If you’re planning a trip to North Shore, Oahu, you’ll love the small town of Haleiwa. You’ll find lots of peace and things to do in Haleiwa, Hawaii!
Haleiwa, Hawaii, is a census-designated place (not officially classified as a town) in the North Shore, a popular Oahu destination. Haleiwa is the largest commercial town in the North Shore area, with a local population of almost 4,000 full-time residents.
It’s popular with tourists and Hawaii residents in part due to the preservation of the quaint, Colonial-era architecture and the vast beaches and parks surrounding the area. Visitors to Haleiwa consider it the highlight of the North Shore, enjoying beautiful, tranquil beaches full of native Green sea turtles and epic surfing.
When we stayed in the North Shore in 2017 we were stunned by the charm and peace found in Haleiwa. I can’t wait to spend even more time in this wonderful area! If you find yourself in Haleiwa, too, here are a few things to do the whole family will enjoy.
Top Haleiwa Things to do:
You’ll find a lot of things to in in Haleiwa to keep you busy on a family vacation to Oahu! Here are a few of our personal favorites, plus favorite Haleiwa activities from other Hawaii lovers.
1. Visit Haleiwa Beach Park for a beginning surf lesson
The North Shore is a famous surfing spot for a reason! Winter waves become tall swells and pipelines in this area, making it a surfing mecca. The top three international surfing competitions are held in the North Shore every winter, drawing surfing professionals and spectators from all over the world.
If you aren’t ready for the swells of Waimea Bay and Ehukai Beach, have no fear. Pua’ena Point Beach in Haleiwa Beach Park is considered one of the best beaches for introductory surf lessons. The beach sees waves large enough to learn and have fun on, but not so big that there’s a serious threat of getting hurt.
A number of surf shops in Haleiwa offer lessons, surf boards, and wet suits for rent to those interested in learning this North Shore favorite thing to do! Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf School and the North Shore Surf Girls are two places to start when looking for beginning surf lessons.
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2. Rent a Kayak
If you’re interested in doing more than swimming in the water consider renting a kayak to paddle through the Pacific.
Shops in Haleiwa, like Surf ‘N Sea, rent kayaks by hour, half day, or full day.
Kayaking in the North Shore is one of the easiest and safest ways to experience the incredible ocean and scenery of Oahu. Fun for the whole family, single or tandem kayaks are available for as many people in your party as possible.
To add extra fun to your kayaking trip bring along some snorkeling gear! Kayak around Laniakea Beach for the chance to paddle around and snorkel with the native Green Sea Turtles.
3. Rent a jet ski for Whale Watching
If you’re looking for even more thrills in Haleiwa, consider renting a jet ski from Watercraft Connection! The thrill of riding through the water is unparalleled. A jet ski rental from Watercraft Connection costs around $100 for 45 minutes, and more for additional riders.
Interested in going whale watching off the North Shore? Watercraft Connection now offers a jet ski tour group or boat charter during specific times of the year!
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4. Stop at Laniakea to search for Green Sea Turtles
Green Sea Turtles are native to the Pacific waters of Hawaii, and there are a few wonderful places on North Shore Oahu to see them. One of the best spots on the island to find Green Sea Turtles is Haleiwa’s own Laniakea Beach.
A visit to Laniakea Beach will generally reward you with views of turtles swimming near the beach as well as many on the sand. Because of the plethora of sea turtles Laniakea Beach is quite popular with visitors. This isn’t the best beach for lounging, but if you’re interested in seeing the famous Hawaii Green Sea Turtles you won’t find a better location!
Note this beach is also rocky, so be careful when walking around.
5. Go Cage Diving with Sharks
To be perfectly honest, I was scared to death of sharks before going cage diving in Haleiwa. I talked to the tour operators at North Shore Shark Adventure, who assured me that the boat captain would be sensitive to my fears and that, when the time came, I could choose not to enter the cage.
I’m so glad I decided it was worth a try!
Cage diving in Hawaii was one of the most exhilarating and beautiful experiences we had on our vacation. A boat ride took us across the Pacific within sight of gorgeous views of the island, local tour operators gave us great information on the Galapagos Sharks native to the area, and the cage dive was safe and fascinating.
Seeing sharks in their natural habitat is an incredible experience not to be missed!
6. Visit the Haleiwa Angel Wings
Artist Collete Miller found fame through a series of Angel Wing paintings in Los Angeles, California. She has since been invited to paint angle wing murals around the world, including this blue and purple set in the town center of Haleiwa.
Find this gorgeous mural on the side of Anahulu’s, a local shave ice store. Get some delicious shave ice while you’re there! Just don’t call it shaved ice.
You’ll feel like you’re in heaven while vacation on the beaches of the North Shore, so why not take a picture like it?
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The Best Haleiwa Restaurants
As the commercial hub of the North Shore, Haleiwa has lots of delicious restaurants and snack shops to keep you happy as you jump from one fun thing to do to the next!
1. Haleiwa Joe’s for Fresh Seafood
This popular Haleiwa restaurant is so popular a second location opened up across the North Shore. If you’re looking for delicious food and a classy atmosphere you can visit while in beach wear then Haleiwa Joe’s is your place.
2. Anahulu’s for Shave Ice
As mentioned above, Anahulu’s is the location of the Colette Miller Angel Wings mural. You can kill two birds with one stone by getting a delicious bowl of authentic Hawaiian shave ice while getting a classic picture taken.
Shave ice will become your next obsession!
3. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck for Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp food trucks are a big deal in North Shore Oahu! You’ll find plenty as you drive from place to place, but one of the most popular of all just happens to be in Haleiwa.
Giovanni’s is a North Shore institution. There’s a long line of eager patrons to order one of the many shrimp plates, but rest assured: the staff are used to working quickly and the line won’t last as long as it seems. Any wait is worth it, though, as people generally agree that the garlic shrimp from Giovanni’s is one of their favorite North Shore foods!
Besides, you can add your signature to the graffiti-covered truck while you wait. What’s not to love?
4. Kono’s North Shore for Relaxed Local Food
Kono’s is as authentic as it gets. This counter-service restaurant serves everything from breakfast burritos to pulled pork to milkshakes, all with the added ambiance of native chickens running around outside. Kono’s has earned a rating of 4.7 of 5 on Google based on it’s helpful service, large portions, great prices, and delicious food.
But be warned: This Haleiwa favorite closes at 2:30 pm!
5. The Beet Box Cafe for Vegetarian Foods
The Beet Box Cafe is the place to go for vegetarian travelers or those interested in lighter, healthier options. After a morning of giant-sized pancakes smothered in macadamia nut syrup and an afternoon spent on the beach, sometimes you want a nice fresh fruit smoothie, salad, veggie burger, or acai bowl.
Not only is the Beet Box Cafe food healthy, it’s also delicious. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this food!
We hope you enjoy Haleiwa, Hawaii as much as we did. It’s a vibrant gem in the North Shore, and one worth checking out no matter what!
If you have any questions about Haleiwa please leave a comment or visit us on Instagram for some extra insight into what this beautiful town has to offer.
Planning a trip to Haleiwa? Pin this article on top things to do and Haleiwa restaurants for later!