If you are planning a visit to Oahu, I suggest a venture up north to the (surf)world-renowned North Shore!
The North Shore of Oahu is quite possibly the best combination of prime surf/shrimp trucks/smoothie stands/gorgeous beaches if there ever was one. Well, it’s the only one that truly matters in my opinion.
This past trip to Oahu was actually my first personal introduction to the North Shore, and I’m forever partial to this side of the island. Our North Shore days were the best, and now I’d like to share some must do’s. Whether you are a surf aficionado or just a self-proclaimed foodie, the North Shore is the place to be.
Visit the Historic Haleiwa town – If you are coming from the west or south, Haleiwa will most likely be the first little community you drive into once you finally reach the North Shore. Look for the town sign, and why not pull over to take a picture? It’s the equivalent to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. It is home to many shops and food places, as you can tell by the latter half of my must-do list! There are quite a lot of tourists walking about and exploring the little town, but what else do you expect?
Jump off “the Rock” at Waimea Bay – This one is for the adventurous soul. Jumping off of the famous Waimea Bay rock. Located on the far left of the Waimea Bay Beach Park (which is across from the Waimea Valley Falls entrance), you will probably see a decent sized crowd of tourists and locals giving or receiving pep talks. From personal experience, I found that the longer you stand and watch, the shorter the rock looks. Or maybe that’s just me. The first day we went the waves were too strong and the lifeguards closed off the rock. Waimea and the North Shore is where Pipeline Masters is held, and if you’ve seen those waves, you’d understand just how massive and powerful they can get. A few days later, however, Jumping Rock was open. So, I suggest talking to the lifeguards before walking over to the rock.
Brave the surf – As I just mentioned, Pipeline Masters finds its home on the North Shore, along with some big names of surfing. And I don’t blame them! Although I will stick to baby waves for the time being, I admire what these surf pros can do. If only I could get on their level! I have to get over the whole imagine what’s swimming under me thing first.
Haleiwa Farmer’s Market – Held within Waimea Valley on Thursdays from 2-6 PM, this farmer’s market features various vendors from jewelry and lotions to baked goods and produce. I always like to support local businesses when I can, and plus, farmer’s markets are always fun. Especially when they give out free samples! ;)
Find Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – Two words: garlic shrimp. Giovanni’s is one of many shrimp trucks you can find in Haleiwa, but I’ve heard great things about this one, and I can confirm its deliciousness. My sister and I shared a shrimp scampi plate lunch, and I wish we could order a pound of their shrimp a la carte.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice – Quick lesson about shave ice. There’s shaved ice, which is technically just the snow cone; and then there’s shave ice, which is 100x better if you’re an ice cream lover. Shave ice is your typical snow cone, but with vanilla ice cream at the bottom. I know what you’re thinking – who came up with this concoction and where is their reward, am I right? Might I suggest you order a Tropical shave ice WITH ice cream?!
Enjoy an Haleiwa Bowls’ açai bowl – Or if you’re craving a healthier treat, cross Kamehameha Highway to a cute little shack for an açai bowl or smoothie! I discovered Haleiwa Bowls on Instagram because my not-so guilty aesthetic pleasure is looking at bowls of smoothie goodness and fruit.
Waialua Bakery & Juice Bar – And yet another place to grab an açai bowl or smoothie, Waialua’s is the perfect pre- or post-North Shore food break. Yummy sandwiches, delicious cookies, and gorgeously painted walls (the North Shore guide at the beginning of this post was on the wall in front), what more could you ask for?
Spend a couple of hours, a day, or a week at the North Shore – I promise you will not regret it. I cannot wait to return one day, maybe during Pipeline Masters? As a spectator, of course!