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What beaches/sites not to miss on drive from Honolulu to North Shore?

What beaches/sites not to miss on drive from Honolulu to North Shore?

Sep 9th, 2005, 10:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
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What beaches/sites not to miss on drive from Honolulu to North Shore?

We will be in Oahu for the week of Thanksgiving. We will spend 3 nights in Waikiki then drive to the North Shore and are staying in bungalow there for 3 nights then back to Waikiki for 2 more nights before departing. I would love your advice on what beaches to definately stop at on the way to North Shore and any great eateries on the way. We have no definate plans for the whole time except to let my 13 daughter surf in Waikiki and we are praying for major surf on North Shore so she can see some the big time surfers in action!! We would like to spend a little time at some different beaches along the way just to see them, take some pics and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Of course we plan on taking her to The Arizona Memorial and to Diamond Head.

We love to snorkle so hopefully will get in at least a morning or afternoon of that at some point.

I have heard about the shrimp trucks. Where is the best place to hunt them?

If there is any place I should not miss seeing or eating for just driving thru please let me know.

Thanks so much, April
AprilA is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi April,

I would have to recommend this file that Dusty posted once: http://www.discoveringhawaii.com/OahuCircleIsDrive5.pdf

If you follow this route, you will hit all of the beaches and will be privileged to so much beauty along the way.

Have a great time!
Renee is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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If you want to hit beaches on your way to the North Shore, then go up the Windward (east) side of Oahu. There are a couple of scene lookouts not too long after Hanauma Bay, and my "regular" beach when I lived on Oahu was Makapu'u, which is across the street from Sea Life Park. Two scenic stops I'd recommend are the heiau behind the YMCA just before Kailua and the Byodo In Temple in the Valley of the Temples near Kaneohe. If you want lovely calm beaches perfect for swimming you can't go wrong with Kailua or Lanikai.
MerryTravel is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Since you mentioned eating places - while in Kailua stop by Boots & Kimo's for really yummy macadamia pancakes. Also try the Shorebird in the Outrigger Reef - there are discount coupons in the "This Week on Oahu" books.

Be sure to go to the Rainbow Drive-In for a plate lunch and Leonard's for malasadas (Portugese donuts). Also, if you're trying any of the fun "fufu" drinks - get your daughter a "virgin" version - just as yummy with no alcohol and she'll feel oh, so special.

When you are going or coming from the North Shore - stop by Dole. They have good pinapple ice cream cones and a fun gift shop. I got hooked on their Maui onion salsa and now order it several times a year off their website.
bashfulLV is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Two "musts" are Matsumoto's and Waimea Bay. Stop at Matsumoto's for shaved ice (with or without ice cream) in Haleiwa. They also have a restroom. Then to Waimea Bay. Go as early as possible since parking at Waimea is limited, especially since you are going in winter when the surf is up. Shrimp trucks are all along the main highway so you won't miss them.
offlady is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Wow! Thanks for all the great info so far!! Everytime I ask a question on this forum I am still amazed at the quick and wonderful info provided.
AprilA is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 04:00 PM
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We liked snorkeling at Shark's Cove on the North Shore. There are shrimp trucks all along the North Shore, you can't miss them! The beaches we enjoyed were Waimea Bay and Turtle Beach. There were SO many turtles at Turtle Beach! I have a long trip report on Oahu from our trip last month...click on my screen name and you should be able to find it.
beachgirl86 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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LOVED the shrimp trucks! I think it was Giovanni's that was the really popular one - it was just a few miles past the Turtle Bay Resort where we stayed (past Turtle Bay if you are coming from Haleiwa). Have the garlic shrimp (just make sure everyone has it), and sit out on the picnic benches and enjoy. If anyone could get me the recipe for that, I'd be very thankful!!
arewethereyet is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:42 PM
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Renee posted the best circle island drive guide.

Some more notes to add to the map:

Shrimp trucks are mostly around Kahuku. Giovanni's is in Kahuku. Another good one is Romy's. There are also several shrimp trucks in the area.

Circle island tour. Take Pali Highway (61) across to Kaneohe. Stop at Pali Lookout.

Continue to Kaneohe. Make a left onto Highway 83 to Kaneohe.

At the far side of Windward Mall, make a left. This will become Haiku Rd. Take Haiku Rd. across Kahekili Highway to Haiku Gardens. The botanical garden is just below Haleiwa Joe's Restaurant.

Go back to Kahekili Hwy. Turn left. Go about two miles. Turn left into Valley of the Temples (Byodo-In Temple).

Back to Kahekili Hwy. Continue around the island. In a mile or so Kahekili Hwy will end and intersect with Kamehameha Hwy. Continue around the island to Haleiwa.

Other stops:

Kualoa Beach Park. Chinaman's Hat. Nearby is Kualoa Ranch. Also nearby is a Macadamia Nut Farm

In Laie, make a right at the stoplight. Go to Laie Pt. Very scenic.

Sunset Beach Park

Ehukai Beach Park (Banzai Pipeline)

Pupukea Beach Park (Shark's Cove) Good for snorkeling in the summer.

Waimea Bay Beach Park

Laniakea Beach (Chun's Reef) About 1/2 way between Waimea Bay and Haleiwa. Look for parking on the opposite side of the road. Several sea turtles are here. This is the beach some call Turtle Beach.

Just before Haleiwa, make a left onto the bypass to Honolulu. (Go through Haleiwa if you have more time). Take Highway 99 to Honolulu. Follow signs to Honolulu. You will pass Dole Pineapple Center.

About a five hour trip.

Here is a nice thread for more ideas. Included is Jerry & Sharon's Trip Around Oahu.


While you are in Waikiki, you can also do what is called a mini-circle island tour:

From Waikiki:
Stop at Diamond Head Lookout and Lighthouse.

Continue around island to Hanauma Bay (don't need to go to the visitor's center). You can get some excellent views from the steps and lookouts.

Continue to Halona Blowhole and Halona Cove (From Here to Eternity Beach) next to it. Sandy Beach will be off to the left.

Continue to Makapuu Pt. Lookout. Overlooks Manana (Rabbit) Island & Makapuu Beach. On the Halona Blowhole side of the Point, you can take a trail to Makapuu Lighthouse. About 1 hour roundtrip easy trail. Nice place for viewing whales from shore. This is just past Sandy Beach.

Continue to Waimanalo Bay Recreation Area (Just past Waimanalo Beach).

Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach are just past here. If you want to include these, make a right on 61.

Continue to Highway 61 (Pali Highway). Make a left onto Pali Highway. Take it back to Honolulu, stopping at Pali Lookout. 4-5 hours

More things to do on Oahu:

This is also a nice site. Click on Snap Guide for a free 7 page download (pdf) http://www.budgettravelonline.com/bt...081901179.html

dusty56438 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 12:07 AM
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re: shave ice. I prefer Aoki's (just a few yards away from Matsumoto's) while my SIL's entire family prefers Miura's shave ice. All are in Haleiwa. I think Matsumoto's is popular simply because they have a better PR strategy. (And my SIL's family is related to Matsumoto's.)
MelissaHI is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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Thanks so much for all the great advice!! I'm plotting my course all over the island. I have rented a small compact car so I hope I won't have too much problem parking. The bungalow we have rented on North Shore is supposed to be walking distance to some of the best surfing spots.

I hope I can stop and see every single thing each of you has recommended.

Thanks again soooooooo much,

AprilA is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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If the winter surf is up, you may not be able to surf at Shark's Cove. Don't miss the surf shops in Haleiwa.
Postal is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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Sorry, I meant you may not be able to SNORKEL at Shark's Cove if the surf is up.
Postal is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 01:57 PM
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Aloha Melissa:
I like Aoki's too!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 12th, 2005, 09:45 PM
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Matsumoto's Shave Ice is the mandatory stop on the North Shore. Sharks' Cove has excellent snorkeling and is absolutely beautiful. Those are my two choices of "must do" when traveling on the North Shore of Oahu.
quansung is offline  
Sep 13th, 2005, 09:54 AM
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As Postal has previously mentioned, please keep in mind that you will NOT be able to snorkel anywhere on the North Shore during the week of Thanksgiving. The snorkeling/diving "season" on the North Shore ends around mid September.

The surf conditions will be too high/rough to perhaps even allow you in the water at all. If you're lucky, the surf will be high enough to attract the big wave surfers and you'll be able to watch. Typically the huge waves don't come until a bit later in the year, but sometimes you'll see big surf as early as late November.

That you'll be staying on the North Shore already is a big plus, as traffic is horrendous whenever large surf is predicted.

If there is large surf, please pay attention to whatever posted warnings there are and listen to whatever the lifeguards say. If they tell you not to even get close to the water, listen to them. Many people think the water doesn't look dangerous and ignore the warnings. Then they end up getting in trouble when they're in water only up to their knees.
chepar is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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Thanks for all the warnings!! As a past lifeguard I am very aware of all the dangers but I truely appreciate the warnings. So many people don't have a clue and get into trouble so easily.

I was planning on snorkeling like Huanama (sp?) Bay and my daughter will surf in Waikiki only.

I do hope and pray for some really awesome surf while we are there so we can just see it and also see hopefully see some of the professional surfers at their best. I found out on some surf site that one national comeptition will be going on while we are there. I am remaining hopeful!!

Can't wait to try the shaved ice! My daugher and DH love ice cream but I am not much of an ice cream fan, the shaved ice sounds right up my alley.

Thanks again.
AprilA is offline  
Sep 19th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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Close. Hanauma Bay.

You can add vanilla ice cream to your shave ice, IF you feel a craving....that's always nice!
MelissaHI is offline  
Oct 29th, 2005, 10:45 PM
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Here's some things we enjoyed a little and a lot along the windward coast from Honolulu to North Shore:

1. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay -- nice, but a little overrated in my opinion. It's very shallow and crowded in spots. Would definitely not go again.

2. Body surfing at Sandy Beach -- only if you know what you're doing. Otherwise, it's fun to watch!

3. Kayaking from Lanikai to the little island across the bay. We were the only ones there. We brought a picnic lunch and felt like we had a deserted island all to ourselves. Go in the morning, though, cuz as we were leaving (1pm) , lots of kayaks were arriving.

4. Horseback riding in Turtle Bay

5. Shaved uce at Matsumotos

6. Jumping off the big rock at Waimea Bay.

***Biggest disappointment: Polynesian Cultural Center. I'm sorry-- I know people love it.

***We also did Pearl Harbor and enjoyed it very much.
dina4 is offline  
Oct 30th, 2005, 01:28 AM
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Lots of good ideas here! The big waves have already arrived on the north shore, so be careful.

BTW, it is shave ice..not shaved ice.
Well actually the ice is shaved, but the product is a "shave ice', unless you want to sound like a tourist! ;-)
lcuy is offline  

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