North Shore

The coastal white sand paradise of Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore, is known for its shaved ice, shark diving, enchanting sea turtles and massive waves that attract surfers from all over the world.

Oahu’s North Shore is a premier beach destination, attracting an estimated ten million tourists each year. On the north-facing coast of the Island of Oahu, this surfer’s wonderland is near the state capital, Honolulu. It's also near North Shore’s new social hub, Haleiwa. Haleiwa is a small surf town lined with gift stores, galleries, dive bars, and great seafood restaurants.

Fun Fact: Every December since 1983, the area hosts three competitions called the Triple Crown of Surfing. North Shore's winter swells can reach 50 feet!

What's more, for the daredevils and thrill-seekers in your entourage, North Shore offers shark cage diving. Other heart-pounding activities include skydiving, and of course, mastering a duck dive through a 40-foot wave on one of the area’s famous beaches; Waimea Bay, Ehukai (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach.

Surfer Riding Wave

photo credit: Thomas Ashlock via Unsplash

About North Shore

In addition to surfing, other popular activities include snorkeling, turtle watching, and hiking to see some of the world’s most stunning waterfalls. With so many hikes and trails to explore, there’s no end to the long list of activities North Shore has to offer. No matter your passion, whether it’s kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, or simply sunbathing with a book-the, North Shore has something for everyone.

Pro Tip: Turtle Bay Resort, the only North Shore commercial hotel, has two world-class golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer himself!

Equally important, the area of North Shore encompasses the 17-mile coastline between Ka`ena Point on the west and eastward to Kahuku Point and hosts over 51 beaches that stretch over 11 miles. If you need to prioritize your to-do list, here are the Top Fifteen Things to Do at the North Shore!

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Seven Amazing NoSho Activities

  • Watch Pro Surfers at Banzai Pipeline: From October to April, North Shore hosts the top surfers around the globe. These professionals hit all the Oahu beaches, but Ehukai is their favorite.
  • Snorkel at Sharks Cove: For the best gorgeous underwater delights, snorkeling at Sharks Cove is a top-rated destination for turtle sightings and other enchanting sea life.

Pro Tip: Sharks Cove is between two prime surf beaches, so for the best experience, pick a summer day and time when the waters are serene (More surfers come in the winter months).

  • Shark Cage Diving: For adrenaline junkies seeking a jolt to their system, try stepping inside an impenetrable cage and test your prowess among some of the sea's fiercest water beasts.
  • Skydive: Sightsee a different way when you fall from 20,000 feet in the air on this exhilarating dive.

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Pro Tip: Skydive Hawaii is one of the top Skydive Schools that offer the best rates in town.

  • Waimea Cliff Jump: For a checkmark on your bucket list-combine beautiful views while leaping into the aquamarine sea alongside the fantastic coral reefs and Oahu sea creatures.
  • Sea Turtle Watching at Laniakea Beach, aka Turtle Beach: For an exhilarating experience, try swimming alongside these beautiful, shy creatures. Summertime from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is the best time to catch them in their glory.
  • Hike the State Parks: The Kaena Point Trail is a 2.7 miles hike with stunning views of the Waianae Mountains. The Ehukai Pillbox Trail hike provides a magnificent overlook of the North Shore coast. The park also offers hiking, fishing, picnicking, and a spectacular seabird sanctuary.

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Nearby Destinations

  • Haleiwa: This beach town has it all; art, shopping, trendy bars, surf-themed restaurants, shaved ice and more!
  • Waimea Valley Trail: Reap a little exercise in a breathtaking setting, with ocean vistas, gorgeous waterfalls and lush forests.
  • Dole Plantation: This historic pineapple plantation features the Pineapple Express train ride and the Plantation Garden Maze (the world’s largest maze).

Fun Fact: Haleiwa Ali`I Beach Park hosted the lifeguards of “Baywatch,” and ABC’s “Lost” filmed much of its scenes on the more remote sections of the North Shore. North Shore was also the location for films such as Blue Crush, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and the television show Hawaii Five-O.

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More North Shore Attractions

  • Waimea Valley Botanical Garden; The Botanical Garden showcases an impressive collection of native and non-native plants. The Garden hosts cultural events and a beautiful waterfall, which visitors can enjoy.
  • Sunset Beach: This beach has been rated Oahu’s number one attraction, with two miles of white sand stretching 200 feet wide. It’s a great area for sunbathing, swimming or taking a sunset stroll.

Photo Alert: Oahu has the most wondrous sunsets on earth. Don’t miss one spectacular moment!

Pro Tip: Some beaches can be rocky, so splurging on a good pair of reef shoes is worth the investment!

  • Laie Falls: The 15-foot falls on the La`ie Ridge Trail are a beauty to behold and the best spot to cool off on a hot day before heading back. The Gardens are the perfect respite from the beating sun with several benches and shady spots. Visitors can also swim and sunbathe near Waimea Falls, a stunning 45-foot waterfall. The area is popular for weddings, concerts, and other special events.
  • close up ground view of Waimea Falls | Waihi Falls in Kauai, Hawaii, USAWaimea Bay Beach Park: Catch a wave in this breathing bay, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty that is Waimea. The beach is known as one of the most famous surfing spots in the world with its 40 feet tall winter waves.

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