Most people have heard of Oahu’s North Shore and it’s legendary surf spots such as Sunset Beach, Pipeline, and Waimea Bay. What most people don’t realize is that there is so much more to this stretch of coast than barreling waves and beach bodies. Even when there are no waves, there is a myriad of options for things to do on the North Shore for adventure lovers and casual tourists alike. Here are a few of our favorites:
The mountains of Oahu are rugged and lush, giving you a fantastic canopy to stay out of the sun. As you climb in elevation, the view gets more and more broad until the ocean takes up most of your vision. Mt. Ka’ala is the highest mountain to climb, which gives you views of the entire island, and on a clear day, you can see all the way to Kauai.
The underwater reefs and lava tubes off the North Shore are full of amazing coral and fish life. Sharks Cove is a popular place for snorkeling, despite the name. There are several scuba diving outfits in the area to show you the goods. Scuba diving can only happen when the swells are down, so even if you are a surfer, this is a great way to be active on the days when there are no waves.
The beauty of the North Shore attracts as many artists as it does athletes. The talent around is stunning, and the cafe’s and galleries are full of amazing artwork. Head to Haleiwa town and simply wander around to see the abundance of artists and their artwork. You don’t want to miss the Clark Little gallery, where this unique photographer showcases some amazing images of waves and underwater scenes.
The waters off the North shore are much less populated by boats than the southern end of the island, meaning you have a better catch of catching the “big one”. There are a number of charter boats who operate out of Haleiwa harbor who know where to go to catch some amazing Mahi Mahi, ahi, and much more. If you were craving fresh sushi on your Hawaiian vacation, there is no better way to get it than by pulling it out of the sea yourself.
When the surf isn’t massive, you can take a boat out of Haleiwa harbor and explore the North Shore by sea. The consistent trade winds will provide the momentum most of the year, except when too dangerous. But a variety of charter boats will take you out when the conditions are right – check the listings or cruise on down to the harbor to find the right boat for your group.
Perhaps one of the most scenic drop zones on the planet, skydiving in Hawaii might be one of the best places anywhere. Watch the island grow from a tiny dot to a huge land mass in less than a minute, and casually float down to the North Shore’s Dillinger Airfield with plenty of WWII history surrounding you. Tandem and solo flights are available.