Top 11 Things To Do in North Shore Oahu

White sand beach things to do north shore oahu

We spent a week in North Shore Oahu during a crazy rain storm (even for Hawaii!). We were hardly able to do half of the things we wanted to do, but that didn’t stop us from loving every minute of it. The North Shore is so incredible! We’re already planning a trip back (with hopefully better weather) because there are so many things to do in North Shore Oahu.

Here are just a few you could choose from!

Top Things to do in North Shore Oahu

1. Shark Cage Diving

If you’re afraid of sharks and the idea of cage diving terrifies you, believe me when I say I know how you feel. I was terrified, too, and even had to practice Lamaze breathing to get myself into the cage. I was so happy I did, though! Native Galapagos sharks are attracted to the hum of boat motors, not chum, after being trained to approach fishing boats who have thrown discarded fish and crab back into the ocean for decades. Galapagos sharks have no interest in humans and are incredibly safe to be around, making this an adventure of a lifetime.

Not only do you have the incredible opportunity to see sharks up close in a safe, friendly way, the boat ride out is also very scenic and travellers have a good chance of seeing dolphins and whales (depending on the time of year.)

North Shore Shark Adventures Shark Diving in Hawaii things to do in north shore hawaii

Related: North Shore Shark Cage Diving Experience

2. Visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation

Though more inland than the other activities, the Dole Pineapple Plantation is still considered part of Oahu’s North Shore and you must go.

Visitors enter the Dole Plantation through a massive gift shop of everything possible: pineapple t-shirts and candy, of course, but also trivets, coloring books, keychains, hats, magnets, stuffed toys, jewelry, chair covers, pillows, etc. It sounds awful, but it’s actually hilarious and so fun!

Beyond the gift shop you can watch a pineapple cutting demonstration, eat a famous Dole Whip Sundae, and go outside for a Dole plantation maze, pineapple growing farm, train ride through the plantation, etc. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon!

Woman makes Dole Whip Dole Plantation Review dole pineapple plantation things to do in north shore oahu

Related: Dole Pineapple Plantation and Dole Whip Review

3. Photo op at the North Shore Angel Wings

Artist Colette Miller’s Global Angel Wings art project has come to the North Shore! Recently a pair of her painted angel wings has flown to the small coastal town of Haleiwa. Miller says the angel wings represent love, peace, kindness, compassion, hope, the visitor’s inner angel, and the good we can bring to the earth.

Sounds to perfectly encompass all of the love and joy found on Hawaii, so you may as well internalize the attributes as much as possible with this interactive artwork!

Colette Miller Angel Wings Mural North Shore Oahu Things to do in North SHore Oahu
Picture via http://courtneyscott.tv/11-reasons-to-visit-the-north-shore-of-oahu/

4. Hiking Kaena Point State Park

On the eastern tip of Oahu’s North Shore is Kaena Point State Park. The Kaena Point State Park hike is one of the most beautiful on Oahu! Not only does the area include this gorgeous and easy (but long) hike, It’s also home to a group of local off-roaders. Take a few minutes to watch the monster Jeeps ride just beyond the Kaena Point hike parking lot, or join in if you have your own Jeep and want to feel local!

White truck parked at the ocean hiking kaena point state park things to do in north shore oahu

Related: Off-Roading Kaena Point State Park 

5. North Shore Camping

Beach camping in Hawaii is kind of iconic, isn’t it? And all is not lost if you don’t have your own vintage VW van! Malaekahana Beach Campground has you covered. With spots available for tents and small and large plantation houses to rent by the night any kind of camper will be satisfied. Each site has it’s own fire pit, access to the beach, outdoor showers, and a camping store for essentials. Hawaii is the perfect place to get close to nature, and there’s no better way to do it than by waking up on the sand while North Shore camping.

camping north shore oahu things to do in north shore oahu

6. North Shore Surfing

In the wintertime North Shore Oahu is home to some of the largest swells in the world. Pipelines and giant waves attract world-class surfers from every corner of the globe. If you’re a surfing enthusiast you’ll definitely want to try your hand at surfing in North Shore!

If you’re more interested in watching North Shore surfing there are plenty of opportunities to do that, too. North Shore Surf competitions take place in winter during the biggest swell season, but you can also view surfers off of most beaches.

surfing north shore oahu things to do north shore oahu

Related: All About North Shore Surf Competitions

7. Visit North Shore Turtle Beach

One of the best things to do in North Shore Oahu is look for native sea turtles! The best place to see turtles on the North Shore is on Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach (not to be confused with the North Shore resort Turtle Bay). There are some things you need to know before setting off, though: First, it is illegal to touch or get too close to the turtles. They are endangered! Feel free to watch them, but give them space! Second, this beach is so well known for watching turtles that it gets pretty crowded. By afternoon tourists swarm the beach and parking is limited. According to the Hona Guardians (volunteers who stay at the beach with information on how to safely interact with the turtles) the best time to see the sea turtles in around lunch time, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. There is a small parking lot for Laniakea Beach across the street from the beach (on the mountain side), but no crosswalk so be careful crossing the road!

North Shore Oahu Turtle Beach Laniakea Beach THings to do in North Shore Oahu
Picture via https://www.pedalgoa.com/travel/hawaii/oahu/how-to-get-to-laniakea-beach-by-bus/

8. Eat Butter Garlic Shrimp

When driving the coastal road of the North Shore you’ll find tons of food trucks offering one thing: SHRIMP. The most famous dish is butter garlic shrimp, which draws a line at the most famous food trucks. You’ll likely hear other tourists visiting Laniakea Beach or the tidepools discussing their plans for butter garlic shrimp plate dinners and start craving your own. I’m not going to say which food truck is better than any other, the most important thing is that you just go to one. And consider calling ahead to order your shrimp plates- it took us 30 minutes just to get to the payment counter and another 20 to wait for our meals!

Shrimp food truck north shore things to do in north shore oahu
picture via https://www.bigbearswife.com/giovannis-shrimp-truck-north-shore/

9. Go to a Polynesian Cultural Center Luau

Yes, it’s a fabricated luau which isn’t as great as an authentic family luau, but what are the odds you’ll find a local family luau while you’re on the North Shore? The Polynesian Cultural Center luau is also a bit pricey. Luau costs $120-$250 depending on your luau package! But the PCC is also more than dinner and a show. You’ll get authentic Hawaiian food and see hula and fire dancers during your meal, but feel free to come early or stay after your appointed luau time to experience the rest of the center, which is a living museum of Polynesian culture. Tour the acreage which features 6 different Polynesian islands and learn what makes them each unique and special. There are plenty of demonstrations in each location, which keep old and young interested! Luau prices also include a daily showing of Ha: Breath of Life, an incredible live production that chronicles life on a Polynesian island.

The PCC is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and mostly employed by students from the nearby BYU-Hawaii campus. You’ll meet performers from the islands being featured, which is a huge plus!

Crowd at Polynesian Cultural Center Luau things to do in north shore oahu

Get discount Polynesian Cultural Center tickets here

10. Cliff Dive Waimea Falls

To see lush Hawaiian landscape make a stop at Waimea Valley. It’s home to an easy, gorgeous botanical walk/ hike that leads to a huge waterfall. You can swim at the base of the waterfall and even cliff dive off the top of it (or watch those who do!)

Waimea Falls is run by Waimea Valley, a non-profit that is committed to preserving the land and Hawaiian culture. Entrance to Waimea Valley costs $8 for children and $16 for adults 12+.

swim at waimea falls things to do in north shore oahu
picture via https://www.pedalgoa.com/travel/hawaii/oahu/how-to-get-to-waimea-valley-by-bus/

 

11. Swim or Snorkel Sharks Cove Tide Pool

Sharks Cove, aka Pupukea Tide Pool, is a great spot for snorkeling! It’s easy to access off the highway and home to fun Pacific fish. Wear good shoes to get into Sharks Cove because large lava rocks cover the area, then don your snorkel gear to catch a glimpse of Nemo or Dory. Even if you don’t snorkel, come to Sharks Cove just to relax! Watching the waves periodically crash over the tide pool’s rock wall is really incredible!

Pupukea Tide Pool Sharks Cove Hawaii Things to do in North Shore Hawaii

I hope you enjoy your visit to North Shore Oahu! As you can see there are plenty of things to do. You’ll have fun at any of these spots and be planning your next trip as soon as you’re home!

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Top things to do in North Shores, Oahu! Fun things to do, hikes, snorkeling, dole plantation, and more things to do on Oahu Hawaii!

Looking for EVEN MORE things to do in North Shore Oahu? Get Fodor’s complete guide to Oahu, as written by locals!

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The O’Briens are currently spending two years living abroad as digital nomads. They are worldschooling their 6-year-old-son and teaching him to appreciate the world and cultures around him! Their biggest loves while traveling are extreme adventure travel, family travel, and doing service. They hope we can all work together to make the world a better place!
Follow The O’Briens Abroad on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

14 comments

  • Lisa

    Hawaii Is number one on my bucket list and the first two things already had me hooked! I’ve always wanted to go shark cave diving, but I’m still a little on edge about it… (I have some time to prepare while I save haha) pineapple are SOO good! I Love all these things and I’m going to try to incorporate some of them in my list!

  • Michelle

    We have tons of those angel wings murals around LA and I love taking photos with them, but I am so short the wings never look right in the pictures.

    Looks like you had a splendid time in Hawaii! x

    Michelle
    dressingwithstyle-s.com

  • Luna S

    This looks like a beautiful place to visit, I’d love to visit one day.

  • Kate Andrews

    It is so cool that you can see and experience sharks in a safe way. I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I saw Jaws as a little kid. It had been my mom’s favorite movie growing up and I may have watched it a little early on in life. So exciting!

  • Nadalie Bardo

    Oh my gosh, this trip sounds like it was insanely packed with great experiences! I would love to go to Hawaii at some point in the near future. I would love to experience camping out on a beach.

  • Ingrid

    There seems to some some spectacular places to visit in North Shore as depicted in your photos. I would like to visit the the eastern tip of Oahu’s North Shore to hike at Kaena Point State Park. I love hiking and you describe it as long but easy hike. Going hiking in beautiful scenic place; what more can one ask for

  • Cassie & Joseph - No Compass Necessary

    Looks like so much fun! I can’t believe y’all went shark cage diving – that’s like my worst nightmare! I watched your video on Facebook, seemed quite exhilarating!!

  • Maddy

    My hubby and I are planning to go to HI for our ten year anniversary! You just gave me a whole new bucket list! <3

  • Nickle

    Wow cool! Iw anna go there some day and I’ll remember these activities.

  • Tara Fuller

    the dole plantation was definitely one of my favorite parts! SO many yums!

  • Luci

    Hawaii is one of my favorite places to go. I didn’t know that there were so much to do on the North Shore, thank you for sharing.

  • Evelyn, Path of Presence

    This is an abundant array of things to do! My fave about the North Shore are the narly waves! When the wind blows however, I hold on tight to my hat 😀 Thanks for allowing me to reminisce. Love your photos and great recommendations!

  • Quarter Mile Lane Blog

    Can I go now? The Dole Plantation is at the top of my list! Definitely saving this for later!

  • Brittany

    Dole plantation?! Take all my money! Haha. Hawaii is on my bucket list. One day my hubby and I will go 🙂

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