What to Do When it Rains on the North Shore

There is no shortage of rainy day things to do in Honolulu, but not everyone is staying in “town”. Some of you are holed up in the country, which for the most part is the absolute best way to experience Oahu. However, when the rain pours the North Shore can be a bit of a snore, given that most activities and attractions depend upon blue skies. But even though there are no shopping malls, museums, movie theaters, or submarines to tuck into, you can most certainly enjoy your day despite pesky precipitation. Here’s how.

Top 5 Activities and Things to Do on a Rainy Day on the North Shore of Oahu

Hang Out at Turtle Bay Resort (even if you’re not staying there)

Turtle Bay Resort is a retreat in the truest sense of the word. The expansive (and recently renovated) property is home to boutique shops, bars, cafes, and eateries, all of which provide cover from the downpour outdoors. You can spend hours within the welcoming arms of the resort, even if you’re not a registered guest. Locals and visitors from other sides of the island all congregate here to take advantage of the amenities, so feel free to flee your vacation rental and spend an afternoon/evening in the cozy tropical confines of Turtle Bay. View location and details here.

Hit All of the Stores and Galleries in Haleiwa Town

Haleiwa Town has some of the best boutique shops and art galleries on the island, and is a great place to pick up authentic souvenirs. However, visitors rarely devote as much time to shopping along this historic stretch of Kamehameha Highway as they’d like. It’s far too easy to be lured away by the promise of sun, sand, and saltwater adventures. That’s why this is the perfect activity for a rainy day. You can finally take your time to pop into every single shop and gallery from the North Shore Marketplace to Haleiwa Store Lots and all the way through to the last surf shop on the block – Surf n Sea Haleiwa.

Hunker Down at Haleiwa Beach House

One of the best beachfront restaurants and bars on Oahu is right in the heart of the North Shore, across the road of Haleiwa Beach Park. Haleiwa Beach House is a large double-decker establishment, with plenty of room (and beer) on tap to help you hunker down and out of the rain for hours on end. Come early for lunch, shift over to the bar in the afternoon, then grab a table for dinner as the early evening approaches. It’s also one of the best places on the island to enjoy cocktails and pupus while soaking up the sunset view. View hours, recommended orders, and more.

Explore the Old Waialua Sugar Mill

North Shore Oahu Rainy Day Activities
image: @marcus_ocean

Aside from it being a little out of the way from most of the North Shore’s activities, one of the biggest challenges to spending an afternoon exploring the Old Waialua Sugar Mill and surrounding shops and surfboard shaper studios is the heat. The wind doesn’t seem to visit this particular neck of the North Shore, and few visitors can handle walking around the property when the sun shines high above. But with the rain comes a perfect opportunity to see all that this historic destination has to offer. The old mill itself houses a huge collection of souvenirs, coffee beans, chocolate, snacks, Hawaiiana and vintage surf paraphernalia, while the North Shore Soap Factory on the same dirt road will have you itching (figuratively) to lather up and step out into the rain for an impromptu shower. View more on the Old Waialua Sugar Mill.

Hide Under the Trees of Waimea Valley

If you don’t mind getting a little wet, then we suggest heading over to explore Waimea Valley. While this is technically an outdoor activity, the lush canopy of Monkeypod trees and palms will keep you relatively dry as you hike up to the waterfall, the latter of which is far more enjoyable to see when rain feeds the flow. Who would have thought that one of the best ways to beat the rain would be to visit a rainforest? And if your rainy day falls on a Thursday you can spend the afternoon (2 to 6 PM) under cover at the Haleiwa Farmer’s Market which is held at the Waimea Valley pavilion. View location, hours, and activities found at Waimea Valley.

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