affordable price.

Need a good rental car option for the day?  Whether you would like to visit a beach, a popular Oahu attraction, or explore the island for just a day, consider these great, discounted rent-a-car rates with Discount Hawaii Car Rental.  They also have great packages for your entire trip...

Oahu North Shore Map

By Oahu Bus:

From Waikiki, take the #20 Oahu Bus to the Ala Moana Center and transfer to the #52 bus that will take you to Old Town Haleiwa in the North Shore.  You can transfer to either Oahu Bus 88A or 60 that travels further to the popular North Shore beaches.

Note  88A travels from the Ala Moana Center to the North Shore and backdown the Windward (East) side of the island.

Facilities:  Old Haleiwa Town has some of the best Oahu North Shore restaurants and public restrooms.  North Shore beaches and Waimea Falls Park have facilities available.

Oahu North Shore Visiting Tips:

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.

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