Want to spend some time on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii? There are so many things to do on North Shore you will not be disappointed!
In this post, we will help you know how to get to the Oahu north shore, where to stay on the Hawaiian North Shore, and give you some ideas of great 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 Best things to do on the North Shore Oahu!
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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 Oahu 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!
Fastest Route to the Hawaiian North Shore
Scenic Route to the Hawaiian North Shore
Accommodations North Shore Hawaii
Most of the hotels on Oahu are located in the Waikiki area. The Ohau 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 Hawaiian North Shore activities. Let’s check them out!
Turtle Bay Resort is a massive resort located on the Oahu North Shore. The resort owns 585 acres with 5 miles of oceanfront property. There are 410 hotel rooms and 42 cottages as well as ocean villas that offer bigger accommodations.
I love Turtle Bay! It is so beautiful! I highly recommend it!
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. One thing that we love is that the pool is really nice. We have stayed here many times and loved it. Last time the front desk even gave me a box of Hawaiian chocolates.
Seriously, the people/employees on the Hawaiian North Shore are the best! This courtyard is typically pretty busy so you will want to book well in advance.
We are fans of Marriott!
VRBO 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. You can even get accommodations at Turtle Bay through VRBO.
Best North Shore Beaches
One of the best things to do on the North Shore is to visit the beach. There are a few beaches I want to highlight. Let’s get started!
Triple Crown Surfing Contest
Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline, and Sunset Beach are the three locations where the Triple Crown Surfing Contest takes place. This is a Hawaiian North Shore activity you have to check out if you visit during the competition!
1. Waimea Bay
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 Oahu North Shore beach is worth a visit!
2. Pipeline North Shore
One of the best things to do on the North Shore on Oahu is watch the surfers.
The Pipeline 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. Grab your surf gear and try it out or just watch from the sidelines!
3. Sunset Beach
This is probably the third most popular beach after Waimea and Pipeline and another Oahu North Shore MUST!
Swimming is not recommended during the winter months because there are strong currents. The waves are very large and experienced surfers come during the winter months to surf them.
4. Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach)
Turtle Beach also known as Laniakea Beach is one of the best things to do on the North Shore! This is not a beach that you can swim at.
Green Sea Turtles
Turtle beach is a great place to see all the amazing Hawaiian green 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 Hawaiian North Shore
The North Shore on Oahu has some amazing hikes! I am going to list a few of the best hikes in Oahu North Shore that you can choose from.
Hiking was one of my favorite North Shore activities!
5. Waimea Valley
Miles: 1.9 round trip
Located close to Waimea Bay Beach 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.
6. Ehukai Pillboxes
Miles: 3 miles Round Trip
Ehukai hike is also known as the sunset pillbox hike. This hike includes steep climbs, it may be a harder hike for beginners.
You will see many pillboxes along the way. These military bunkers were used during WWII as lookouts for enemy activity.
7. Laie Falls
Miles: 13.8 round trip
Laie Falls is a 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.
You will need to get a free permit to hike this trail. You can do so online.
8. Ma’akua Ridge Trail (Papali Trail)
Miles: 3.7 round trip
This is a perfect hike for families. In fact, you do not even have to hike the entire thing. You will see beautiful views of the state park and beaches and once you reach that point you can turn around. It usually takes about 1-3 hours to complete if you do the entire hike. It is a great trail for trail runners.
9. Shark's Cove
Shark’s Cove was a highly 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.
Avoid the Crowds
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.
10. 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.
It was one of my favorite things to do on the North Shore in Oahu!
11. 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. It has been voted as the number 1 attraction on Oahu several years in a row.
The Best Thing on the Hawaiian North Shore
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.
12. 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.
13. Haleiwa Sign
The Haleiwa sign is another attraction on the Hawaiian North Shore. You will have to get out of your car and take a picture! It is a fun North Shore activity.
14. Food Trucks
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 Oahu North Shore.
Top Food Trucks on Oahu North Shore
- Giavanni Shrimp Truck
- Seven Brothers
- North Shore Crepe Cafe
- Surf N Salsa
- Crispy Grindz
15. 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 were 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!
All Are Welcome
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!
16. 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.
17. 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 with kids. 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.
Get Yummy Food
While the Dole Pineapple Plantation is not located on the North Shore, you can hit on your way there from or back to other locations on Oahu. Be sure to get a delicious Dole Whip.
This is especially fun if you have kids!
18. 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 where you will find a Hawaii Jurassic Park adventure!
Go On A Tour
We did a Jurassic Park Adventure tour and loved it! It was so much fun! There are also many other fun tours at Kualoa Ranch. Many movies have been filmed on the ranch. It is really cool to take a movie tour and see the sets.
This is included in the Oahu Go card. There are many adventures on the ranch. ATVs, horseback riding, and a Jurassic Park tour.
19. Go, Oahu Card
The Go Oahu Card is a great purchase. There are so many fun Oahu North Shore activities included with this card.
It really saves you money if you are already planning on doing two or more North Shore activities.
Have Fun with all the Hawaiian North Shore Activities!
Hopefully, this post helps you plan all the fun things to do on the North Shore of Hawaii! We love Oahu and especially love the Oahu North Shore.
Free Restaurant Guide
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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