Hawaii, the 50th state of the U.S., has some of the most breathtakingly beautiful places to visit and explore! This gem in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is comprised of eight main islands: Hawai’i, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, O’ahu, Kaua’i, and Ni’ihau. Each island is unique and has something to offer travelers from all walks of life. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or a non stop adventure, Hawaii is the destination for you!
Oahu is my home, and it is still one of my absolute favorite ones to explore. Oahu is the island that has as a little bit of everything for everyone. It has some of the bluest of beaches in the world to dip your toes in, greenest of forests to hike, and some of the most amazing culinary experiences to be had. From the local “hole in the wall” eateries to fine dining restaurants, you won’t go hungry here. Oahu has it all!
Majority of visitors stay in Waikiki, so one of my favorite things to do is to escape the city and spend a day up in the North Shore! I recommend to get an early start in your day and head out around 7 a.m. and beat the crowd. One of my absolute favorite places to grab breakfast is at a popular local spot called Koko Head Café. You must try their famous French Toast. With a golden brown crust on the outside and fluffy sweet bread in the inside, and drizzled with the yummiest home made maple syrup over the top; it is perfection on a plate. Makes my mouth water just thinking of it!
After you fuel yourself for the day, take the scenic route around the eastern shores of Oahu and stop at the famous lookout points like the Halona Blowhole and the Makapu’u Point. You can even do a nice coastal hike to the Makapu’u Lighthouse. During Whale season you may see them breaching in the water with their calves. Watch some impressive bodyboarding going down at Sandy’s beach, but be cautious to swim here as the currents can be very strong. Make a stop at Waimanalo beach, one of Oahu’s longest stretch of beaches and then continue up to the North Shore. Take your time, as this drive is just as much about the journey, as it is about the destination! Take in all the beauty as you drive up the coast, along the majestic Ko’olau mountains, to get to the North shore.
Once you make it up to the North Shore, stretch your legs and do a nice moderate hike up to the Ehukai Pillboxes. After a 30 minute hike up, you will reach the first pillbox and then another 10 minutes, will get you to the second one. These “pillboxes” are old bunkers that were built during WWII as look out points for incoming air strikes. There are a ton of them scattered throughout the entire island, and as you can imagine, has some of the best views on the island.
After you break a sweat and make it back down from your hike, the next stop is the beach to cool down. One of my favorite beaches to relax at in the North Shore is Sunset Beach. During the summer time, the North Shore is typically calmer and perfect for some snorkeling and leisure swimming. Come here during winter time and be in awe of the massive swells that bring in waves peaking at 30-40 feet. It is absolutely mesmerizing to stand at the foot of these gigantic powerful forces of nature! Just the sounds of these enormous waves will leave you in awe. Thousands of people come during the winter to see these colossal waves and watch the brave and talented surfers charge them every year at the Triple Crown surf competitions.
After some fun in the sun, take a break and head to the little town of Kahuku and eat lunch at one of the many famous shrimp and food trucks all along Kamehameha Highway. One of my favorite places to grab some lunch is at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. When you eat here you must try a plate of their buttery, garlicky, and finger-licking good, Garlic Butter Shrimp! Many of the food trucks are cash only, so be sure to have some cash on you.
After you fuel back up and stuff your belly with yummy local plate lunches, make your way back to the beach for more fun in the sun! Make a pit stop at one of the local fruit stands and grab some fresh cut up fruit to take to the beach or get my favorite, a fresh chilled coconut to sip on. So delicious and refreshing!
After lunch I usually head back to the beach and continue snorkeling, swimming, and relaxing. There are so many activities you can do to stay active especially in the North Shore. You can rent some surfboards or body boards in Haleiwa town and surf some of the best surf breaks in the world. You can also try some stand up paddle boarding or kayaking up the Anahulu River in Haleiwa town where you will probably get to see some green sea turtles too. Waimea Valley offers a beautiful botanical garden and do a nature walk, to the refreshing Waimea Falls!
If you’re looking for a more leisurely activity, take a casual stroll through Haleiwa town and check out the awesome surf shops, local art galleries, and the many delicious eateries. Some of my favorite places to eat in Haleiwa Town are Kua’aina Burger, Kono’s, Opal Thai, Island Vintage Café, Sprout, and Matsumoto Shave Ice for dessert. After an adventure packed day up in the North Shore, I always try and catch the sunset to end my fun filled day!
With so much to see and do in the North Shore, it is definitely not to be missed. You can see why it is one of my favorite places to spend a day. Whether you enjoy snorkeling, hiking, surfing, horseback riding, body boarding, kayaking, diving, biking, or leisure strolls, the North Shore is where you will find it all! If you’re looking for an awesome way to stay active, while having a blast, definitely check out the North Shore of Oahu.
After using my Fitbit for a day adventuring up in the North Shore, doing some hiking, eating, snorkeling, and shopping, I did over 14,000 steps on my Fitbit.
What are your favorite activities in Hawaii?
This article was written by Kimberly Sueoka, an Expedia Local Expert employee. Kimberly lives in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. She loves to travel and explore as much as she can. She is a lover eating, hiking, snorkeling, fishing and spending time with her family as much as she can. She spends most of her free time laying on the beach sipping from an ice cold coconut!