The North Shore is a must see when you are on O’ahu. This is a much more quiet place than for example the touristy peninsula of Waikiki, and as far as I’m concerned you get to see a bit more of the ‘authentic’ Hawaii (even though there is no doubt that the North Shore also is adapted for tourists). You can go with a tourist group to see the North Shore, but I suggest renting a car. You will soon find out that it is more than worth the 60-90 dollars it costs to rent a car for the day, and if you want to be extra fancy (and touristy) you can even rent a convertible.
The good thing about renting a car is that you can stop whenever you want and at whatever place looks interesting. I have put down the route we took when driving to the North Shore this weekend, and all of us were very satisfied with that route. It was a day well spent at the North Shore!
The Dole Plantation
The first stop on our route was the world famous Dole Plantation. Here you can visit a maze or take a little ‘express’ train to see the different sorts of fruit they are growing there, as well as getting a little history in. Make sure to try their good pineapple ice cream called the Dole Whip!
The Historic Town Of Haleiwa
Next stop on the trip was the historic town of Haleiwa. Here you can find little shops and restaurants with a lot of charm. Make sure to visit Haleiwa Bowls for the best acai bowl on the island and Matsumoto’s shave ice to taste Barack Obama’s favorite.
On Turtle Beach you can see beautiful Hawaiian sea turtles. I’ve been here twice, and the first time there were a few turtles there chilling on the beach. This time we could spot one in the water! So this is a place where you can take the chance to swim with some turtles.
Waimea Valley, Beach and Falls
Waimea beach is the home of the world famous surf competition called ‘The Eddie’. In the wintertime this place is full of huge waves, but in the summer time it is just like any other calm beach where you can swim, relax and snorkle. When you are here you should also visit Waimea Valley, which contains a lot of interesting trees and flowers and do the short trail hike up to Waimea Falls. When the waterfall is calm enough it is possible to swim here.
Eat at a Food Truck
The North Shore is famous for their various food trucks, so make sure to grab a bite here. You can find them all along the Kamehameha highway, but if you plan on following this route and go to Shark’s Cove, I suggest stopping at the Sharks Cove Grill right across the street.
After grabbing a bite right across the street, you can go to Shark’s Cove or Three Tables to relax at the beach. This is also a good snorkeling spot with a lot of different fish and reefs to explore.
Take the Coast Line Highway
On the way home to Waikiki make sure to take the scenic Kamehameha highway that runs along the coast.
If you want to just visit Kualoa Ranch, you have the perfect opportunity on the way home from the North Shore. If you on the other hand want to do some of the activities they offer there, like zip lining, ATV tours or horseback riding, I recommend spending a day here. The ranch is the home of several film locations of famous movies like Jurassic Park and World, Fifty First Dates and the TV- show lost. Read more about the ranch here.