When people seek a quiet, charming, and restful spot in Hawaii, they don’t always think of Oahu. Images of Honolulu and the hustle bustle of city life usually come to mind, but while the island is relatively small, it has a lot of dimension. With the south shores crammed with high rises, the east shores filled with big homes, and the west shores more of a local spot, you may be wondering if there’s a place for you at all. That brings us to the North Shore.
The North Shore is comprised of a bunch of small towns all along the ocean with a laid back country vibe. The most well-known of these towns is Haleiwa. Picture a two lane road that runs through an old town filled with shops (mostly surf shops), restaurants, and activities. Follow this two lane road and you’ll hit some pretty incredible spots. Below is a round up of some of the must-see and must-do things on the North Shore.
What to Do
The North Shore is known for some of the best surfing spots in the world. While those spots are best enjoyed by seasoned pros, there’s no shortage of surf schools that will teach you how to master the baby waves. Catching your first wave is such an inexplicable thrill and to say you learned to surf in Hawaii will give you some real street cred.
One of the coolest things about Hawaii is how close you can be to a beautiful hiking trail without even knowing it. Some of them begin next to someone’s driveway or in a little opening in the trees. One of the best hikes on the North Shore is the Ehukai Pillbox Hike which begins adjacent to the parking lot at Sunset Elementary School, directly across the street from the legendary Banzai Pipeline. At the top, you’re rewarded with incredible views of the coast, including a bird’s eye view of the surfing below.
Ehukai Pillbox Hike
59-178 Ke Nui Rd, Haleiwa
With a river running directly through Haleiwa, it’s easy to rent a board or take a tour. Paddle out under the Rainbow Bridge and be rewarded with sea turtles swimming directly underneath you.
Surf N Sea
62-595 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa
Where to Eat
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
There are no words to describe how tasty these shrimp are! Garlicky scampi butter soaked into every shrimp and bit of white rice to make sure an unforgettable (and supremely messy!) meal.
66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa
The Beach House
As one of the more “fancier” (read: indoor space, restrooms, and cloth napkins), The Beach House is not to be missed, especially at sunset. Have a seat next to the open doors and toast to the end of another day.
62-540 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa
Açaí bowls are no joke in Hawaii and you’ve truly never had one until you’ve had one there. Filled to the brim with açaí, pitaya (dragon fruit), bee pollen, mango, honey, blueberries, spirulina, etc. you’ll forget that what you’re eating is actually good for you!
66-030 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa
For me, no trip to the North Shore is complete until I’ve been to Kono’s. Known for their bombers (burritos) that are stuffed full of things like 12-hour slow roasted kalua pork, avocado, potatoes, eggs, and cheese. Wash it all down with a milkshake and you’re good to go.