When you think about the island of Oahu in Hawaii, the 1st place that might come to mind is the famous and iconic Honolulu and its Waikiki beach. This is, of course, a must-do but it can be perceived as too touristic and overrated. So jump in your car or on a bus and take the direction of the north to go to the North Shore of Oahu. The island is so small that you only need approximately 1 hour to go there.
The north shore is special in the sense that it is authentic Hawaii, forget about the luxury hotels and super crowded beaches. What you will find there is wide empty beaches full of surfers (however, waves can be very big and it can be dangerous to swim in the ocean, especially in the winter), typical but cozy hotels (you also have a lot of camping facilities but don’t forget to book in advance as wild camping is illegal in Hawaii), typical surf shops, friendly locals,….
To give you an idea of the beauty and richness of this part of the island, here are 10 locations in the North Shore that are worth the trip :
1. Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach, aptly named, is well known for its amazing sunset but you can also find a lot of surfers in the winter and snorkel in the summer.
2. Ehukai pillbox hike
Ehukai pillbox hike (also called Sunset pillbox hike) is a nice trail where you can elevate to have an incredible view of the North Shore coastline and the banzai pipeline.
3. Banzai Pipeline
Banzai Pipeline (or Ekuhai beach) is internationally known for its stunning waves. Go there to admire the surfer’s in action or give it a try yourself if you are brave enough (and a very experienced surfer).
4. Pupukea Beach Park
Pupukea Beach Park is also known as the shark’s cove. Don’t expect to see sharks here but you won’t be disappointed by the marine life. This is a perfect snorkeling spot as rocks are forming tide pools, ideal to see the fishes swimming around you!
5. Waimea Bay and Waimea Valley
Waimea Bay and Waimea Valley is a very nice beach where you can do snorkeling and if you are brave enough, jump from a 7 meters rock. In the winter, you will also see amazing huge waves.
6. Laniakea Beach
Laniakea Beach (or turtle beach) is a tiny beach but very famous for turtles. So come here to admire and swim with the turtles (but be careful not to touch them! There are anyway a lot of volunteers protecting the turtles as nature preservation is a really important point in Hawai!).
7. Haleiwa Town
Haleiwa Town is a historical surfer’s village and is the main hub of the North Shore. You will find here a very typical city, full of surfer’s shops, art galleries, and nice small restaurants.
8. Kaena Point
Kaena Point is the western tip of Oahu, you will find an incredible view of the Waianae coast. There are also some nice trails.
9. Kuaokala trail
In Kuaokala trail you will find incredible views.
10. Dole plantation
Dole plantation is the perfect place to go if you want to see a pineapple plantation and take nice pics.