If you missed the first installment of this series, be sure to check out 5 Must See Places On Oahu’s South Shore. One of the things that I love so much about Oahu is that even though we live there, it’s still a huge tourist destination. I can’t even begin to count the number of times someone has reached out to me on Facebook and said “Hey Kait, I’m coming to Oahu, Hawaii in a couple months and know that you live there, so I wanted to reach out and see if you had any recommendations for things to do?” OH YES, YES I DO. The hard part for me is always breaking down what I recommend into digestible portions. Do you like hiking? Do you want to shop? Sight see? Swim? I have so many recommendations for visiting the North Shore of Oahu and today I’m breaking down the 5 must see places on Oahu’s North Shore. I’ve talked before about the top 10 must-dos in Haleiwa, but this goes beyond Haleiwa town and explores the entirety of the North Shore. I’d be totally lying if I didn’t disclose that while I love all parts of the island, the North Shore holds a special place in my heart. Now, let’s get right down to it.
5 Must See Places On Oahu’s North Shore
1. The beaches. The beaches on the North Shore are some of my favorite on the whole island. The wide spreads of sand, fewer tourists and big waves make the beaches second to none in my opinion. My favorites include La’ie, Banzai Pipeline, Velzeyland and Kawela Bay. I do love Waimea Bay too, as long as it’s not crazy crowded! Another great spot where there are almost always ZERO people is Papailoa. It’s a secret neighborhood tucked right past Haleiwa town. Ping it on Google maps and it will get you there. If it looks like you’re driving through a neighborhood, you’ve found the right spot!
2. Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. And no, it’s not shaveD ice, it’s shave, no “d”. I’ve never gone past it without seeing a line and for good reason. They have almost every flavor you can imagine and getting it over ice cream with beans is a MUST! Beans? Wtf? Sweet azuki beans are a sweet staple in Hawaii. I would describe them as the texture of black beans, but a very sweet taste. If the line is too long, pop across the street to Aoki’s (it just re-opned in late 2017 and it’s amazing, too! Related: The 3 Best Shave Ice Spots On Oahu Hawaii
3. North Shore Pillboxes. There’s a short and sweet hike that sits high above Waimea Bay that offers great panoramic views of the North Shore. It definitely gets the blood pumping and can be quite muddy (I recommend going early), but it’s one of my favorite hikes for the views it offers. Make sure you go all the way to the second bunker to get the peace sign photo 🙂
4. Shrimp trucks. If you like shrimp, the food trucks scattered along the North Shore are a MUST. They offer every kind of shrimp you might imagine (garlic is my favorite and coconut is a close second), usually served with a big scoop of rice and some sort of slaw. My favorite truck is at the “round up” in Haleiwa on the far right side. If you go, definitely get the onion rings, too! The best ones to visit include: Giovanni’s, Aji Limo Truck, North Shore Shrimp Truck + Shark’s Cove Grill.
While I’m on the topic of food, my other favorite places to eat include Kahuku Grill (papaya salad & grilled banana bread), Dole Plantation (Dole Whip), Uncle Bo’s (wonton nachos), Beet Box Cafe (gluten free donuts and lots of vegan goodies!) & Haleiwa Bowls for a traditional, Hawaiian acai bowl.
5. Green World Coffee. There are lots of coffee options in Hawaii, but there’s something so special to me about Green World, a nice stopover point before you truly get to the North Shore. A farm that allows you to walk through the coffee trees, sit and relax in the sunshine and most importantly..get a delicious cup of brew! We love this place so much we had some of our family photos taken there AND the pups are always welcome. Truly, I can’t say enough about their coffee or hospitality. Their coffee is a MUST.
And though I don’t advocate for disturbing them in their natural habitat, the North Shore is a great place for spotting the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, also known as “honu”. Just remember – it’s a felony to touch or disturb them!
Have you visited Oahu’s North Shore? What was your favorite part? If you enjoyed this post, you might also like The Ultimate Activity Guide to Oahu, 6 Easy Hikes On Oahu, or The Insider’s Guide to Oahu.