12 Hours on the North Shore
Give us a day, and we'll give you that true Hawaiian spirit you've been searching.
If it isn’t already, Oahu’s North Shore should definitely be on your radar. It is bustling Honolulu’s opposite in more than just location. And while the Aloha State’s capital is definitely worth its fair share of exploring, the North Shore beckons with a quintessential Hawaiian charm that can’t be ignored. Easy-going seaside towns, a rainbow of flavors, and the type of swells surfers dream of all add to its allure. Thankfully, the region’s best stops can be experienced in a day, so spare any excuses and hit the road heading north.
8 a.m. – If you haven’t already done so, grab the rental car your travel consultant arranged for you. This is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to a Jeep experience – sense of adventure included. You’ll have just an hour drive to soak up the incredible scenery along the way.
9 a.m. – Start the morning right – with a steaming cup of joe featuring Hawaii’s famous beans. Get it to go from the Coffee Gallery in Haleiwa. This joint sources beans from all over the islands and blends them together to create heavenly brews.
9:30 a.m. – Don’t deny yourself the most important meal of the day. Stop for breakfast at Haleiwa Bowls. Located right down the road from the Coffee Gallery, this palm-fringed hut serves fresh acai bowls with a variety of delicious and healthy toppings. Try the Mana Bowl, a blend of chilled acai puree covered with a layer of fresh bananas, organic granola, raw coconut flakes, and honey.
10 a.m. – After breakfast, head into the center of town for some serious souvenir shopping. You’ll find island-made goods and tropical delights to bring to friends and family back home and to keep as a memento of your vacation. This is also the perfect time to stop by Matsumoto’s Shave Ice. Lines form out the door of this convenience store, and for good reason. They serve cold scoops of this Hawaiian favorite to hundreds of visitors and locals throughout the year. You’ll have a wide variety of colorful syrups to decorate your shave ice and to add delicious flavors like strawberry, banana, coconut, and lychee.
11 a.m. – Cruise north on the Kamehameha Highway towards Waimea Valley, a significant region to Hawaii’s history and culture, and filled with natural beauty. Enjoy a three-quarter-mile hike on a paved path through the lush foliage to the stunning Waimea Falls.
12:30 a.m. – You’ll deserve a rest after you make the trek back from the falls. Thankfully Oahu’s second most famous beach, Waimea Bay, is right there to welcome you. In summer and spring, this cove is pure paradise and offers golden sand for lounging and calm blue waters for floating.
1:30 p.m. – Your grumbling tummy is sure to pull you away from the warm sand at some point. Luckily, Shark’s Cove is right nearby and is home to some of North Shore's best food trucks. The smoky, spicy aromas wafting from Kau Kau BBQ will have your mouth watering. Grab one of their succulent pork and pineapple sliders. Tingle your taste buds with fresh Thai food from the Elephant Truck, or fill up on the garlic greatness found at the North Shore Shrimp Truck. You and your stomach will be smiling, filled with dishes, drinks, and desserts made from the island’s fresh ingredients and unique flavors.
2:30 p.m. – Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to snorkel in Hawaii’s clear water. The surrounding Pacific Ocean is rich in sea life and vibrant reefs, and Shark’s Cove is the perfect place to get your fins wet. Grab some gear at one of the surrounding rental shops and jump in right from the shore. You’ll have the chance to meet some of the ocean’s famous creatures, such as parrot fish, butterfly fish, tang, eels, and sea turtles.
3:30 p.m. – Continue north, making a pit stop at one of the surfing world’s most renowned swells. Just off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea is the Banzai Pipeline, a reef break notorious for being one of the most dangerous and exhilarating spots to surf. The waves recorded here are some of the biggest in the world, and the monstrous curls of the winter months inspire many daredevils and pro surfers to try and earn the bragging rights of having conquered these iconic curls. If this kind of adrenaline rush isn’t on your agenda, watching these pros hang ten from the safety of the shore is definitely a must-see.
4 p.m. – During your visit to Oahu, you’re sure to see a blend of cultures on this diverse island. But to truly understand the spirit of Hawaii, visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. This educational park features eight villages that represent the islands and peoples of the Polynesian culture, including Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, and, of course, Hawaii. You’ll enjoy live demonstrations of traditional ways of life, along with interactive activities and shows. Try your hand at spear throwing or hula, and be sure to catch a canoe tour through the park.
6 p.m. – The Polynesian Cultural Center also happens to be home to the most authentic luau in Hawaii, and your Liberty Travel consultant made sure to book you tickets to this exciting dinner show. Enjoy a luau buffet that includes tropical favorites and traditional fare, such as poi and kalua pig that was roasted in an underground oven known as an imu.
8 p.m. – After dinner, sit back and enjoy as the entertainment continues with fire breathers, hula lessons, and a number of vibrant dances. The colors of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset mark the perfect end to an eventful day on the North Shore.
Ready to spend a day exploring the North Shore? Talk to your Liberty Travel Consultant today to start planning your own Hawaiian vacation filled with culture, excitement, and the aloha spirit.