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North Shore Oahu - Hawaii

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Mar 16th, 2013, 07:38 AM
  #1
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North Shore Oahu - Hawaii

Heading to Hawaii soon! Hurray! We are staying at Aulani and have lots of plans already. With two children most of our days will be spent at the pool and beach but we have a few outings planned (including a surf lesson for me).

One day we are setting out for a full day's excursion to the North Shore and would love to get some suggestions. I've done some research and the day is shaping up as follows:
* First stop - Starbucks, then setting out with a cooler in the car with snacks and water
* any must try breakfast stops near Ko Olina or just grab a quick breakfast in the room?
* stop at Dole Plantation
* Haleiwa Village (any shopping recs - artisan crafts and food to try)
* which burger is better - Kua Aina or Kahuku Grill or other? (I know there are lots of amazing shrimp trucks but I don't eat shrimp so settling for best Oahu burger we can find)
* Sunset Beach (with a treat at Ted's Bakery)
* Waimea falls and botanical gardens walk
* is Kahuka Sugar Mill worth a stop?
* what about Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Hut - terrific or tourist trap?
* which shaved ice - Matsumoto's or Wailua Sugar Mill or another (or all)?
* dinner stop? Uncle Bobo's Smoked BBQ - had a high rating and I love the name. Maybe Papa Ole's Kitchen, or Kono's, thoughts or other suggestions?
* ideas for souvenirs as this will be our principal shopping day too (in addition to ABC stores, airport and hotel gift shops)

Your suggestions are appreciated. Mahalo
POlson is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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You've made a pretty full list. Moi - I would head up to the main event - the North Shore and have your snack/breakfast before you leave - and forget stopping at the Dole Plantation, etc.

And would put Kahuka Sugar Mill on a - "if you have me any time left" status as with the Mac Nut Hut.

For inexpensive souvenirs - and a good selection - hard to beat Hilo Hatties.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Actually - think there is a maze? at the Dole Plantation - if you think the kids might like that?
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Mar 16th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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I can help with some items...we just spent 3 days on the North Shore (last week in fact), so here goes:

- If you like oats and scones, there is an only-in-Hawaii item at Starbucks, called the oatcake. It's a very dense scone packed with a lot of oats, raisins, and other goodness. If I have one of these for breakfast I am seriously not hungry for a while. They are yummy too.
- Haleiwa is a great town. There are a lot of shops and vendors there, a lot of the shops sell items from local vendors too...I honestly cannot remember the names of the stores specifically but if you park and walk around Haleiwa just go into any store that interests you. I do remember one store called The Growing Keiki which sells kids clothes and bought a handcrafted hawaiian print outfit for my neice. It was so adorable and much nicer than the cheapie hawaiian dresses that you find elsewhere. There is also a handmade soap store.
- We love Kua'aina burger...it's so delicious and fresh. I have not been to the other place so cannot compare. You will not be disappointed if you go to kua'aina.
- Matsumoto's for shave ice. It's a landmark. If Aoki's is open, then you can try that too in case the line is too long at Matsumotos'. Aoki's is supposed to shut it's doors for good this year but not sure when.
- Tropical Farms...now this one is interesting, it is definitely a tourist trap, but then so is Dole. But I kinda like dole because they have dole whip and a much nicer facility. It's worth a stop if you want to do a lot of mac nut sampling, and taste their daily coffee brew. They also have a nice garden area out back where you can crack your own raw mac nuts. But there are swarms and swarms of tour buses that go there too. If it's on your way, then do stop but don't go out of your way to visit there since you'd have been to Dole already.
- Dinner on the north shore - we loved Opal Thai. It was the best thai food we've eaten. But reservations are a must here or expect to wait a long time. We didn't really eat anywhere else so I am not sure what else is good but I rely on yelp a lot.
- Other things: If you are at Ted's bakery and more than 2 of you are getting pies, you may want to just get a whole pie and split it as it's much cheaper that way. But then you'd all have to eat the same flavor. Sunset beach was wonderful. Waimea beach park is also great (didn't do the hike). Acai bowls are plentiful in Haleiwa so may be a good place to get one. Some shrimp trucks offer more than shrimp. I know giovanni's has a garlic hot dog option. I really love the trucks and it's pretty much a staple of the north shore. There is also thai food truck, huli huli chicken stands, and bbq corn stands as well. They are scattered all over.
- Lat but not least, have a wonderful time! I've stayed in the Aulani too and it's amazing. Loved the lazy river and breakfast buffet with Mickey and characters. However, their other food options...i was not that impressed, but maybe it has improved over the past 2 years.
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Mar 16th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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However, their other food options...i was not that impressed, but maybe it has improved over the past 2 years.

As of last October, it was still pretty dismal
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Mar 16th, 2013, 04:33 PM
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That's two bad about Aoki's - it's my favorite!
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Mar 17th, 2013, 03:46 AM
  #7
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Thank you for your replies. I'll be sure to try Aoki's if it is open.
Thanks tifa2276 for the terrific information, I added a few notes to my itinerary. Looking forward to the oat scone (I enjoy trying local additions to the Starbucks menu).
Tomsd - thanks for the suggestion to head out early and just enjoy the North Shore. I know the day looks full but I wanted to make sure I had options for everyone - entertaining me, DH and the little ones.
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Mar 17th, 2013, 11:30 AM
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The General Store in Haliewa has good shave ice, too. I once saw an ad that said it was the favorite of locals.

If you don't like your burgers rare, be sure to tell the waiter at Kua Aina how you want them cooked.
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Mar 17th, 2013, 05:07 PM
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For souvenirs, they have some cool t shirts and i think sweatshirts at Matsumoto's.

as of 2 years ago, the food at Ted's is delicious but is really rich and heavy and the portions are huge.

There is a paved walking path in the Sunset beach area, good for checking out different parts of the beach, you can park in one spot and walk to others. of course you can walk in the sand too but it is slower---just thinking if you want to see different parts of the beach you might want to know about this. Sunset Point is really a beautiful place to see the sunset if you are there at that time.

At Pupukea there is a Foodland grocery store if you need sunscreen, snacks, or drinks.
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