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If you’re unsure about leaving Honolulu there are so many things to do in North Shore, Oahu that you’ll regret not leaving crowded Waikiki sooner. The North Shore beaches put Waikiki to shame, the Haleiwa restaurants are some of the best on the island and it’s the best place to snorkel, surf and spot turtles. The best part is, the majority of things to do in North shore, Oahu are only a mere one hours drive from Waikiki!

Couple At Polynesian Cultural Center North Shore Oahu

Dole Pineapple Plantation

This is likely to be your first stop of things to do in North shore, Oahu. The Dole pineapple plantation is unmissable as fields filled with thousands of pineapple plants line the road of the North Shore. One of the many crazy pineapple facts we learned during our visit is that every single one is hand planted and apparently, each Dole pineapple plantation worker can plant nearly 10,000 crowns A DAY!

If you think making it out of the gift shop is hard (you will be overwhelmed with pineapple memorabilia) the Dole plantation maze is even more of a challenge, as it’s the largest in the world! Created from over 14,000 pineapple plants, the Dole Plantation maze stretches over 3 acres. It took us around 40 minutes to complete (Darren’s 6ft 5 height did come in handy to peek over the hedges). If you make it out of the Dole plantation maze, the pineapple express train tour is equally entertaining and one of the best things to do in North Shore, Oahu to learn the fascinating history of the island’s pineapple fame!

Complete your Dole pineapple plantation experience with the world famous dole whip. Ashamedly I admit, I couldn’t stand pineapple prior to my time in Oahu but after my visit and sampling the Dole Whip I was immediately converted. You can read more about that experience here.

Pineapple Fields At Dole Pineapple Plantation North Shore Oahu

Fancy a discounted Dole Plantation tour?

If you’d rather sit back and have a professional guide drive you, by booking here you will join a scenic 120 mile round trip including entry to the Dole Plantation, Byodo-In temple and Kualoa Ranch Legends and Legacy Tour (where Jurassic Park & Lost were filmed) – all for a bargain price! This includes transport & guide!

Haleiwa Town

Before you hurry off to the North Shore beaches, take a leisurely stroll round Haleiwa to work off that Dole Whip. Haleiwa is a quaint beach town around 15 minutes from Turtle Bay and approximately one hours drive from Waikiki. It is one of the best things to do in North Shore, Oahu to truly capture island life. We could have easily spent all day here, but these are our favourite things to do in Haleiwa.

Surf Boards In Haleiwa North Shore

Try Shave Ice

Okay, we did just recommend you eat your body weight in Pineapple Dole Whip but one of the most famous things to do in North Shore, Oahu is try the legendary shave ice. In Haleiwa there are two “go to” places – Matsumoto’s or Aoki’s across the road. They are not difficult to find, the queue down the street is a definite give away!

The North Shore Angel Wings

There are many places for that perfect profile picture on the North Shore, Oahu and the Global Angel Wings is one of the best. Created by Artist Collete Miller, the wings represent love, peace, kindness and what you bring to earth. They truly encapsulate the magic of the North Shore and the Aloha spirit – a definite photo opportunity not to be missed.

Girl Standing In Front Of The North Shore Wings Oahu

The Surf Museum

If there’s one reason you came to Oahu (not just for the Dole whip) it’s to surf. Or in our case, learn about surfing because there is no way we can take on the 40ft waves of the North Shore. Haleiwa is home to the North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum. One of the best things to do in North Shore, Oahu to dive into the fascinating history of the sport, admire antique boards and soak up all things surf. . . without getting wet.

Haleiwa North Shore Surf Museum

Haleiwa Farmers Market

If you happen to be looking for things to do in North Shore, Oahu on a Thursday then Haleiwa Farmers Market is the best place to be for a traditional taste of Hawaii. If you’re visiting the North Shore on a Saturday, Waialua farmers market is equally as inviting with local produce, delicious samples and traditional trinkets.

Waimea Falls Park

If beach town strolls aren’t your thing (or you’re on a serious shaved-ice sugar rush) then check out our post on our favourite hikes in Oahu. Specifically, one of the best things to do in North Shore, Oahu is the hiking trail in Waimea Falls Park. Home to over 300 species of tropical plants, this easy hike ends with a beautiful 50ft waterfall and is the perfect North Shore activity to tire out shaved ice fuelled children (or boyfriend, in my case). Check out our post for all the info!

Looking Through Trees North Shore Oahu

North Shore Beaches

There’s no denying one of the main reasons anyone ventures to this neck of the woods, is for the North Shore Beaches. From October until April the North Shore Beaches are packed with professional surfers, braving the 40ft waves at Waimea Bay, Pipeline and Sunset Beach. In the Summer however, from May until September the North Shore beaches are some of the best in the world for snorkelling, swimming and deep sea diving.

Surf Boards Outside In North Shore Oahu

Mokuleia Beach Park

If you are just leaving Haleiwa and turn left (head West) this will lead to one of the best North Shore Beaches called Mokuleia. Mokuleia is a 38.5 acre beach park, with many picnic tables, a large parking area and even a camp site where you can rent a cabin or bring your own tent. It is also one of the best North Shore beaches for wind and kite surfing!

Beach On North Shore Oahu

Waimea Bay Beach Park

If instead you turn right when leaving Haleiwa you will come across Waimea Bay Beach Park. It is famous for cliff jumping, surfing at Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach – famous for, well sunset. This is one of the most famous North Shore beaches for crazy high waves in Winter, so if you are not a professional, we advise sticking to the spectator spots.

Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach)

Although Laniakea Beach is known as Turtle Beach for being one of the best north shore beaches to spot these majestic sea creatures in the wild it has actually became a safety hazard due to crowding. As the parking used to be opposite the beach, it became incredibly dangerous with crowds of people crossing the busy road to view the turtles. So much so, they banned parking their altogether. If you are still determined to visit (which will likely be worth it as turtles visit all year round) then you will have to park further down the coast and walk up.

Man Looking Like A Turtle North Shore Oahu

Ali’i Beach Park

Alternatively, visit Ali’i Beach Park or Haleiwa Beach Park (where surfers go to Pua’ena Point) and you will see turtles without the crowds! Ali’i Beach Park, particularly on the Kaena Point side is one of the best north shore beaches according to the Hona Guardians (turtle guardians) who educate visitors about these charming creatures. We were recommended the best time to see the sea turtles is around lunch time – any time between 11am and 1pm. Please stick to the rules and advice of the Hona guardians and do not use flash photography or get within 10 metres. It is in fact illegal to touch a sea turtle, so keep the selfie sticks away and just enjoy their presence peacefully from afar without causing distress.

On a time & budget limit? You need this tour..

If you are limited on time and/or budget then a North Shore Half day (7 hours) tour will be perfect for you! Not only does the knowledgeable guide pick you up (and drop off) in Waikiki but you will be taken to the famous North Shore Beaches – Sunset Beach and Turtle Beach as well as dine at the famous North Shore Shrimp Shack and drop in passed Haleiwa and the Dole Pineapple Plantation. All for a fabulous price! Book Here

Pupukea Beach / Sharks Cove

Do not be fooled by the title, you will not find Sharks in Sharks cove. Pupukea Beach is one of the best North shore beaches for snorkelling thanks to the shark shaped bay of Shark’s cove. These waters are home to a huge array of marine life including those majestic turtles! One of the most popular North Shore beaches for diving as there are many lava tubes and caves to explore, however please note no lifeguard is on duty so please snorkel safely and only dive if experienced in the strong Oahu current!

Sharks Cove Beach On North Shore Oahu

Swim With Sharks (Mano)

If you were disappointed in that previous admission that there are no sharks at Sharks Cove then book yourself into one of the best things to do in North Shore, Oahu – swim with sharks. There are so many tours to choose from, whether you’re brave enough to get amongst them in the water or learn about these fascinating creatures from the comfort of a boat tour. Either way, you are likely to also witness dolphins, turtles and if you’re visiting the North Shore in Winter – humpback whales!

Swim with Sharks - without the heart racing price!

If there’s one thing that get’s our hearts racing (more than the idea of swimming with sharks) it’s the idea of a good bargain! This 2 hour tour will take you on a scenic boat ride out onto the stunning sea before the adrenaline seekers can head in to the shark cave for 20 minutes with these majestic creatures. Those not braving the cage can stay onboard the boat and watch for dolphins, turtles and whales as well as the sought after sighting of the sharks! This is the best tour and price we could find!

North Shore Food Trucks

Now we’re near the end of the things to do in North Shore, Oahu you have surely worked up an appetite. There is no denying the North shore food trucks are unmissable – both for flavour and because there are so many, they are literally unmissable. Serving up everything from Tacos to Thai food, visiting the North Shore and not sampling a food truck treat would be like visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. There’s probably an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t pick a favourite, but ever the rebels, we did. Aji Limo truck wins hands down for food and looks. Read all about it here.

Colourful Food Truck On North Shore Oahu

Polynesian Cultural Center

Allow a whole day for the Polynesian Cultural Center, as it is one of the most memorable things to do in North Shore, Oahu. Opening in 1963 and spanning an amazing 42 acres, the Polynesian Cultural Centre shares the fascinating history of Polynesian Culture through interactive activities, drama and dance. Voted Oahu’s number 1 paid attraction, it even features an IMAX theatre and a traditional Luau in the evening. A Luau is one of the most exciting things to do in North Shore, Oahu and one of the most memorable dining experiences we’ve ever had.

Fiji Performance Polynesian Cultural Center Oahu

Kualoa Ranch

As you leave the North Shore beaches behind, you might recognise the luscious green scenery from classic movies such as Jurassic Park or Pearl Harbor. Kualoa Ranch was also used as the location for TV shows such as Lost and Hawaii Five-0. You can see the Movie Set tour via Jurassic jeep or by horseback amongst many other tour options. One of the best things to do in North Shore, Oahu for adrenaline seekers and Movie fans alike!

View Of Kualoa Ranch Oahu - Mountains And Palm Trees

For more photos of our adventure in Hawaii, please take a peek at our gallery.

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By |2018-12-02T02:17:44+00:00November 18th, 2018|Travel Tips|22 Comments

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Nidhi Saraf

The shave ice and pineapple farm, looks amazing. So tempting and relaxing to go to this place. Very well written and inspiring.

Mindy

I also swam with sharks there and visited Kualoa Ranch (took an ATV tour!). I wrote a similar blog post titled “What to do in Oahu” and I also stayed in the North Shore (at Turtle Bay Resort). However, our posts are very differing – you have several things on here that I’ve seemed to miss! (I think I covered too much ground for one post haha!) Though I did try a bunch of the delicious food trucks! I miss North Shore ❤️❤️❤️🙌🏻🤙🏻

madhu sharma

Wow North shore looks incredible..with so many options to hangout. I would surely want to visit pineapple plantation and collect some suvienier.

Candy

This post makes me want to revisit Hawaii. I loved the Dole Pineapple Plantation and Laniakea Beach, but haven’t been to the other places you mentioned. Time for me to head back! 🙂

Mijia Eggers

-i haven’t been to this place. It seems to be interesting and is a family-friendly place. Thanks for sharing.

Linda de Beer

The more I read about Hawai outside of Waikiki the more I think I should add it to my travel bucket list. Apart from enjoying the wonderful nature like in Waimea Falls Park, I’d not only love to visit the Surf Museum but also see some surfers in action on those legendary waves.

Hayley

Hawaii is one of my top bucket list places!! That’s crazy about the turtle beach – how crowded it gets but I would still love to see that. It must be such an experience. Kualoa also sounds amazing. I’ve seen all of those movies/TV shows so would be incredible to be there.

Izzy

Fantastic guide! I feel like I have a much better handle of what to do and see in the North Shore and I love your recommendations on other experiences. There’s a poke place in the Bay Area that sells dole whip, and like you, I was absolutely converted to team pineapples after my first taste! Also, awesome recommendation about Ali’i Beach Park!

Rahma Khan

I am beach lover and I absolutely love all the details mentioned in this post! This was seriously informative!

Mary Beth

Eeeeeekkk!!! Did my honeymoon here! Missed a few of these, tho… Aw, darn… guess that means I have to go back!

Marie

You had me at dole whip! Would love to visit the North Shore, Oahu – you’ve got plenty of suggestions for things to do. I like the idea of visiting farmers markets in Haleiwa as it gives you a feel for the local area and swimming with the sharks sounds amazing!

lizzie

So many beautiful things to do here. Hawaii is on the bucket list so I will definitely save this post for later.

Marissa Anwar

I’m heading there for the first time soon! Bookmarked this!

Karen Rose

Amazing piece I will be sure to use it to plan my own Hawaii trip <3 It's been not the Bucket List for soooo long! Love the angel wings photo 🙂

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