North Shore Oahu is synonymous with S: swim, sand and sun; shave ice and shops; the sweetest spots for serious surfers. You know you want to see what the fuss is about, but the vibe is low-key, cool and natural. This Oahu daytrip is worth tour time, but keep it on island time: slow and easy.
For a place that only measures three miles of land and water, Haleiwa Town packs it in. You’ll find locally-handcrafted jewelry, swimwear and surf gear and one-of-a-kind artwork (try the Haleiwa Art Gallery for varied pieces be more than 30 Pacific Island artists). Savor spoils of eateries offering Mexican, Thai, pizza and local plate-lunch choices. (Haleiwa Town also serves virtually any outdoor sport you can think of, with surfing claiming the top spot.) Grab some shave ice to cool off – imagine a snow cone, but soft and fluffy, with your choice of tropical fruit flavours poured on top.
Seven miles of pristine beaches wind along Oahu's North Shore, home to the world's longest stretch of rideable surf spots. Pack a cooler, a beach chair and some strong sun protection to spend time at the big-wave surfing meccas of Sunset Beach, Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and Waimea Bay. This is a show you can't miss – the crystal-blue waves can roll in at 40 feet. Dozens of surfers bob on their boards just off shore, waiting for the right ride. You'll witness daring kids, veteran long boarders, and, of course, the quintessential surfers – bronzed and muscular men and women who challenge the pipeline every day. Don't forget to bring your binoculars and camera to these shores, the ultimate yin/yang of thrill and relaxation.
Curious about active, outdoor things to do on North Shore Oahu? Golfers head to Turtle Bay Resort for courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Tom Fazio. Happy hikers and mountain bikers take to the trails above Pupukea and the slopes off Keaena. Horseback riders love the stables surrounded by the green forests of Waimea Valley. Paddlers rent kayaks to float calm, summer waters. Rock climbers gather at two North Shore accesses: a 30-foot climb along the beach at Waimea Bay, and a 90-foot wall (with several pre-bolted routes) near Mokuleia Beach.
“ If you are visiting between November and February, don’t miss Waimea Bay on the North Shore where the island’s top surfers take on 30-foot waves ”
Web Address: haleiwatown.com
Distance/Drive Time from THE MODERN HONOLULU: 33 miles and about an hour’s drive.
Brief directions from THE MODERN HONOLULU: Head to H-1 W, take 8A and merge to H-2. Take exit 8 to Wahiawa, merge to South Kamehameha Highway, turn left to Kamehameha Highway. At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto HI-83/Kamehameha Highway heading to Haleiwa
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