Oahu’s North Shore, otherwise known as the “Country,” is a place that shouldn’t be missed while on the island. If you’re traveling to another Hawaiian Island, there’s a good chance you’ll pass through Oahu and have a day between islands. Even if you’re on Oahu for a week, you may be so busy you’ll only have one day on the North Shore. For a day on Oahu on the country side, head out towards Haleiwa. Stop into Haleiwa Cafe for breakfast. It’s a North Shore staple and owned by a surfboard shaper who’s lived on the North Shore for decades. It’s a classic almost but not quite diner style eatery. Breakfast is simple but great, eggs, home fries, Mexican breakfasts, pancakes, and espresso machine, you get the idea.
Head out of Haleiwa going east and take a stop at Laniakea Beach. Known as Turtle Beach due to the high amount of green sea turtles that feed on the reef here, walk down to the beach and take a look. During the fall and winter months there’s likely to be waves here so look out into the ocean and watch surfers catch waves. Keep moving east and you’ll come to Waimea Bay. This is a beautiful beach, nicest in the morning when it’s slightly less crowded than the rest of the day. If you’re in the mood for some sun and sand head onto the beach. If it’s winter, waves here could be simply humungous. Be careful of the ocean and aware of the calls the lifeguards are making.
Continuing on your way stop at Foodland for snack or drinks if you’d like. Just past Foodland is Shark’s Cove where you’ll find wonderful snorkeling and often times protected swimming in a big reef pool. The shop right across the street at the bottom of Pahoe Road rents surfboards, snorkel gear, and bicycles for the day. The North Shore bike path is a really nice path to peddle around if you feel like renting a bike. If you feel like spending time at Shark’s Cove, go for it. But if you’re in the mood for an expansive white sand beach, take the second left after Shark’s Cover. It will take you to a narrow paves road that goes parallel to the highway You’ll see a few parking spots along the road here and get one if you can. Walk east for 20 seconds and you’ll see a sandy path leading to the beach. This is Ke`iki Beach, it’s long, beautiful, and covered in thick, find white sand. It’s one of the less crowded beaches on the North Shore but on weekends it’s a little busier. Enjoy a couple of hours here, don’t forget sunscreen, and be very, very careful for the waves. Walking farther east along the beach is a favorite for many residents just to enjoy a long beach stroll. The first lifeguard stand you’ll come to is a part of the beach called Rock Piles, and the second is the famous Pipeline at Ehukai Beach Park.
If you’re in the mood for a break from all the beach time, take a walk up to Waimea Falls. The grounds are covered with native plants and plaques with their names. On the way up to the waterfall you’ll pass beautiful flowers, taro, tall trees, a river, and enjoy the tree canopy overhead. It’s also a good place to take small children in strollers. Once you reach the falls you can just take them in or take a dip.
Back on the road, you’ll come to Ehukai and Pipeline, noticeable because of the grassy area and the elementary school across the street. It’s a beautiful beach, but if there’s waves the thrill is really in watching the surfers. Farther down the road is Sunset Beach. A gorgeous beach, especially for watching the sunset, it’s another great spot to watch surfers on huge and perfect waves in the winter. Spend some time here enjoying the sand, and if the waves are small, take a swim. About 10 minutes east is Turtle Bay Resort where the golf course side restaurant called Lei Lei’s is a perfect place for a meal any time of day. If you have kids, the putting green right there is the official, unofficial place for the kids to hang if they want to leave the table. Good food, good service, and a good experience is what you’ll find at Lei Lei’s.
Now head back to Haleiwa for sunset at Ali`i Beach Park. To the left of the building is a great and less visited turtle beach. They like to rest on the sand in the later part of the day. In Haleiwa you’ll have the option of Mexican food for dinner at Cholo’s, chart house style food at Haleiwa Joe’s, Thai at Haleiwa Eats, or more gourmet Mexican food at Luibueno’s. Enjoy!