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O’ahu's North Shore


Along O’ahu’s spectacular North Shore, white sand beaches sweep down to an endless sea. Head north on the H-2 from Honolulu, and the multi-lane freeway suddenly becomes a leisurely two-lane road traversing through small country towns and beach communities – making it hard to believe that this piece of paradise shares the same island with busy Honolulu. Spend the entire day here to experience a sense of old Hawai’i.

            During the winter months, monster surf will be attacking the North Shore with the roar and defiance of an invading army. Endless waves come rolling into Sunset Beach, the Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. Storms can generate surf that reach as high as 30 feet, and when the waves break, the sound is like cannon fire, and the ground trembles.

            The biggest little town on the North Shore in Hale’iwa. Once a commercial and social center for the surrounding sugar plantations, it has Old-West style wooden buildings that now house boutiques, art galleries, and surf shops. Visitors don’t want to leave without a stop at Matsumoto’s or Aoki’s for “shave ice,” Hawai’i’s version of the snow cone. The North Shore Marketplace has a variety of souvenir and gift shops, a café, restaurants and even a surfing museum, making it definitely worth a stop.

            Further up north right across the street from Waimea Bay is one of O’ahu’s cultural and geological treasures, Waimea Valley. This is one of the last undeveloped valleys on the island and is home to an array of endangered native birds, an ethnobotanical garden, Hawaiian archeological sites and a lovely waterfall.

            Just past the surfing beaches is Turtle Bay Resort, the North Shore’s only full service resort. Known for its natural landscape, seaside restaurants and championship golf courses, the topography of the resort creates a breathtaking variety of vistas.  and  are among the finest in Hawai’i, and home to the PGA Champions Tour, LPGA SBS Open and Turtle Bay Championship.

            The nearby town of Kahuku is famous for its shrimp trucks – casual roadside ideas that serve fresh Kahuku prawns sautéed in garlicky and spicy sauces. The prawns are harvested in local aquaculture farms, and kama’aina (residents of Hawai’i) are known to make the trek to Kahuku just for a plate lunch from one of the shrimp trucks. Giovanni’s near the Kahuku Sugar Mill Museum (the oldest of the shrimp trucks) and Romy’s Kahuku Prawns and Shrimp at the entrance of town are popular.

            At the end of this “seven-mile miracle” is the , a definite must-see for any visitor to Hawai’i. Spend the day here and experience the cultures of seven different Pacific Island nations. Witness how coconut trees are climbed in Samoa. Learn a Maori war dance. Go on a pig hunt in a Marquesan village or for a canoe ride through all the villages.

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Last modified: 09/09/08