There are different roads to the North Shore of Oahu, but all routes take travelers to historic Haleiwa Town, a quaint town with ‘ono grinds (delicious foods), fun shops, and some of the world’s best surf.
Pronounced Hah-lay-EE-va, Haleiwa means “house of the frigate bird.” It started as a plantation settlement in the days when Dole and Del Monte still tended large swaths of land growing pineapple and sugar cane. Today Dole Plantation still operates a smaller pineapple plantation, but the old plantation days of Hawaii’s past are over, leaving some small-town gems.
Haleiwa is a consummate surf town today, with surfboards and racks outside many shops and homes. The town is the start of the “8 Mile Miracle,” a stretch of surf from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach where in winter months waves can crest at 40 feet. It’s a stunning sight to behold from a safe distance on shore. Do not attempt to get in the water when waves reach dangerous heights.
If you only come for a daytrip to the North Shore, be sure to come hungry.While most towns in Oahu feature only brick-and-mortar restaurants, Haleiwa is unique with an array of food trucks that offer plate lunches including huli chicken, garlic shrimp, fish tacos and more. After a meal, stop by Matsumoto’s for some delicious shave ice.
Haleiwa and the North Shore provide a nice relief from the bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki. With its cute boutiques and galleries, Haleiwa is the perfect retreat during your stay.
A few more stops to consider when visiting the North Shore and Haleiwa Town:
Beautiful sunset at Turtle Beach on Oahu’s north shore coast near Haleiwa. The mountain range in the background marks the western tip of Oahu, Ka’Ena Point. Hawaii, USA. Image is cross processed. Photo by Shutterstock/wallix