Hidden Gems on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Just a few miles from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, romance, beauty and feel of the old Hawaii abounds.
The North Shore is the Hawaii and more that has been lost in the hustle and bustle of other more famous parts of the islands.
Here are a few “don’t miss spots” that will rekindle the sense and feel of the Hawaii that made Hawaii one of the finest vacation spots in the world.
The Northwestern tip of Oahu. Drive South from Haleiwa until you come to the gate that blocks the road then park and walk the three miles to the point the road turns east towards Makaha. Lava, dried grass, beaches and waves, waves, waves will highlight your hike and bring you as close to the power of the surf attacking the lava rocks of the island as you can get. You’ll see few people and hopefully a few Monk Seals resting of calving on the shore. This is a wonderful hike into Hawaii’s past. On the way back take a look at The Original Glider rides offered at what was Dillingham Field for a thrilling ride on the air currents. The Aerobatic loop-d-loop ride is sure to get the adrenaline flowing.
Kawela Bay. Just South of the Northern tip of the island and next to the Turtle Bay Resort (the North Shore’s only resort). One of the most secluded beaches on Oahu that is protected from the surf of the North Shore by a reef is a great place to spend time communing with nature. The bay plays a major roll in The Hunger Games, Catching Fire as the body of water that is the focus of the story. You’ll also find the banyan tree that was struck by lightning every 12 hours. The bay and another larger banyan tree also starred in Lost and Pirates of the Caribbean. The people of the North Shore quashed plans for a resort on this property and the North Shore Community Land Trust now protects it from development. This is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and picnicking. Access the bay via a hike from Turtle Bay Resort or by parking along the highway (just across from the Kahuku Produce Stand) and walking in.
Kahuku Produce Stand. This is a delightful stop where you’ll find a wide variety of fresh Hawaiian fruits straight from the farm. Take it home for preparation or try the bags of cut up fruit that is chilled on ice in front of each vendor. Fresh coconut cracked open for access to the water then cut up for you to snack on. Located on Kamehameha Highway just south of Turtle Bay.
Kahuku Farms. Great for lunch!! Vegetarian fare, smoothies and fruits and veggies of all kinds are featured along with farm wagon tours that will provide great insight to farming in Hawaii. Shaped by descendents of the Matsuda and Fukuyama families who migrated from Japan to work in the sugar plantations Kahuku came to being with the merger of the family farms in 1986. Try the Veggie Panini or the Farm Pizza for a taste of Kahuku and don’t miss the Banana Bang or Tropi-Kale Smoothie and the farm fresh ice cream.
North Shore Shrimp Trucks. Shrimp farming dominates the north shore beyond Turtle Bay. One outlet for the shrimp is the shrimp trucks that are parked along Kamehameha Highway. Giovanni’s, Fumi’s and Romy’s offer a fresh shrimp prepared in a host of ways. For instance Giovanni’s offers tame Lemon Butter shrimp and The “No Refunds” Hot & Spicy shrimp served with rice. This is a delightful experience for the quality of the food and the ambiance of picnic tables under a tent for your dining pleasure.
Haleiwa Dinning. Two new restaurants bless the area near Matsumoto’s Hawaiian Ice (Hawaii’s most famous Hawaiian Ice Shop) in an updated area along Haleiwa’s main street. Rajanee Thai is a delightful small Thai restaurant offering the best in Thai food. Their summer rolls with peanut sauce are to die for, Green Curry and Bangkok Night Noodles are particularly worth trying! You can pick up your favorite wine or beer just down the street at the 76 station if you enjoy a drink with dinner, as Rajanee serves no alcohol. Just down the street a few buildings is Uncle Bo’s, a must try. This is the second Uncle Bo’s with the first at Kapahulu in Honolulu. The fried rice, calamari and Ahi Poke were the hits of the evening so give them a try. The menu is diverse and the offerings from the bar delightful.
When you add these to the well-known favorites like Sunset Beach, The Banzai Pipeline and Ted’s Bakery you’ve a mix that provides the most delightful Hawaiian vacation.