20 Of The Best Things To Do On North Shore Oahu Hawaii
Want to spend some time on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii? There are so many fun 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. All of these things to do on the North Shore Oahu are perfect to add to your North Shore Hawaii itinerary.
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 fun 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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1. Scenic North Shore Drive and 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! Taking this scenic drive is one of the best things to do on the North Shore.
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
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! It is really nice because it is very close to all of the North Shore activities.
Courtyard by Marriott Oahu Hawaii
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!
2. 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!
3. 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!
4. 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.
This beach is one of the North Shore activities you should add to your itinerary if you are traveling during the winter months.
5. 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 thing to do on the North Shore Oahu.
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!
6. 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.
It is one of the top attractions on Hawaii’s North Shore.
7. 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.
This is such a fun North Shore Oahu hike.
8. 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. It is one of the places to visit in the North Shore if you are looking for a great waterfall hike.
9. 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. I love running. So I have added it to my North Shore to do list!
Best Thing to Do on the North Shore Oahu - Snorkeling
The best snorkeling in Oahu in my opinion is located on the North Shore! We loved every Hawaii North Shore spot we visited! (We even visited Hanauma Bay)
Snorkeling is one of the best things to do on the North Shore!
10. 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.
Shark’s Cove is one of the best North Shore Oahu activities.
11. 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!
12. 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!
This is a great place to get your North Shore Hawaii Souvenirs!
It is one of the best things to do on the North Shore and an experience you do not want to miss out on.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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
16. 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!
This was one of my favorite things to do in North Shore territory!
17. 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.
18. 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 it 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!
19. 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 North Shore 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 North Shore ranch. ATVs, horseback riding, and a Jurassic Park tour.
20. Go City Oahu Card
The Go City 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!
Fun Things to Do on the North Shore Oahu Hawaii
Hopefully, this has helped you know what to do on the North shore and all the fun things to do on the North Shore of Hawaii. There are so many great North Shore activities!
North Shore Oahu is awesome! Have so much fun! If you have questions be sure to ask in the Facebook Group.
More Hawaii Fun
Are you ready to pack up for Hawaii and go? If you are looking for a more detailed One Week in Oahu Itinerary and need more ideas for family-friendly resorts on Oahu or information on Aulani, I have you covered!
And just as a side note, many people like doing Pearl Harbor and then heading over to the North Shore.
Headed to Maui check out my amazing Road of Death Adventure and my One Day in Maui Itinerary.
If you have any questions be sure to join my Facebook Travel Community This great community can help answer any questions you may have about your upcoming trips. Plus, I try to add any great deals or promotions that companies send me!
The North Shore is hands down my favorite of all the Hawaiian islands. We usually rent one of the gorgeous condos at Turtle Bay that allows access to the resort amenities and it is just heaven. I will definitely be taking my family to the PCC next time because that is the one thing we haven’t done!
I really want to stay at Turtle Bay Resort next time!
Literally all my favorite things! We really enjoyed Kualoa Ranch!!
We didn’t get to do Kualoa but I am planning to next trip!
Next trip, I’m doing all the hikes I possibly can!
We did a lot and they were gorgeous!
This looks like it would be so fun! Hawaii is my dream destination and I’m hoping I’ll get to go for my birthday this year (it’s in August). We don’t have anything booked or planned, but if there’s good deals when things open back up, we’ll be there!
Me too! I am ready to book a family trip!
I really want to see the sea turtles and visit Dole Plantation. This looks like so much fun, and I know my family would love to follow this itinerary.
Yes, it is so amazing we want to go back and bring our kids this time!
The North shore Oahu looks like a place I’d like to visit for the experience and photography.
I know it is a great place for photographs!
Sea turtles are my favorite!
They are pretty awesome!
My friends & I recently visited Oahu for 6 days. Clearly we need way more than 6 days to fully explore the island. There’s so many things to see & do, just in North Shore alone. I want to see the turtles next time.
The Turtles are pretty cool! We really enjoyed our time!
It looks like you had an amazing trip. I love that you went to church on vacation. So many don’t or plan to and don’t get to. I hope to get to Hawaii some day.
Church really was one of my favorite part of the trip! The people were amazing!
Turtle Bay Resort looks like a beautiful place to stay! There are so many fun things I’d like to do here, like have the Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation! I can’t wait to go to Hawaii one day!
It really is a dream vacation!
I feel like I would need to spend a week just in this one area of Hawaii. Way too many neat things to see/do. I know my kids would love getting to see the sea turtles and the Polynesian Cultural Center. I would have to make sure we had enough time to stop at the Dole Plantation for some pineapple.
We split our trip between Waikiki and North Shore!
I want to see it all. It all looks marvellous!
It really is a great area!
Turtle Bay resort would be just our style. North Shore is fab with all its beaches, turtles, and surfing!
I totally agree!
Excellent suggestions for visiting this gorgeous area. I can’t wait to explore Hawaii.
Thanks, it is a great area!
Awesome travel guide. We only flew over to this island for the day…would love to visit as I want to visit.
I now want to go back and spend more time on the other islands!
Yes, I would like to spend some time on North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. I could see myself sitting on the beach watching the surfers.
That would be awesome!
This looks like such a great mini road trip! The places you stopped are just beautiful! I absolutely love that they have a beach just for sea turtles!
Turtle Beach is pretty fun!
Turtle Bay Resort looks like a beautiful place to stay; it’s SO big! I would love to see the North Shore of Oahu. We haven’t made it to that island yet, but hope to someday.
Yes, Hawaii calls my name and I want to go back too!
I’m so saving this! We are planning our first trip to Hawaii for our anniversary in July! I just hope everything is somewhat back to normal so we can enjoy it all!
I hope you get to go! Hawaii is so amazing!
We went on a fabulous trip to the Big Island, and now can’t wait to visit more of the islands as well. Thanks for letting me know about Laniakea Beach: love sea turtles!
Yes, now I am dying to go to Big Island and Kauai.
Turtle Bay looks amazing but I would want to go to the beach on the pipeline. Most of my friends surfed growing up in FL. (No real waves here) but I love hanging out on the beach watching surfers!
Yes, that would be fun! We went in the summer so there wasn’t any big waves.
Gorgeous pics! My daughter would flip out over Turtle Beach.
It was amazing! I have never seen anything like it outside of an aquarium!
It has been a long time since I was in Hawaii. I do love the sight of the huge waves. I also remember the Polynesian Cultural Center being a lot of fun too.
It is a lot of fun, I wish we would have had more time!
I love turtle bay so beautiful and relaxing a must-see see for anyone getting to the north shore of Oahu!
I would like to stay there next time!
So many good suggestions. Something for everyone!
Yes, there really are a lot of choices!
I’ve always wanted to visit the North Shore. Thanks for such a detailed and helpful guide!
Oh good! I hope you get to go one day!
The dole plantation and polynesian cultural center are musts for Oahu!
They were so fun for sure!
When I think of Oahu, surfing always comes to mind. But little did I know that there’s so many things to see and do there. I love the beaches esp Waimea Bay. And the hiking trails got me excited. Great post!
Thanks! Yes there is so much to do on such a little island!
Love Oahu! Thanks for sharing cant wait to go there again 🙂
Oahu was such a dream!
I think every one of those beaches has my name on it 🙂
Me too! Count me in!
The Turtle Bay resort looks beautiful. I would love to be sitting by that pool right now, drink in hand, and a good book.
I just can’t get over the beauty in Hawaii! And…the food was incredible!
It is so beautiful!
What a beautiful place! Hawaii is on our bucket list.
Yes, once you go you will want to go back!
Great list of things to do! I haven’t even done everything yet. Pill box hike is actually an easy hike for kids too. A bunch of us moms and kids did that hike with no problem. Kids enjoy it because it’s more adventurous than a paved one like the Makapu’u light house trail.
My favorite thing to do is go to the Laie Temple. I’m excited for it to open up again soon!
The temple was so beautiful! We even got to see a performance at the visitor center!
I am so excited for my pending trip!! My daughter is apartment hunting and thinks she finally found one, which makes her move to Oahu more real.
That is awesome!
Because of you I am constantly pricing flights to Hawaii! Lol! Your photos are amazing and I love the details you provide. When I finally make it there, you have done all of the planning work for me!
I hope you find a good deal! It is so beautiful and I was only able to go to Maui and Oahu. I am dying to go back to Big Island and Kauai now!
I’ll be the drive was spectacular. The scenery must have been lovely.
Hawaii is just like this unbelievable beautiful place!
It’d be a lot of fun to get to Hawaii someday! All of these things sound like a great time.
Yes, I hope you do get to go! The problem is once you go you won’t to go back!
Wow! So many awesome things to do and see! I’ve done some but would love to add the Dole Plantation and Kualoa Ranch to my list!
I would do Kualoa Ranch next time too with my kids!
Wow! Looks like endless fun and things to see and do on the north shore. I want to put it on my bucket list!
Yes, Hawaii is a great vacation!
This place is spectacular and you’ve provided so many things in details. I can’t wait to visit! Thanks for sharing.
I hope you get to go soon!
Cannot wait to explore this island! One of these days!
This is such a great island to explore!
Hawaii looks so incredibly beautiful. And so much to do. I can’t wait to explore Hawaii.
I hope you get to go one day!
Beautiful! I can’t wait to go to Hawaii sometime!
I know I want to go back!
The incredible detail in this post is amazing! Thank you for sharing, this had to of taken a lot of energy!
We get married on Oahu (hopefully) in November and will definitely use this source for our activities and more!
Oh Congrats! A wedding in Oahu will be magical! You should check out my one week in Oahu post as well!