Cliff Diving, Waimea Bay, Oahu's North Shore

Top 25 Best Things To Do On North Shore Oahu (#2 Is A Shocking MUST!)

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Diving with sharks off Haleiwa coast. Watching Hawaiian green sea turtles on Laniakea Beach. Swimming at the base of Waimea Falls. Cliff jumping into Waimea Bay.

The things to do on North Shore Oahu are simply amazing!

In the early 2000s, we could really enjoy a peaceful, quiet stroll on Waikiki’s spectacular beaches!

Fast forward to our most recent trip, and welcome to the post-Covid travel craze! Crowds everywhere.

The one time we really felt transported back to the peace and quiet of the early 2000s was when we spent a couple of days on the North Shore of Oahu.

Those two days on the North Shore, Oahu, were the best days of our vacation!

And if you are an experienced or professional surfer, the main reason you are visiting Oahu is to surf the massive waves of the world-famous Banzai Pipeline.

Even if you are not, like us, don’t despair – we found watching the surfers from the beach is almost as satisfying!

Watching the action on the world-famous Banzai Pipeline is one of the best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Watching the action on the world-famous Banzai Pipeline is one of the best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Join me on a virtual exploration of Oahu’s North Shore!

From fun-filled adventure activities to just lazing on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world to admiring spectacular sunsets from the best vantage points, the North Shore of Oahu is truly stunning and a must on any Oahu itinerary!

Short on time? Head directly to our list of the top 10 things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!

Planning your trip to Oahu? Check out our 2024 guide to the most popular tours and excursions in Oahu!

What to do on the North Shore of Oahu: Watch a fiery sunrise over Sunset Beach
What to do on the North Shore of Oahu: Watch a fiery sunrise over Sunset Beach

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North Shore Oahu

North Shore Oahu spans from Kaena Point to Kahuku Point, as you can see from the map below, 17 miles of coastline for surfing, snorkeling and diving!

When we were staying in Waikiki, we took roughly an hour to visit most spots on the North Shore.

Oahu’s North Shore is far enough to lure only destination-specific tourists, just those, like us, who want to enjoy what the North Shore offers.

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

North Shore Oahu Map

The North Shore Oahu map below shows the locations of the best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu described in this detailed guide.

Directions to North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

The simplest, and most convenient, way to get to the North Shore is by car, either with a rental car or a ride share like Uber or Lyft.

We chose the coastal route which is more scenic. We drove along the east coast of Oahu on the H-3, Kahekili, and Kamehameha highways, passing by Kaneohe Bay, Chinaman’s Hat, and Kualoa Ranch.

Kaneohe Bay, Koolua Mountains and Chinaman's Hat on the scenic coastal route to the North Shore of Oahu
Kaneohe Bay, Koolua Mountains and Chinaman’s Hat on the scenic coastal route to the North Shore of Oahu

The alternative, the freeway route, is faster. You drive through Central Oahu on the H-1 and H-2 highways, passing by Pearl Harbor, Aloha Stadium, and Dole Plantation.

Taking the Bus to North Shore, Oahu, HI

If time is important on your vacation, I definitely would not recommend the bus.

But it sure is affordable: $3.00 per ride or $7.50 for a day pass.

Head to the Ala Moana Center near Waikiki and take bus #52 or #55.

Check here for the latest schedules and fares.

Day Trip to North Shore Oahu: Best 2024 Tours

If you have limited time, a tour is your best option and will offer you the convenience of a designed package and transportation.

Here are some of the 5-star rated, highly popular, North Shore of Oahu tours:

On one of our first trips to Oahu, we took the Small Group North Shore Circle Island Tour which gave us a wonderful flavor of North Shore.

We were lucky to have a very knowledgeable tour guide, native to the island, who shared some wonderful personal insights.

Best Things to Do on North Shore Oahu

Any North Shore Oahu bucket list must include the Banzai Pipeline (especially, in winter) and cage diving with sharks!

When I was vacationing with family and small kids, Waimea Valley Falls was a must-visit destination. Our kids loved the Polynesian Cultural Center. If your kids like snorkeling, try the Pupukea tide pools.

Our teenage kids had so many fun things to do on the North Shore of Oahu: biking the North Shore Bike Path, ziplining, hiking on the Kaena Point Trail and the Ehukai Pillbox Trail, snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, and so on.

Sunset view from Kaena Point, Oahu
Sunset view from Kaena Point, Oahu’s North Shore

Want laid-back free things to do on the North Shore of Oahu? Relax on beautiful Mokuleia Beach, enjoy a romantic sunset on Sunset Beach, and explore Haleiwa town and its local art galleries.

If you are a foodie, you must try the shrimp trucks. Enjoy traditional Hawaiian Poke bowl, acai bowls and shave ice.

There are things to do on the North Shore of Oahu for everyone!

1. Surf the Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore

The waves on the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) are to die for!

Professional surfers across the world come here during winter to compete in international tournaments, making Ehukai Beach one of the most-visited Oahu north shore beaches during those months.

Surfing the Banzai Pipeline, North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Surfing the Banzai Pipeline is a North Shore Oahu bucket list item for professional surfers!

If you’re not a professional surfer, like us, not to worry! Just watching the action from the safety of the beach is pure joy, and is one of the best free things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!

The dazzling grace of professional surfers as they conquer towering, 25+ feet, waves is truly stunning!

Planning your Oahu itinerary? Read our guide to the best Oahu tours and excursions, from shark cage diving to snorkeling with turtles and kayaking to the Mokes!

2. Dive with Sharks (North Shore Oahu Must-Do!)

While surfing on the Banzai Pipeline is not for everyone, diving with sharks is something most people can do and one of the best fun things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!

With today’s modern technology, boats are outfitted with polyglass and steel cages that can be lowered into the water, from which we can safely have close encounters with sharks, even great white sharks!

Cage diving with sharks is among my favorite best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!
Cage diving with sharks is among my favorite best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!

Most shark tours leave from Haleiwa Harbor on Oahu’s North Shore, and head out to the open ocean.

Experienced tour boat captains know where to find sharks, even pelagic (deep open ocean) sharks, the big ones!

We took our teenage kids on North Shore Shark Adventures’ Oahu Shark Dive tour, we just loved it!

Learn all about swimming and cage diving with sharks in Oahu.

3. Swim in Waimea Valley Falls

If you are vacationing in Oahu with your family and small kids, you will love Waimea Falls!

The hike to Waimea Valley Falls is a breeze, even for families with small kids, and is one of our best easy Oahu hikes. You are walking on a well-maintained, paved path through a beautiful botanical garden.

Waimea Falls (also known as Waihi Falls) is a roaring 45-foot tall waterfall amidst lush rainforest vegetation.

Best of all, the base is a natural pool, and one of the few places in Oahu where you can legally swim at the waterfall!

Waimea Falls pool, one of the best fun things to do on the North Shore of Oahu for families with kids
Waimea Falls pool, one of the best fun things to do on the North Shore of Oahu for families with kids

A lifeguard is stationed on duty, and life jackets are provided. A changing room and other facilities are available near the pool.

Please note that Waimea Valley has an entrance fee, for details and how to save money, check out our tips on visiting Waimea Valley.

4. Hike the Ehukai Pillbox Trail on North Shore Oahu

If you are up for some exercise, hiking the Ehukai Pillbox Trail, one of the best Oahu hikes on the North Shore, might be just the thing for you.

The Ehukai Pillbox Trail is a ridge hike to two pillboxes (World War II remnants of military observation posts).

By design, these pillboxes offer spectacular views of the surrounding ocean and coastline.

When we hiked this in winter, we were in for a treat, especially on surfing tournament days: we had a panoramic view of the Banzai Pipeline and the professional surfers performing their magic on towering waves!

Ehukai beach during a surf contest from the Ehukai Pillbox hike on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Ehukai beach during a surf contest from the Ehukai Pillbox hike on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Not winter? Then hike the Ehukai Pillbox trail in the evening.

The Ehukai Pillbox Trail’s pillboxes are among the best vantage points for watching spectacular sunsets on Oahu’s North Shore coastline.

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

5. Stroll through Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens (A Must-See!)

In the mood to enjoy nature? Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens is our answer!

For plant-lovers, Waimea Valley is heaven: 5000 types of plants from all over the world, arranged along themes (for example, Polynesian, medicinal, food).

Don’t miss the giant lily pads (Victoria Amazonica) as you enter the park: one of the best spots for an Instagram selfie!

Giant lily pads with flowers, Waimea Valley Falls | What to Do in the North Shore of Oahu
Giant lily pads with flowers, Waimea Valley Falls | What to Do in the North Shore of Oahu

Overwhelmed? Our quick guide to the highlights in Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens is a must-read.

And don’t forget to explore the ancient temples and structures as well. After all, Waimea Valley is an archaeological site.

Note: Waimea Valley has an entrance fee, and for details and options to save some money, please check here for tips on how to plan your visit.

6. Enjoy Tao Luau: One of the Best Luaus on North Shore Oahu

The North Shore of Oahu doesn’t match Waikiki’s ritzy food scene.

But toss in flame throwers and sparkling Polynesian culture, and, presto!

Pair of competing fire dancers spinning lit batons at night after a luau | Best Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Pair of competing fire dancers spinning lit batons at night after a luau | Best Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

You get Toa Luau, one of the best Hawaiian luaus on Oahu, a cultural and culinary experience that you don’t want to miss!

Toa Luau, held at Waimea Valley, is the only Oahu luau to be held in a beautiful botanical garden.

Toa Luau has multiple options you will want to explore.

We took a package tour Toa Luau at Waimea Valley that let us enjoy everything that Waimea Valley has to offer: the waterfalls and the swimming, the botanical gardens, the historical structures and to top it all off: Toa Luau!

>> Check pricing and availability on this highly popular, 5-star rated tour Toa Luau at Waimea Valley that includes the admission fee!

7. Admire the Sunset on Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu

Are you a vacationing couple? Strolling down Sunset Beach at sunset is one of the most romantic things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!

Sunsets on Oahu are legendary, and the best spot to watch sunsets on Oahu is the aptly named Sunset Beach on the North Shore.

Pretty much every night we spent on the North Shore of Oahu, we found ourselves heading towards the Sunset Beach Park!

Spectacular sunset at Sunset Beach Park near Waimea Valley | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Spectacular sunset at Sunset Beach Park near Waimea Valley | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

There is nothing more relaxing on a vacation than strolling down a sandy beach, admiring the incredible colors of a picture-perfect orange globe, gently drifting below the waters of the Pacific Ocean!

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

8. Zipline Over Oahu’s North Shore

As if diving with sharks and surfing the Banzai Pipeline aren’t enough, the longest zip lines on Oahu are on the North Shore.

I highly recommend this very popular, well-liked, Zipline Tour On Oahu’s North Shore tour that packages an ATV ride, rappels, sky bridges and, of course, 8 amazing zip lines over Oahu’s North Shore.

This was not just for our teenage kids, we loved the exhilarating experience and stunning views too!

>> Check out pricing and availability on this 5-star rated tour!

9. Learn to Surf on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Envious of the graceful professional surfers on the Banzai Pipeline?

While the towering waves and strong currents of the Ehukai Beach can be deadly for the inexperienced surfer, Oahu’s North Shore provides several spots where a beginner can safely learn to surf.

Surfing can be a fun family activity, especially for those with teenage kids. If you want to learn surfing or are a beginner, I strongly recommend taking surfing lessons.

My kids took surf lessons on the North Shore of Oahu where they received instruction from experienced guides, and in almost no time they were riding waves on their own.

Surfers riding a wave at Waimea Bay | Fun Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Surfers riding a wave at Waimea Bay | Fun Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

I was a complete novice, but still managed to pick up good basic surfing skills to hone on our next trip. All in all, great fun for everyone!

>> Check out pricing and availability on this popular, 5-star rated surf lessons!

10. Watch Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles on Laniakea Beach

One of the unlucky few who missed seeing Hawaiian green sea turtles while snorkeling?

Never fear, Laniakea Beach on the North Shore of Oahu usually has tons of them, basking in the sun! No wonder Laniakea Beach is popularly referred to as Turtle Beach!

Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles (honus) basking in the sun on Laniakea Beach, North Shore, Oahu
Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles (honus) basking in the sun on Laniakea Beach, North Shore, Oahu

We even found expert biologists and conservationists around who told us the names, ages and history of many of them.

An excellent place for an outing with the family and kids to learn more about one of Hawaii’s most iconic sea creatures, and, unfortunately, also deeply endangered.

11. Explore Charming Haleiwa

Haleiwa town, popular and charming surf town on Oahu's North Shore
Haleiwa town, popular and charming surf town on Oahu’s North Shore

When we were spending some time on the North Shore of Oahu, Haleiwa was our hub.

This charming small coastal town is centrally located, and a perfect spot for getting a bite in between activities.

While Haleiwa is a convenient spot to rent equipment for snorkeling, surfing and other activities, we also spend some time browsing local art galleries and admiring the architecture of the older buildings from late 1800s and early 1900s.

Lili'uokalani Protestant Church is a historic church in Haleiwa, Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu.
Lili’uokalani Protestant Church is a historic church in Haleiwa, Hawaii on the North Shore of Oahu.

12. Immerse Yourself in Polynesian Culture on Oahu’s North Shore

Wonder how ancient people (as early as 400 C.E.) managed to populate these remote Hawaiian islands?

Native Hawaiians were a sea-faring people originally from Polynesia (islands scattered over the Pacific Ocean) who reached the islands in primitive canoes.

Paddling a canoe at the Polynesian Cultural Center | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Paddling a canoe at the Polynesian Cultural Center | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

The Polynesian Cultural Center is the perfect place to expose your kids to this fascinating aspect of Hawaii, and learn more about the indigenous people of Pacific Islands like Tahiti and Tonga.

The cultural center is experiential, your kids can learn to make a lei, perform the hula dance, throw a spear, and catch fish without nets!

Our kids had a ball! If you are vacationing with your family (and even otherwise), make sure you spend some time at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

We stayed towards late evening for the Alii Luau and enjoyed a scrumptious buffet along with an incredible performance from 100+ artists.

Carvings on a Maori Pataka (food store) in the Aotearoa Village (New Zealand) at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Carvings on a Maori Pataka (food store) in the Aotearoa Village (New Zealand) at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Read all about the Polynesian Cultural Center in our best things to do in Oahu.

13. Taste Garlic Shrimp from North Shore Oahu’s Food Trucks

If you love garlic, this one is for you! Hawaiian garlic shrimp is an iconic staple of Hawaiian cuisine.

This popular local dish is made from fresh shrimp coated with flour and spicy paprika cayenne, pan-fried, mixed with a rich garlic butter sauce and served over rice.

Garlic shrimps served with white rice and lemon slice - famous dish of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Garlic shrimps served with white rice and lemon slice – famous dish of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Visit the food trucks scattered all over the North Shore of Oahu for the best, authentic, mouth-watering garlic shrimp.

We chose to stop at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, a fixture among shrimp trucks on the North Shore, close to Haleiwa, and loved the spicy flavor of their garlic shrimp.

14. Snorkel Shark’s Cove, North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

When we are visiting Oahu, snorkeling is always high on our bucket list. The underwater world of stunning coral reefs and amazing tropical fish is so different, you must experience it!

Snorkeling at Shark's Cove | North Shore Oahu Activities
Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove | North Shore Oahu Activities

Unfortunately, the best snorkeling spots around Waikiki like the popular Hanauma Bay tend to be overcrowded, with the hassle of reservations and parking.

Enter Shark’s Cove, just south of Pupukea Beach Park, on the North Shore of Oahu: a sheltered cove with calm, crystal clear waters and excellent underwater visibility – ideal snorkeling conditions! We love snorkeling at Shark’s Cove!

Note that while you might still spot a small reef shark (after all you’re in the ocean), the name Shark’s Cove comes from the shape of the cove when seen from above.

Snorkeling in the clear water of Shark's Cove | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Snorkeling in the clear water of Shark’s Cove | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

15. Learn About Hawaii’s Pineapple Industry: The Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation (yes, the Dole here is the same as the canned Dole fruit we see in our grocery store) is another popular stop for most tourists, especially for families with kids.

From humble beginnings as a local fruit stand to one of the top attractions on the island of Oahu is no small feat!

Apart from the yummy Dole Whip, our kids loved the Pineapple Garden Maze, the largest maze in the world, spanning over three acres and 14,000 colorful plants.

Dole Plantation Pineapple Maze, world's largest maze | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Dole Plantation Pineapple Maze, world’s largest maze | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

Our favorite activity was the tour through the eight gardens at the plantation ranging from coffee plants to fragrant flowers.

The Dole Plantation is included with most popular tours like these highly rated ones:

16. Browse Haleiwa Farms and Farmer’s Market

Wonder where exotic fruit like noni, papaya and breadfruit you see on the grocery shelves come from? Some come from the fertile soil of the North Shore.

Farms along the north coast | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Farms along the north coast | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

Local farms near Haleiwa and the North Shore export apples, bananas, breadfruit, coconuts, noni, papayas and pineapples to the mainland.

We tasted some local fruit from the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market including ripe pineapples, and they tasted so much better than the fruit that ripens on the grocery shelves.

Fresh coconut and tropical fruit, Haleiwa Farmer's Market | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Fresh coconut and tropical fruit, Haleiwa Farmer’s Market | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

We also bought some local fruit jam and coffee powder as souvenirs.

17. Indulge in Some Local Desserts on the North Shore of Oahu

Need to cool off after a hot, summer day? Try shave ice!

Hawaiian shave ice from food truck | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Hawaiian shave ice from food truck | What to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

Shave ice is shaved ice flavored with sweet syrup and topped with ice cream or azuki beans (homemade Japanese red beans boiled in sugar) or mochi balls.

Flavors can be as plain as vanilla or as exotic as pickled mango!

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice is our favorite, but tends to have long lines.

Health-conscious? Acai bowls may be your best option.

These are popular smoothies smothered with superfoods like nuts, fruits, and seeds available all over the North Shore of Oahu.

Healthy acai bowls, a treat in Haleiwa | What to do on the North Shore of Oahu
Healthy acai bowls, a treat in Haleiwa | What to do on the North Shore of Oahu

18. Go Cliff Jumping into Waimea Bay, North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Feeling adventurous? Jumping off a cliff into Waimea Bay might do the trick!

Jumping off a rocky cliff into the Waimea Bay | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Jumping off a rocky cliff into the Waimea Bay | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

As beaches go, Waimea Bay beach is just stunning, a golden stretch of sand and crystal clear waters!

Add in some rocky cliffs, and you have the right recipe for an adventurous swim in the calm waters of a picturesque bay.

Make sure someone takes a photo of you jumping off the cliff to post to your Instagram account.

19. Sunbathe on Mokuleia Beach, North Shore, Hawaii

Want to make your friends envious of your tan? Spend some time sunbathing on Mokuleia Beach.

Even otherwise, this beach is one of the quieter, more secluded, beaches on the North Shore.

Sunbathe on the beautiful, secluded Mokuleia Beach | Things to Do on the North Shore of Hawaii
Sunbathe on the beautiful, secluded Mokuleia Beach | Things to Do on the North Shore of Hawaii

Bring a book and laze under an umbrella, or stroll along the sand and take in another of those spectacular North Shore sunsets.

20. Hike Kaena Point

Yearning for a quiet, secluded hiking trail? Maybe a weekday, early morning hike to Kaena Point, the westernmost tip of the island of Oahu, might just fit the bill.

The Kaena Point Trail, one of the best Oahu hikes on the North Shore, is part of the Kaena Point State Park, and is an easy, relatively flat hike, on a dirt and sand trail, along the scenic coast.

Hike Kaena Point Trail along the westernmost tip of Oahu | Best Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Hike Kaena Point Trail along the westernmost tip of Oahu | Best Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

The Kaena Point Hike is an excellent choice to bond with the family, and keep the kids engaged with “who can spot a monk seal, spinner dolphin or even a humpback whale (in the winter months) first?”

Hiking alone? Plan an early morning or late evening hike: both sunrises and sunsets are spectacular and colorful!

Learn all about the Kaena Point Trail Hike here.

21. Explore the Pupukea Tide Pools (near Shark’s Cove)

The Pupukea Tide Pools are natural pools formed by volcanic rock.

Smaller kids will love exploring the tide pools, which are calmer and shallower ocean water, but still teeming with marine life.

Watch sunset at Pupukea tide pools near Shark's Cove | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu
Watch sunset at Pupukea tide pools near Shark’s Cove | Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

They will find colorful sea urchins and varieties of small tropical fish.

Teach them to spot the humuhumunukunukuapua`a, Hawaii’s state fish!

Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, reef triggerfish
Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, reef triggerfish

22. Bike the Oahu North Shore Bike Path

Want some exercise while enjoying your vacation?

The North Shore Bike Path from Waimea Bay to Sunset Beach offers stunning ocean views that can be admired while biking with the family!

Exploring the scenic North Shore of Oahu on bikes
Exploring the scenic North Shore of Oahu on bikes

Bike rentals are available all along the north shore.

If you prefer e-bikes, E-Bike Rentals will deliver your e-bikes anywhere on the North Shore and pick them up when you’re done, without a delivery fee!

23. Sample a Poke Bowl

Eating a Hawaiian Poke bowl is one of my best things to do on the North Shore!

What I love about Hawaii is the fun and delicious food that you can eat without feeling guilty, because it is healthy as well!

Hawaiian Poke bowl is just what the doctor ordered, healthy fish marinated in a blend of sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions and spices.

Eating a Hawaiian Poke bowl with salmon and avocado, one of my best things to do on the North Shore!
Eating a Hawaiian Poke bowl with salmon and avocado, one of my best things to do on the North Shore!

Traditionally, the Poke bowl consists of ahi tuna or octopus meat, but now other meat like salmon is equally popular.

Some of the best Poke bowls I’ve tried in Hawaii have been on the North Shore of Oahu!

24. Enjoy Fresh Fish at Turtle Bay Resort’s Alaia

Turtle Bay Resort is a glitzy, high-end resort in a stunning location, overlooking Turtle Bay on the North Shore.

We stopped by to sample Hawaiian comfort food based on freshly caught fish, and locally grown vegetables and fruits from their Kuilima Farm.

Savoring excellent food while watching a dramatic sunset from their panoramic view windows is one of the most romantic things to do on the North Shore of Oahu!

Spectacular sunset from Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore of Oahu
Spectacular sunset from Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore of Oahu

We loved their Kuilima Kale salad, their Alaia Catch of the Day, and their lobster curry. You’ll need a fat wallet and reservations!

25. Golf on Championship Courses at Turtle Bay Resort

Like golfing? Enjoy a round of golf at one of two championship 18-hole golf courses, part of the Turtle Bay Resort!

Designed with guidance from world-famous golfers, Arnold Palmer and George Fazio, these two courses will challenge and delight you!

Golfing at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu
Golfing at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu

You get amazing views of the Pacific Ocean waters and coast, and these courses are excellent for all levels of golfing, beginner to pro! You don’t have to be staying at Turtle Bay Resort to reserve tee time.

Absolute beginner? Now may be the time to start, and you can take classes at their state-of-the-art golf academy.

Top 10 Things to Do on the North Shore of Oahu

Juggling limited vacation time in Hawaii? Often, what to do on the North Shore of Oahu is not the question.

More likely, you’re trying to filter the top things to do on the North Shore of Oahu to the absolute must-see attractions, the must-visit places and the must-do activities, that will make your vacation memorable!

Here are my top ten things to do on the North Shore of Oahu:

Obviously your selection will depend on personal criteria, but I hope you find this list of top things to do on the North Shore of Oahu useful!

North Shore Oahu Reviews

Debating whether to head to the North Shore of Oahu? Maybe some of these tour review comments will help you decide:

Shark Dive Tour Oahu North Shore

“Trip was incredible! Fun boat ride out, amazing safety divers, freedom to do what you want in the water, and of course tons of sharks!”

— Max (see more reviews)

Zipline Tour on Oahu’s North Shore

“Great family experience … 10/10 do this if you are even thinking about it! Perfect for the 15 and 10 year old, they loved it all!”

— Jamie (see more reviews)

North Shore Circle Island Adventure Including Snorkeling with the Turtles

“Everything about this tour was amazing. Justin made it very special and fun ! Definitely highlight of mine and my wife’s trip”

— Adrian (see more reviews)

North Shore Oahu Hotels

Turtle Bay Resort is a luxury resort on Oahu’s North Shore that makes the perfect base from which to explore. Located on the beach, it is home to five outdoor swimming pools and great onsite restaurants.

>> Check price and availability for the Turtle Bay Resort now!

The Courtyard by Marriott North Shore offers a lovely outdoor pool and an onsite restaurant. Located near the beach, the hotel offers comfortably furnished rooms and paid parking.

>> Check price and availability for the Courtyard by Marriott North Shore now!

This renovated condo in the Turtle Bay area is located walking distance from beaches and restaurants. The condo offers one bedroom plus a loft and 2.5 baths. Enjoy the sea breeze on the lanai and cook in the full kitchen.

>> Check price and availability for this North Shore condo now!

This spacious North Shore condo features 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, and is perfect for a family. The condo is fully air-conditioned and just a 10-minute walk from Turtle Bay, beaches, and restaurants.

>> Check price and availability for this North Shore condo now!

Things to Do on North Shore Oahu: FAQ

What is the North Shore Oahu known for?

North Shore Oahu is world-famous for surfing on the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach), where professional and experienced surfers ride thrilling, massive 40+ feet waves in winter and many international competitions are held here.

Is North Shore Oahu worth visiting?

Absolutely! Apart from the surfing (or watching the professional surfers) on the Banzai Pipeline, you can swim and cage dive with sharks in the open ocean waters, enjoy nature in Waimea Valley and have fun with the kids at the Polynesian Cultural Center!

What are the best North Shore Oahu hikes?

Thinking about hiking on Oahu’s North Shore? The three best Oahu hikes on the North Shore are the Ehukai Pillbox Trail hike (one of the best Oahu sunset hikes), the Waimea Valley Falls Trail hike (one of the best easy Oahu hikes) and the Kaena Point Trail hike (one of the best Oahu sunrise hikes).

What the best free things to do on North Shore Oahu?

The 3 best free things to do on the North Shore of Oahu are: watch the surfing action on the Banzai Pipeline, enjoy a romantic stroll at sunset on Sunset Beach, and explore the charming town of Haleiwa.

Best Oahu Tours

Have you booked these popular Oahu tours and excursions yet?

Love snorkeling? This Turtle Canyon snorkeling excursion from Waikiki lets you frolic with colorful fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Hands down the MOST BOOKED Oahu snorkeling tour: turtle sightings are guaranteed!

The most popular luau in Oahu, Paradise Cove Luau has a 4.5 rating on Viator with over 3.5K reviews. The tour includes pick-up from your Waikiki hotel, pre-dinner games, arts, and crafts, a delicious meal, and an award-winning show.

Based in Waikiki but want to see more of the island? This full-day Oahu Circle Island Tour includes Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Haleiwa, the Dole Plantation, and more!

Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor! This popular Pearl Harbor tour includes boat tickets and round-trip transport from Waikiki.

A super popular Oahu North Shore excursion, this Oahu shark cage dive allows you to observe wild sharks in the open ocean from the safety of a cage! It’s a THRILLING Oahu adventure for your bucket list.

We have a detailed guide to the top Oahu tours and excursions if you are in the midst of planning your itinerary for the island.

Renting a Car in Oahu

If you want to explore more of the island of Oahu on your vacation, you should get a rental car.

Oahu’s popular attractions are spread over the island: the windward coast, the North Shore, and Ko Olina are great places to explore beyond Waikiki (or the greater Honolulu area).

While Oahu does have public transport options that are better than the other islands, a car offers a lot more flexibility and time savings.

We always use Discover Cars to book Oahu car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Oahu car rentals now!

Honolulu Airport-Hotel Shuttle

If you are not planning to get a rental car at Honolulu Airport, consider booking shuttle transport in advance!

This shared shuttle can be canceled up to 24 hours from the date of service. It serves hotels in Waikiki and Honolulu and then back again to the airport the day you leave. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Oahu now!

Staying in Ko Olina? Consider this round-trip airport transfer instead!

Where to Stay in Oahu

Honolulu (Waikiki in particular) offers a large number of hotels and resorts, along with shopping and dining options. Most visitors to Oahu choose to base in Honolulu at least for a part of their stay.

While many of the large chains have a presence if you are looking to use your memberships, Honolulu also has several unique boutiques to consider.

Our faves include Halekulani for a splurge stay, the Lotus Honolulu for views of Diamond Head, and The Laylow for its awesome location.

Want more room to spread out or looking to stay elsewhere on Oahu? You will find VRBO listings all over the island!

On previous trips to Oahu, we have stayed in VRBO rentals in Waikiki as well as on the North Shore and the east coast and we’ve found the choice and quality great.

>> Look for an Oahu vacation rental on VRBO now!

More Oahu Travel Inspiration

Planning a trip to Oahu? Check out our other in-depth Oahu travel guides for help finalizing your Oahu itinerary!

Start by discovering the best things to do in Oahu. We also have a detailed guide to Oahu’s North Shore, a round-up of things to do on the east side of Oahu, and the best things to do in Ko Olina, on the west coast of the island.

If you ar planning a short first visit to the island, we have the perfect day-by-day 3 days in Oahu itinerary for you!

Of course you’ll want to learn about all the exciting things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, and Waikiki, the touristic core of Oahu. We also have an article on the best places to eat in Waikiki!

Check out our guide to the best beaches in Oahu, and a round-up of the best beaches on the north shore of Oahu. Also read about must-visit Oahu waterfalls and botanical gardens in Oahu you have to visit.

Oahu is home to so many must-visit landmarks! Check out our in-depth article on how to visit Pearl Harbor, and our guides on the beautiful Waimea Valley in Oahu and the spectacular Byodo-In Temple.

Want to enjoy the thrill of observing sharks in the wild? Check out our article on shark cage diving on Oahu’s North Shore! Enjoy birding? Check out our guide to the birds of Oahu!

Discover the top places to go snorkeling in west Oahu, where you will find a long coastline with lovely beaches, and tips for snorkeling Kaneohe Sandbar on the island’s east coast as well as the super popular Hanauma Bay.

And if you love marine life, also check out our complete guide to (respectfully!) see and swim with dolphins in Oahu, and the best spots to snorkel with turtles in Oahu.

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, we have a round-up of the best Oahu hikes, and if you are looking to exclude the harder Oahu trails, a guide to the best easy Oahu hikes.

Find out how to do the iconic (and VERY popular) Diamond Head Hike near Waikiki for exceptional views. We also have a guide to the very popular Manoa Falls Trail in Honolulu.

More advanced hikers will want to read up on the Koko Head Hike, a long set of stairs leading to expansive views.

Learn where to go for the best sunsets in Oahu, whether you want to hike or enjoy watching a colorful Hawaiian sunset without working up a sweat.

We also have a guide to the best sunrise hikes in Oahu, one of which is the spectacular Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in the southeastern part of the island. The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is another wonderful sunrise hike on Oahu!

If you are a garden enthusiast, check out our detailed guide to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, our article on the unique Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and our guide to Foster Botanical Garden!

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Discover the most fun things to do on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii! Take surf lessons, go shark cage diving, hike, and more!

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