Man surfing on North Shore of Oahu
August 19, 2021
| by
Karen Fields

Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day on the North Shore of Oahu!

Oahu’s North Shore is a great Day Trip from Waikiki. See this Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day on the North Shore of Oahu’ for a guide on how to make the most of a day visiting the North Shore.

These are unusual times we find ourselves living in, with restrictions being put in place and lifted with little notice, so please be sure to confirm operating hours before visiting any of the attractions mentioned in this article. 

When you visit Oahu, you could be overwhelmed with the number of fantastic things to do, see and experience on the island. Surely, one of the best destinations to explore at least for one day is Oahu’s North Shore. Known for giant waves, great food, wonderful town, pleasant beaches, Sea Turtles, Dole Plantation and much more.

Our latest Oahu Travel Blog article; Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day on the North Shore of Oahu – highlights only a few of the great reasons why Oahu’s North Shore is worth a day (or 2) of your time on the island.

Important: We have not created a set schedule for enjoying each of the recommended activities below in one day – that would be impossible. Rather, we recommend that you review the list of activities and determine which activities you would like to enjoy and those you may wish to skip to create the ideal itinerary. The best advise we can give you is to remember that you are in paradise, take things slow and easy and expect to find unscheduled activities along the way and you will find that that you may want to spend more time enjoying one activity and you may choose to skip 1 or 2 activities altogether.

We will assume that you are staying in Waikiki and that you have a rental car, but you can easily do the same trip with Uber.

Here we go!

Breakfast: Have a great breakfast in Waikiki to fuel up for the drive over and bring a coffee with you.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Location: Right next door to Ambassador Hotel Waikiki - 2040 Kuhio Ave #1, Honolulu, HI 96815

As always, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a great choice for a quick grab and go breakfast.  Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf serves a variety of beverages including its signature ice-blended options, quick and great for ‘on the run’ drinks and bites.

Bill’s Hawaii
Location: 280 Beach Walk, Honolulu, HI 96815

Located close to Ambassador Hotel Waikiki, Bill’s serves Hawaiian influenced dishes, full breakfast menu with global touches in breezy, bi-level digs.

Hula Grill Waikiki
Location: 2335 Kalakaua Ave #203, Honolulu, HI 96815

If you enjoy a great view during breakfast, consider Hula Grill.  This great spot serves up Pupu, Fish Tacos, tropical drinks, live music & people-watching.

Goofy Café & Dine
Location: 1831 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 201, Honolulu, HI 96815

Great breakfast options with Acai Bowls, French Toast, Loco Moco and always fresh Coffee. 

Drive to North Shore area: Since this is a ‘One Day on Oahu’s North Shore’ we will recommend that you pass up all the great stops, beaches, towns and attractions along the way to North Shore. You can hit these places on another day – look for a future Blog Article on the topic!

Early morning!

See Sea Turtles on the beach!
Location: Ali’i Beach Park and Laniakea Beach

There are several beaches where you can see Sea Turtles on the North Shore, but the 2 best locations are likely Ali’i Beach Park and Laniakea Beach. Go to the Kaena Point side of Ali’i Beach Park in the morning and you’ll see Sea Turtles resting on the soft sand. Also go late in the afternoons to see the groups of sleeping turtles.

Visit Hale’iwa and stroll around the International Marketplace
Location: Town of Hale’iwa

This is a wonderful place to walk around and enjoy the North Shore International Marketplace and the Store Lots is a great place to find any items you may have forgotten for the day or pick up some items for a picnic on the beach later.

When you visit Oahu, you could be overwhelmed with the number of fantastic things to do, see and experience on the island. Surely, one of the best destinations to explore at least for one day is Oahu’s North Shore. Known for giant waves, great food, wonderful town, pleasant beaches, Sea Turtles, Dole Plantation and much more.

Visit Waimea Bay Beach Park 
Location: Waimea Bay Beach Park 

When the surf is calm you can enjoy a refreshing swim and for the more daring, you can jump off the rock and into the beautiful turquoise water below. This is a very popular activity so expect there to be a line of people waiting to jump.

Snorkel at Shark’s Cove!
Location: Shark’s Cove

O.k., this is one of our favorite things to do on the North Shore. This area is a very rocky area with very shallow to deep water areas that are great coverage for a variety of fish and marine life. There are several easy entry places along the shoreline. We have seen many different types of colorful fish here each time we have visited this area. 

Lunch Time: It's time to enjoy a great Plate Lunch!

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Location: This side of ‘Taste Heaven’ next to Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

O.k., there are certainly other great places to enjoy lunch on the North Shore...but if you are visiting the island for the first (or fifth) time, you want to enjoy a plate lunch of Garlic Shrimp and Rice at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Trust us.

Afternoon – adventure time!

Swim with Sharks!
Location: North Shore Shark Adventures - 66-105 Haleiwa Rd, Haleiwa, HI 96712

This is a great activity and not dangerous at all. We recommend North Shore Shark Adventures. This is a great operation that will take you in one of their top-quality boats to an area offshore where the sharks gather. You are provided with snorkel gear, life vest and placed into a large, safe cage where sharks will swim up to and around the cage for great looking selfies…with SHARKS!

Tour the Dole Plantation
Location: Dole Plantation - 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786

Two words. ‘Dole. Whip.’ This historic Pineapple Plantation is a great break in your day to learn about the important part the Pineapple had in the building of Hawaii. The Dole Plantation includes tours, one of the worlds largest outdoor mazes, train ride, wonderful gift shop that sells ‘Everything Pineapple.’ They can even ship fresh Pineapple to you!

Dinner:  Hale’iwa does not have the variety of restaurants that you will find in Waikiki, but there are a few very good restaurants to choose from - here they are:

Hale’iwa Joe’s
Location: 66-011 Kamehameha Hwy. Haleiwa, HI 96712

Joe’s is located on the ‘Seven Mile Miracle’ in the town of Hale’iwa with views of the ocean and the harbor. The food is fantastic and has long been a favorite of locals, tourists and even several celebrities, sports figures and of course some world champion surfers. Some favorite dishes include; Rock Shrimp Hale’iwa, Emma’s Poke, Black and Blue Ahi and Joe’s Pulled Pork Sliders.

Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican Restaurant
Location: 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712

Hold the Enchilada! Mexican food? In Hawaii? Yes, and it is fantastic. If you were looking for something a little different from all the great Hawaiian cuisine you have been enjoying during your stay, then you are in the right place. Cholo’s is a refreshing break with great, craft Margarita’s and fantastic Mexican food using local, fresh ingredients. Try their Taco Plate, Special Quesadilla, Fajitas, Cholo’s Fish Taco’s and the Chili Relleno. 

Kono’s North Shore
Location: 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy., Ste G110, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Kono’s is a bit more casual option compared to Hale’iwa Joe’s but it is no less tasty. Kono’s is serious about what it serves its loyal customers and their efforts have not gone unnoticed as Kono’s has been voted #1 Plate Lunch, Best Breakfast, Best Restaurant under $29 per person and ‘Best Cheap Eats on Oahu’ for 2 years. Their specialty is the Kalua Pig and Famous Breakfast Bombers.

Haleiwa Beach House
Location: 62-540 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, HI 96712

This a newer restaurant on the North Shore and the reception has been fantastic. The two-story venue offers a bar upstairs and downstairs with an open-air deck with views overlooking the ocean and the Lo Ko Ea Fishpond. Haleiwa Beach House offers 16 craft beers and a selection of signature cocktails. Try one of the following offerings; Shrimp Cocktail, Kalua Pork Grilled Cheese, Spicy Tuna Club sandwich, Grilled Mahi Mahi and Beach House Loco Moco.

Oahu’s North Shore has so much to offer that it is impossible to enjoy everything this incredible destination has to offer in one day. We hope our latest Oahu Travel Blog article; 'Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day on the North Shore of Oahu' has given you a few helpful ideas on how you can make the most of your time on the North Shore.

Visit our Oahu Travel Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting Oahu.

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