Regional Sights, Tours, & Information

Things to Do & Visitor Tips for the North Shore of Oahu

The North Shore of Oahu encompasses the 17-mile north-facing coastal area between Ka’ena Point in the west and eastward to Kahuku Point. Famous for its surfing, snorkeling, and of course the fifty-one beaches that stretch for more than 11 miles along this incredible expanse of Oahu coastline.

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 Gigantic 30-foot waves are prevalent in the winter but calm down in the summer to allow for glorious diving and snorkeling conditions. The crowds certainly gather at the area's top beaches like Sunset Beach (one of the longest surf ride locations in the world), Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach), and Waimea Beach (one of the original surfing beaches in the 50s) to soak in the rays and watch daring surfers. 

Attractions on the North Shore of Oahu

Oahu’s North Shore has plenty to offer every visitor. Take a trip to the area’s largest settlement, Haleiwa, a rural community that serves as the area's center. There you'll find plenty of surfing-themed restaurants and stores. There are also plenty of historical and cultural spots to enjoy.  Various vacation and condo rentals are also available for visitors to the island.

For activities other than surfing, the North Shore offers skydiving, sailplane, glider, and ultralight rides at Dillingham Airfield.  There is also the Waialua Coffee Visitors Center at the old Waialua sugar mill, now a working coffee mill.

The North Shore has been flashing across your television set for years. Due to its natural beauty, it is a popular area for filming. The lifeguards of "Baywatch" frolicked on the sands of Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park. The remote western regions of the North Shore were also the setting for ABC's "Lost," which was almost entirely filmed on Oahu, much of it on the North Shore. The movies "Blue Crush" and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" were also filmed in the area, as well as various episodes of "Hawaii Five-0." Another beautiful beach you might want to visit would be Hukilau Beach, which isn't very far from the Polynesian Cultural Center.

North Shore Top 5 Things to Do

Best Things to Do on Oahu's North Shore

Malaekahana Beach

#5 Rated North Shore Oahu Attraction

This gem of a beach is located between the towns of La'ie and Kahuku. It isn't widely known to visitors so your fellow beachgoers will most likely be residents.

This beach has great swimming conditions just make sure you wear reef shoes since the nearshore waters are rocky. Malaekahana's northern left end houses cabins that you can rent which would be perfect for a getaway with loved ones. Offshore you will catch a glimpse of Goat Island.

Laie Falls

#4 Rated North Shore Oahu Attraction

La'ie is a peaceful little seaside village located on the northeastern tip of the island. It's most widely known for its large Mormon influence.

In 1865, the Mormons bought 6,000 acres of land and eventually built a temple similar to the one in Salt Lake City.

Laie Falls is a 15-foot falls on the La'ie Ridge Trail and it is the first major stop on the hike. Many hikers take a quick dip here and then head back out.

Waimea Valley

#3 Rated North Shore Oahu Attraction

The beautiful Waimea Valley on North Shore, Oahu, attracts a couple thousand visitors per day however you wouldn’t know it, as its stunning botanical garden setting provides many spacious areas to relax under huge shady trees. 

It’s easy to find a quiet spot to rest on the grassy areas and unwind from the busy highways of Honolulu.  Most visitors flock to Waimea Falls, a 45-foot waterfall, located on the property, to swim and sunbathe.

 As well as being a popular tourist attraction, many folks also utilize the beautiful grounds for concerts, parties, weddings, special events, and even a weekly farmers market.

Waimea Bay Beach Park

#2 Rated North Shore Oahu Attraction

Whether you're a pro surfer to simply want to admire the beauty around you, the lovely North Shore surfing spot known as Waimea Bay Beach Park is the place to be.

During the summer or calm months conditions here on Waimea Bay are usually quite calm. Visitors can experience a very peaceful and enjoyable day of swimming or simply strolling along the sand.

During the winter months, this beach is known as one of the most famous big wave surf sites in the world. Waimea Beach is rarely short of locals, big-time surfers, and any other daredevil who wants to try out waves up to 40 feet high during the winter.

Sunset Beach

#1 Rated North Shore Oahu Attraction

Sunset Beach is the ideal North Shore paradise with two miles of white sand stretching 200-300 feet wide.

During the summer months the ocean is fairly calm, making Sunset idea for swimming and snorkeling or just relaxing on the beach. You can also peer into a few tide pools to observe some of the wonders of nature.

All North Shore Attractions

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North Oahu Sights

Oahu Surfing

Massive, bone-crunching waves and surfers on every corner - that's probably what one thinks of when they hear "North Shore." Those gigantic 30-foot waves are prevalent in the winter months but calm down in the summers to allow for glorious diving and snorkeling conditions.

The crowds indeed gather in the area's top beaches like Sunset, Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach), and Waimea Bay to soak in the rays and watch daring surfers. Both amateur and professional surfing competitions take place during the winter months, especially at the Banzai Pipeline, which is considered a top location due to its massive waves and proximity to the beach- where spectators can get a great view of the action. Some of the world’s premier surfing competitions occur here between November and February. The competitions are not always held every year, as there is a wave size requirement of 20-foot (6.1m). The enormous waves can even be dangerous for experienced surfers, so be sure to heed the warning signs and be aware that the waves break over a sharp reef only a few feet from the surface. Ocean waters tend to be calmer during the summer months, but care should still be taken at all times.

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