Cruising into historic Haleiwa sometime soon? While it’s one of the most quaint and picturesque towns in the world, there is so much more than sightseeing to enjoy along this North Shore nook. Let’s have a look at our top picks for fun things to do.
8 Most Enjoyable Things to See and Do Around Haleiwa Town on the North Shore Oahu
There’s nothing like stand-up paddle boarding (SUPing) in Haleiwa. Begin your journey under the shade of the famous Rainbow Bridge over Anahulu Stream. There are SUP rentals and a launching area on the northwestern edge of the bridge, so it couldn’t be more convenient. You can paddle around Anahulu and spot sea turtles (more on them below) and/or head out in to the calm waters that front Haleiwa Beach park. If time permits, we highly recommend SUPing at sunset – it’s an incredible experience!
Learn to Surf
Most visitors fear the prospect of surfing on the North Shore of Oahu, and instead stick to the comfortable waters of Waikiki Beach. In the winter, this is a wise choice. However, in the spring and summer and even on calm days through the autumn/winter you can learn to surf at Pua`ena Point which is right next to Haleiwa Beach Park. There are board rentals and lessons available at Surf n’ Sea, but there are also rental vans (with lessons) parked along the road between Surf n’ Sea and Pua’ena Point, and another parked at the pathway to at Pua’ena. Who knew that your first wave could be ridden on the fabled North Shore?!?
Get Stuffed on Shave Ice
Slurping on shave ice is not just one of the most enjoyable things to do in life, it is considered an essential experience in Haleiwa. But do you know what’s not fun? Waiting in line for an hour to enjoy something that melts in 5-minutes under the North Shore sun. Skip the line-up at Matsumoto’s. It may be the most famous spot, but there are far better options in Haleiwa when it comes to taste, quality, and variety – and without the unnecessary wait. We recommend any one of the following, which are also considered among the best shave ice shops in the world:
Check Out Some Sunbathing Sea Turtles
Everyone visiting Oahu wants to know where they can go to see our local honu (sea turtles). It’s a treat to watch them glide under the water during a surf lesson or on a catamaran tour in Waikiki, but if you want to spot them basking on the sand, this is where you need to be. Two of the best spots on Oahu to see sea turtles are located here in Haleiwa.
Go on a Boat Tour
If you’re up for an exciting and engaging outdoor learning adventure on the ocean, then we absolutely recommend taking a boat tour from Haleiwa Harbor. However, not all of the operators here are equal. As your guide to an authentic Hawaii that respects the culture of the land and sea alike, there is only one boat charter to consider – Nani Kai Ocean Adventures. The offer the best offshore sightseeing, whale watching cruises, and shark tours on Oahu.
Pick Your Favorite Food Truck/s
The North Shore town of Kahuku may wear the crown as the best roadside food court on Oahu, but Haleiwa comes a very close second. In fact, it’s a paradise for foodies. If you enjoy great food (who doesn’t?) then you’ll really enjoy the trucks and ramshackle (only in appearance) stands that bookend Kamehameha as you enter old Haleiwa from Wahiawa. Highlights include Giovanni’s Shrimp, Surf n’ Salsa, Korean BBQ, and Malai Thai, although there is most certainly something for even the most fickle of palates. Our only other recommendation here, is to be venturesome when making your culinary picks. Instead of going with your usual, try something different!
Come early, no crowds. Come late, crowds.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Ala Moana Center may offer the largest selection of retailers on the Hawaiian Islands, but shopping there isn’t exactly the most fun of experiences, unless you enjoy densified crowds and getting lost in its super confusing layout. Shopping in Haleiwa Town on the other hand, is exceedingly enjoyable. Each vendor has its place, as if carefully selected to close the gaps on the types of products the town has on offer. The North Shore Marketplace, home to Polynesian Treasures along with Waimea Blue (and more) is a great place to start for souvenirs for the home and body. From there, you will enjoy a walk along Haleiwa Store Lots which is hosts boutique shops such as Mahina and Kahala in addition to Malibu Shirts and a whole lot more. We won’t list them all, because a big part of the fun is discovering these shopping gems on your own.
Enjoy Haleiwa Happy Hour (anytime)
Have you heard the expression “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere”? Jimmy Buffet’s words-to-live-by is readymade to apply to Haleiwa. Once the sleepy town opens up in the early afternoon the tropical cocktails begin pouring. Happy hour menus will vary, but every hour feels like pau hana in Haleiwa. The funnest crowds and libations can be found at Uncle Bo’s and Haleiwa Beach House.
Have any questions about these fun things to do in Haleiwa? Connect to YAHglobal on Facebook and shoot us a message to ask!