Want to spend some time on North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii? There are so many things to do on North Shore you will not be disappointed!
You are definitely in the right spot and this post will help you plan all of your North Shore Oahu activities.
North Shore of Oahu extends the 17-mile coastal area between Ka’ena Point to the west and eastward to Kahuku Point. It is most famous for its surfing, snorkeling, and beaches.
There are so many things to do on the North Shore! You can easily spend a few days exploring this part of Oahu. It is not as crowded as the Waikiki area so you can really get that laid back Hawaiian vibe.
Let’s explore all the North Shore Oahu activities!
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Directions to the North Shore Hawaii
If you are coming from Waikiki there are actually two routes that you can take to get to the North Shore. We took the fastest route getting there but decided to take the coastal route back.
I recommend the coastal route because it is absolutely beautiful!
Accommodations North Shore Hawaii
Most of the hotels on Oahu are located in the Waikiki area. The North Shore has a few amazing options that you should consider.
It is nice to stay on this side of the island so that you can be close to all the North Shore activities. Let’s check them out!
Turtle Bay Resort is a massive resort located on the North Shore. The resort owns 585 acres with 5 miles of ocean front property. There are 410 hotel rooms and 42 cottages as well as ocean villas that offer bigger accommodations.
Courtyard by Marriott North Shore is a great place to stay especially if you are planning on going to the Polynesian Cultural Center. They practically share a parking lot. We stayed here on our last trip and loved it. The pool is really nice and we are fans of Marriott!
Airbnb is always an option. There are a lot of houses that you can rent. This is usually a great option when traveling with larger families. I have a coupon code that will get you $55 off if it is your first time booking on Airbnb. Just click the link above!
Best North Shore Beaches
The most popular beach on the North Shore is Waimea Bay. When we went there was an incredible amount of people. The parking lot is very small but you can park across the street at Waimea Valley. What makes this beach so fun is the ability to do a little rock jumping.
This is a famous surfing area for experienced surfers. The Banzai Pipeline, or simply Pipeline or Pipe, is a surf reef break located in off of Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea on O’ahu’s North Shore. A reef break is an area in the ocean where waves start to break once they reach the shallows of a reef.
In the months of November through May, giant swells are very common. We went in July so there weren’t too many waves on the North Shore.
This is probably the third most popular beach after Waimea and Pipeline. Swimming is not recommended during the winter months because there are strong currents. The waves are very large and experienced surfers come during winter months to surf them. I have heard it is a very impressive sight to see.
Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach)
This is not a beach that you can swim at. Turtle beach is a great place to see all the amazing sea turtles. It is a fun stop that will not take too long. 30-40 minutes tops. There is a lifeguard that makes sure the turtles are protected. It is a fun destination.
Best Hikes on North Shore
Hiking was one of my favorite North Shore activities!
Located close to Waimea Bay is Waimea Valley. Although, this is a paid hike it is well worth it. This hike leads to a waterfall where you can swim. Waimea Valley also offers fun cultural experiences. The hike itself is very short (3/4 miles) and is paved. It is great for all ages.
Ehukai hike is also known as sunset pillbox hike, is a hike that is about 2 miles. Since it includes steep climbs, it may be a harder hike for beginners.
Laie Falls is an 8 mile hike for more experienced hikers. This hike has beautiful ocean and mountain views. But be aware because there are steep drop offs in some parts.
Ma’akua Ridge Trail (Papali Trail)
This is a perfect hike for families. It is 2.8 miles and usually takes about 1-3 hours to complete. It is a great trail for trail runners.
Best Thing to Do on - North Shore Snorkeling
The best snorkeling in Oahu in my opinion is located on the North Shore!
Shark’s Cove was a highly a recommend snorkel stop so we were very excited to try it out. We made it late in the day but still had time to snorkel. I really enjoyed the sea life. This area is a high theft area so be aware of your belongings as you snorkel.
There is a parking lot by Shark’s Cove that depending on the time of day and year can fill up. We like to snorkel early or late in the day, and found that we generally could get a parking spot at those times.
Turtle Bay Resort (Kuilima Cove)
This is one of the best snorkeling spots that we went to on all of Oahu. Yes, it is located on the Turtle Bay Resort but it is a public beach that anyone can go to. There are free parking spots for the public as well.
These parking spots can be taken quickly. We snorkeled at Turtle Bay Resort in the early morning and had no trouble getting a spot, but by the time we left all parking spots were taken.
This was my favorite snorkeling spot. It was not crowded, you had room to swim, and there were plenty of fish to see. I really loved this cove and highly recommend it.
Rated the #1 attraction in Hawaii - Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is an immersive experience in island life. This venue is amazing! There are interactive shows and crafts throughout the day.
You will want to spend an entire day exploring the center. If you purchase a package, dinner and a luau is provided plus a special show after dinner with fire throwers! It is an experience you do not want to miss out on.
Things to Do on North Shore and Other North Shore Activities
The Town of Haleiwa
Haliewa is a historic surf town known for its famous shaved ice at Matsumoto. We gave it a try and really liked it. Be prepared to wait in a long line to get a taste of the best shaved ice on the island.
Food trucks are everywhere. There are fish tacos and shrimp trucks. You will have to plan to eat a meal from a food truck when you visit the North Shore.
Going to Church in Laie
Church was my favorite part of visiting the North Shore! I loved every second! During our main meeting the Polynesian people sang and wow they are so talented!
There was also a couple of families moving away and at the end of the service everyone stood up and they sang a Hawaiian song called Aloha hi, which is a farewell song!
I also have never felt more welcome than in this church in Laie. In Sunday school they gave every visitor a lei. I highly recommend attending church while on vacation to truly experience the culture of Hawaii!
Tour of the Laie Hawaii Temple
The Laie Hawaii Temple Visitor’s Center is a great place to stop if you have the time.
We learned at church that there would be a special musical presentation that night at the visitor’s center. Everyone was welcome to come. It was incredible! I am telling you Polynesians can sing! The visitor center is also a great place to learn more about genealogy and how to make your families stronger.
Dole Pineapple Plantation
If you are wondering where to get a Dole Whip in Oahu I have your answer! The Dole Pineapple Plantation is one of the top things to do on the North Shore. You can get a dole whip, dole whip with pineapples, or a sundae! They also have a train ride, garden, and gigantic pineapple maze that you can explore.
While the Dole Pineapple Plantation is not location on the North Shore, you can hit on your way there from or back to other locations on Oahu.
This is especially fun if you have kids!
Things to Do on North Shore - Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch is not technically on the North Shore but is close enough that you could combine it with your North Shore adventures. This is included in the Oahu Go card. There are many adventures on the ranch. ATV’s, horseback riding, and a Jurassic Park tour.
Go Oahu Card
The Go Oahu Card is a great purchase. There are so many fun activities included with this card. It really saves you money!
Have Fun with all the North Shore Activities!
We loved our time on the North Shore and I know you will too! Be sure to get a copy of the Top 20 restaurants on Oahu! I will email you a copy!
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