stop, North Shore
by Vanessa Beckett, Project editor
|Tired of life in Waikikis
concrete jungle? Tired of man-made beaches and Jack-in-the-Box
burgers for lunch? Sick of tourists and heavy traffic? If you
answered yes to any of these questions, then you need
to rally up your posse and make the trek out to the North Shore
for a day.
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The North Shore of Oahu stretches from the quaint shopping
town of Haleiwa along a beautiful seven-mile-long coastline
all the way to Sunset Beach, infamous for its big waves. Life
on the North Shore moves at a slower pace, with an anything
goes attitude. Surfing, diving, and shell hunting are
the main concerns for people on this relaxed coast.
If youre ready to check out a different side of the island,
here is a locals guide with everything you need to know
for a fun day on the North Shore.
Breakfast: Café Haleiwa
Student-friendly low prices and huge, delicious portions make
this the best place for breakfast on the North Shore. Café
serves a combination of traditional breakfast foods mixed in
with Mexican breakfast specialties. Huge portions of pancakes,
french toast, eggs, homefries, and breakfast meats adorn the
menu for the less adventurous breakfast-eater.
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For those who crave the Mexican taste, Café has special
items like the breakfast in a barrel (a breakfast
burrito encasing eggs, homefries, veggies, and salsa) or the
breakfast quesadilla, with your choice of meats and eggs. All
of this for an average price of $5.
Lunch: Waialua Bakery
After your generous breakfast at Café, youll probably
want a lighter lunch. Located in Haleiwa, Waialua Bakery offers
the ideal in lighter-fare, without denting your wallet. You
can choose from one of their smoothie options, or you can design
your own, using fresh fruits and frozen yogurt. Combine this
with a Bakery sandwich, that includes your choice of bread,
cheese, meat, and veggies. For dessert, Bakery has delicious
home-made cookies, muffins, and poundcake. You can get a sandwich,
smoothie, and a cookie all for under $7 (and without clogging
Dinner: Haleiwa Joes
For dinner on the North Shore, seafood is a must-have. Haleiwa
Joes offers one of the best seafood selections on the
island, with a variety of fresh island fish, crab, lobster,
and shrimp. For the non-seafood eater, the menu also has several
chicken and steak entrees, along with a large selection of salads.
Joes has a bar for those who are over 21 and a beautiful
night-time view of the harbor for everyone!
For the beginning surfer, Chuns Reef has an easily caught,
slow-moving wave that is a good learning ground (or should we
say water). There is also a nice swimming area and an expanse
of sand for those dedicated beach loungers. Sorry, there are
no bathrooms, showers, or lifeguard stand, although the lifeguards
check up on the beach periodically.
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Waimea Bay is like the Waikiki of the North Shore. Sure, its
beautiful, with crystal blue water and mountain views, but it
is also tourist-packed and car break-ins are all too common.
Most North Shore locals avoid Waimea except to jump rock
during the summer flat spells (see fun things to do section
for details on "jumping rock"). There are, however,
bathrooms, showers, and a lifeguard stand at Waimea.
If the surf is big (reported between the 6-12 foot range), everyone
on the North Shore heads over to the break at Pipeline to watch
the worlds best professional surfers perform. Be prepared
for an action-packed show of late take-offs and scary wipe-outs.
For the average beach-goer and surf watcher, Pipeline has just
two rules: dont leave valuables in the car and, whatever
you do, dont go swimming when the surf is big. A strong
current will suck you into the wave impact zone faster than
you can call for a lifeguards help.
If the surf is really big (reported as 12-18 feet or higher),
Sunset Beach is the place to be to watch some gnarly waves.
Youll need your binoculars though, to get a close look
at the surfers, because the waves break so far-out. On flat
days, Sunset also makes a great lounging and swimming beach,
with clear water and light colored sand. There are also the
bonus of showering and bathroom facilities new last year, and
a lifeguard stand.
Fun stuff to do:
Waimea Falls Park
Located in breathtaking Waimea Valley, Waimea Falls Park has
a variety of fun activities. Beautiful trails wind through the
valley, stopping at various stations for a butterfly terrarium,
Hawaiian games, cliff diving, and a hula show. For the more
adventurous, the park also offers horseback riding and four-wheeling
for an additional cost.
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Everyone who visits the North Shore must jump rock
at Waimea Bay. Sure, youve all seen the huge rock on the
left side of the bay, but how many have had the courage to jump
off the 50- to 75-foot high rock into the crystal water? Jumping
rock is a North Shore initiation, but do as the locals
and only go at high tide. Otherwise, the water is dangerously
shallow and you risk serious injury.
Snorkeling: Sharks Cove
The best place to get an up close and personal view of Hawaiian
sea life is at Sharks Cove. Grab your snorkeling gear
(or rent some in Haleiwa) for a fun time exploring numerous
underwater caves. Dont worry. Despite its name, sharks
are rarely seen at Sharks Cove. For those who arent
avid swimmers, Sharks Cove also has shallow tidepools
with interesting sea life and shells.
Shopping in Haleiwa
With plenty of unique surf shops and North Shore vibes, shopping
in Haleiwa is very different from your average shopping trip
to Ala Moana. Sure, youll see your share of Japanese tourists,
but youll also find friendly salespeople and lots of cool
stuff. The North Shore Marketplace is a must-stop shopping center
with a variety of shops including hip surf shops, jewelry stores,
Hawaiiana shops, and cool boutiques. Sorry guys, your girlfriends
could spend hours in this marketplace!
So ditch the crowds, traffic, and fast food of Waikiki. On
your next day off, drive up to the North Shore for a laid back
day of fun in the outdoors. Follow this guide to the North Shore,
and youll be a local in no time!