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48 Hours on the North Shore of Oahu

Guide to the north shore of oahu.

Brent and I didn’t know what to expect from the North Shore of Oahu.  Our friends had given us a lot of mixed reviews, but we quickly made our own opinion of this part of the island: it was awesome. 

We came to the North Shore in early November right before the consistent winter swells, surf contests, and high season starts.  For us this meant less crowded roads, beaches, and waves.  We feel we really got to enjoy the North Shore at the perfect time. 

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii don’t miss out on Honolulu or Hanalei Bay on the island of Kauai!

Palm trees against a turquoise sky in Hawaii

First, we dropped all of our luggage at our little Airbnb in Haleiwa and drove down the Kamehameha Highway to check out all the surf breaks we’ve only ever seen in movies and surf videos.  Seeing Pipeline at sunset for the first time was breathtaking.  I can understand why this wave is so popular.  It is stunning to watch from the beach and Brent got to surf the world class wave on one of the first north swells of the season.

Everything about the North Shore was super chill and laidback – living was easy and I could imagine myself wintering here for years to come.  All along Kamehameha Highway is surf break after break after break.  The beaches themselves are soft golden sand mounds with the clearest waves breaking over the reef.  It was what I would consider a true “paradise”.

Woman wearing navy bikini on sand


We by no means hit all the best spots on the North Shore but here is a list of the places we did!

Cafe Haleiwa – we came here for breakfast one morning after Brent surfed and it was a great little family owned local diner in Haleiwa.  Expect a home-cooked style breakfast.

Haleiwa Joe’s – this was our first stop when we got to the North Shore.  Good restaurant for lunch or dinner.

Banzai Sushi – great little sushi place in a plaza in Haleiwa.  Sit outside if you can!  They also had some really great salads.

Turtle Bay – Turtle Bay is the only resort on the North Shore of Oahu.  We came here for happy hour drinks and to watch the sunset on lounge chairs next to the pool with a Mai Tai in hand.  We didn’t get to eat at Lei Lei’s but we are told its a great spot for dinner.

Kahuku Superette  – on our way down south to Lanikai Beach we stopped at Kahuku Superette with the claim that they had the best poke, ever.  Don’t be turned off by the outside, or even the inside, walk to the back and you’ll find the food counter.  The poke really is the best and it was a huge serving.  They have a few different flavors but we got the spicy mayo flavor and it was quickly eaten between the two of us.

Pupukea Grill – a food truck we wished we had time to try but didn’t get around to.  This place came highly recommended to us!


Airbnb – we recommend staying in an Airbnb while on the North Shore.  Stay in Haleiwa if you want to be close to shops and restaurants.  You can find awesome Airbnb’s just off Kamehameha Highway right on the beach and just a short drive from Haleiwa.

Turtle Bay Resort – stay here if you are looking to stay in a hotel or resort!  Perfect for a honeymoon, girls weekend, or a special occasion.

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Ehukai Pillbox Hike – the trailhead is in the parking lot of the school across the street from Ehukai Beach Park.  It’s an easy hike (I think it took us an hour round trip with a break at the top) with incredible views from the top!

View of Bonzai Pipeline from above

Ehukai Beach Park – this is the parking lot for Pipeline.  I hung out at the beach here while Brent surfed.

Man holding surfboard on the beach at Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu as the sun sets

Sunset Beach – nice large beach with good waves.

Guava Shop – this was my favorite little boutique on the North Shore.  They carry a lot of great clothing and swim brands as well as accessories and jewelry. The also have an online shop!


  • Expect some traffic on Kamehameha Highway.

We then headed south to finish our trip at the Laylow in Waikiki. Along the way we stopped at Lanikai Beach which is definitely worth the stop!

Don’t forget to check out my Guide to Hanalei Bay on Kauai!

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