The North Shore of Oahu

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The North Shore is a haven for surfers and travelers looking for a laid back Hawaii, food truck centered meals and a flip-flop all-day attitude.

Collage of places in North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

The North Shore is located away from the commercialization and crowds of Waikiki and it just has another flavor altogether. The picture below describes the mood of the North Shore perfectly.

North Shore beach and surfers Oahu Hawaii

What to do in the North Shore?

There are many things to do in this part of the island. You can drive the rural areas, visit local farms, farmer’s markets or take up activities such as snorkeling, diving or stand up paddling. Of course, surfing is the main thing here.

Tourists paddle boarding at the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

The North Shore is out of the way and what makes it so good. The town of Haleiwa provides a shopping center with several restaurants.

There is also a food truck alley nearby. The popular garlic shrimp dish is available in almost every menu, but everyone has a different favorite, so you will just have to try a few and pick your top choice.

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Where to stay?

As accommodations go, the North Shore has very few resorts but Turtle Bay is highly rated and Courtyard by Mariott is also a good option.

Booking.com

Another option is to rent a house and there are some gorgeous properties with beachfront access.

If you want your vacation to be half relaxation and half shopping, then I recommend you stay a couple nights in the North Shore and the rest of the time in Waikiki.

How to get there

There are only two ways to get to the North Shore. The first is the most direct via the middle of the island or if you have more time and want to sightsee – the East Side. There is no road access from the West, the road actually dead ends at a State Park.

If you like driving and exploring different areas and want to find the most secluded areas of Oahu, I’d recommend that you drive to Kaena Point on the Westernmost tip of the island from the North Shore. It’s absolutely breathtaking!

North Shore, Hawaii, beach, nature, travel, travelblog, island, vacation, oahu
North Shore, Hawaii, beach, nature, travel, travelblog, island, vacation, oahu

I drove to it on the weekend and barely saw anyone around. It was cloudy and overcast, but still! There were only some fisherman and the odd family here and there.

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Kaena Point Mountain range in Oahu, Hawaii

At the very end of the only road going West, I spent some time admiring the hills surrounding Kaena Point which ties to Yokohama Beach on the NorthWest Side of Oahu. It’s a great spot for hiking and birdwatching, so don’t forget to take some sturdy shoes if you venture out as the ground is just dirt and gravel.

A beach at the westernmost point of Oahu, Hawaii

If you visit Oahu, don’t miss out on those least travelled roads of the North Shore and also don’t forget to check out my other blog posts on Hawaii!

Article updated April 2019.

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6 Comments

  1. July 8, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Holy cow – gorgeous pictures, great post! We honeymooned in Kauai 10 years ago, and I’m dying to go back to Hawaii. Appreciate this tip on an area I think I’d really love to explore.

    Love your blog. I shouldn’t torture myself so, but I’ve subscribed to be able to catch more of your travel posts! 🙂

    • July 9, 2015 / 4:35 am

      Thanks Tami! I haven’t been to Kauai yet and would love to someday. If you get the chance, go back, I am missing it as well. Thanks for signing up, I will be leaving on a big trip next month to Japan, South Korea and China and will be sharing my adventures on the road.

  2. July 12, 2015 / 5:46 pm

    Such beautiful wilderness!! I am just having trouble keeping all the fancy names in my head…will need to reference these posts later again when I plan a trip to Hawaii:)

    • July 13, 2015 / 7:01 pm

      I know. I think I confused myself a couple times. There are just so many parts of the island to explore that it makes it hard to keep all the names straight.

  3. July 13, 2015 / 11:25 pm

    Beautiful photographs of an amazing place! This post really makes me want to return to Hawaii… !! Loved the North Shore – like you say, very relaxed and the scenery is rugged and gorgeous.

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