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North Shore Oahu


North Shore waves are extremely dangerous and drownings are common. Be sure to follow all lifeguard warnings and instructions.

Lock your cars when parking in the North Shore and make sure not to leave any valuables visible - car theft can be a problem.

Oahu North Shore at a glance

The North Shore is located on the northern coastline on the island of Oahu. A relaxing escape from the chaos of Honolulu and Waikiki, it's quaint shops and slow pace of life make it a great place relax and soak up some sun.

Oahu's North Shore is also the most famous surf spot in the world. The main action happens during the winter months, when waves swell up to 50 feet high and the best surfers from around the world come to take part in Hawaii's biggest surf competitions.

Surfer, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii

The Reef Hawaiian Pro, the Billabong Pipeline Masters, and the O'neil World Cup are the three men's tournaments that make up the Triple Crown of Surfing and take place along the North Shore in December. The Women's Triple Crown is held on the beaches of Maui.

While only the strongest swimmers and surfers should enter the North Shore waters during winter, the breaks are relatively short and seeing someone catch a monster wave from the safety of the beach can be enjoyed by everyone.

North Shore waves are much more tame during other parts of the year and the beaches are a great place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki.


The North Shore refers to the area around the northern coast of Oahu, between Kahuku and Kaene Point. Haleiwa is the biggest town on the North Shore and has banks, supermarkets, bars, and restaurants. Kahuku is renowned for its shrimp farms and stands selling garlic butter and spicy Thai shrimp line the streets. Other popular foods along the North Shore are shave ice and homemade ice cream.

How to get to the North Shore from Honolulu

You can get to the North Shore from Waikiki and Honolulu by car and bus. Going by bus takes about 3 hours and requires transfers, while driving takes about 75 minutes.

Driving to the North Shore

There are two routes you can take to get to the North Shore from Honolulu. One goes through the center of the island and passes through pineapple and coffee plantations, while the other follows along the eastern shore and offers spectacular views of the mountain coast. They both take about 75 minutes and alternating routes going there and coming back is recommended.

Driving directions to the North Shore via H-1

Follow signs to H-1 and head west. Take H-1 west to State Highway 78/H-201. Continue on 78/H-201 towards Aloha Stadium until it reconnects with H-1. Get back on H-1 west and get off at exit 8A for H-2 north. H-2 north will turn into Kamehameha Highway (Highway 99) and take you all the way to Haleiwa.

Driving directions to the North Shore via east coast

Follow signs to H-1 and head west. Take H-1 west and get off at exit for Likelike Highway/highway 63. After going through the Wilson Tunnel towards to Kaneohe, get off at the Kahekili Highway (highway 83) exit. Follow Kahekili Highway (highway 83) north until it turns into Kamehameha Highway (highway 83), which takes you up along the east coast all the way to Haleiwa.

Staying Safe

Only the strongest surfers and swimmers should even think about entering the North Shore waters during the winter. Make sure to follow any instructions or warnings from lifeguards and locals. Don't become a statistic.

While the North Shore makes for a great getaway, petty crime can be a problem and visitors should exercise common sense when parking. Be sure to lock the doors don't leave leave valuables in the car, especially wallets, cameras, and computers.

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