North Shore of Oahu is a popular place to visit when coming to the Hawaiian islands. Providing an escape from the high-rises of Honolulu and overrun tourist spots of Waikiki, North Shore is well known for its wide open spaces and massive waves. There’s plenty to see and do in the area as we explore a few of them here.
Haleiwa is a popular little surf town only about a one hour drive from Waikiki. It’s the largest town on North Shore and is probably considered the go-to place for most travelers visiting the island. Haleiwa has lots of locally owned shops you can visit. Satisfy your hunger cravings by ordering some delicious plate lunches at the many food trucks found right on the beach. One of those you don’t want to miss is Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. And be sure to cool down with a big cup of shave ice from Matsumoto’s.
Do you want to stay overnight? Check out Backpackers Vacation Inn. A rustic little hostel located right on the beach, Backpackers offers dorm-style accommodations in cabins as well as private studios. There’s plenty of things to do in the area including surfing, biking, hiking, sailing, diving, and much more. Or just hang at the hostel and meet new friends from all over the world.
Take a break from hostelling and get closer to nature. Try some camping under the night sky of this beautiful island. You can almost always find a secluded spot to pitch a tent along the many miles of beaches. But if designated camping sites are more of what you want, you will need to obtain a permit from the County of Honolulu.
Don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a permit? Try a private campground instead. We always recommend Malaekahana Beach Campground. No permit is required. Camping spots are very affordable. And there’s plenty to do in the area including stand up paddle, surfing, and kayaking.
Speaking of surfing, the North Shore of Oahu is known for its massive waves during the winter months which brings many of the pro-surfers to the island. Banzai Pipeline is the most popular spot for surfing these waves. It’s also home of the many surf competitions that happen on Oahu.
Vans Triple Crown of Surfing starts off in early November and goes to the middle of December. It’s a combination of four different events at three different locations, with the finals happening at Banzai Pipeline. And then January and February bring us the Volcom Pipe Pro, also held at the Banzai. Volcom is a bit less touristy but offers the same excitement as other surf events.
For the brave at heart, try some skydiving on the North Shore offering birds-eye views of the beautiful landscape and deep blue ocean. All air tours happen at Dillingham Airfield which offers many acres of open space giving you great opportunity to explore the North Shore from the skies.
There are two main skydiving companies on the island: Skydive Hawaii and Pacific Skydiving. Both offer the same adrenaline rush you’ll find nowhere else. Check their individual websites to find out which one has the better deals. You can also receive special discounts if you’re a student or military.
Okay. Maybe that was too much adrenaline for you and you want some relaxing time at the beach instead? No problem. There’s plenty of beaches on North Shore where you can do just that.
Waimea Bay is the place to go to watch more of the pro surfers during the winter, but it turns into a playful beach park during the summer.
Laniakea Beach, more commonly known as Turtle Beach, is the place to go if you’re looking for green sea turtles. They can usually be found just lying on the beach catching some sun.
Pupekea is a must if you’re looking for great snorkeling spots, but only in the summer as waves are pretty dangerous in the winter. Two areas of Pupekea that are popular for snorkeling are Shark’s Cove and Three Tables.
Sunset Beach also offers some amazing snorkeling. But it’s a great way to end your day too. Just as the name implies – you can catch a beautiful Hawaiian sunset at this beach.
And there are lots more beaches to explore. But these are probably the highlights of North Shore. Just be sure you get away from the city for a bit and head north to explore a completely different part of the island. You’ll be glad you did.
Image By: Mosaic Traveler