Often regarded as the arts and social hub of the North Shore, Haleiwa should be one of the places at the top of your list on your next trip to Hawaii.
Here’s a guide to the best things to do in Haleiwa, encouraging you to spend some time in this stunning town on the North Coast.
Planning your last-minute North Shore trip?
If you are planning a last-minute trip to Oahu’s North Shore, you need to make sure you book in advance! Here’s a selection of our best!
Best Tours for Haleiwa (Honolulu and beyond):
- The shark cage diving tour in Haleiwa is likely to sell out – a top tour!)
- Circle Island tour with a few North Shore spots (from Honolulu)
- Learn to surf on the North Shore (this is a beginner’s lesson)
- North Shore hidden gems (from Honolulu)
Best places to stay on the North Shore:
- Hawaii Oceanfront Beach House Paradise
- Blue Mahina at Sunset Beach Home
- Three tables back down
There are also things to do near Haleiwa in the guide.
Be sure to check out the many surf shops, beaches, and art galleries to fully immerse yourself in the city’s charm. Also, be sure to take the time to go hiking when you’re there! Trails have provided me with some of my favorite experiences!
If you are looking for a charming and peaceful Hawaiian town, Haleiwa is definitely it. Here is a list of the best places to visit in Haleiwa and along the North Coast. Tell us about any North Shore attractions we may have missed! Thanks!
How to get to Haleiwa from Honolulu
Once in Honolulu, you can get to the North Shore and Haleiwa in several different ways. You can rent a car. This was how I usually visited in the past and on this most recent trip, my boyfriend drove us there for a ride. It’s honestly probably the easiest way to see everything at your leisure.
Or… you can take the bus! Buses on Oahu are so cheap and efficient that they make the rest of the US look bad!
From Honolulu, you can get to the North Shore for less than $3 (or a little more for a day pass to get you back to Honolulu).
The bus number you want to catch from downtown Honolulu is #52 (or #55). It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Haleiwa from Honolulu.
Best things to do in Haleiwa (& North Shore)
Go shark cage diving
Finally, shark cage diving in Haleiwa is one of the most popular things to do! To be honest, most tours on Oahu depart from Honolulu, but shark cage diving tours all tend to depart from Haleiwa, which means you need to get there!
This two-hour adventure gives you the chance to see sand sharks and Galapagos sharks in their natural habitat. You will learn more about each type and enjoy the water at the same time! This tour is truly one of the best things to do in Haleiwa and the North Shore!
Located on the northern shore of Oahu across from the bay of the same name, Waimea Valley is one of the most visited places on Oahu and also contains the famous Waimea Falls.
This secluded valley offers more than just a waterfall. It’s also a cultural center and a botanical garden full of tropical plants (and a great farmers market on Thursdays).
Waimea Valley is open 9 am-5 pm daily but when I was there it seemed to stay open a little later as the farmers market was still open.
During your visit, consider joining the Valley staff for a botanical tour that takes place each day at 12:30 pm.
This walk is always educational, and you can see lush, blooming plants from Hawaii and other parts of the world.
You can also participate in traditional Hawaiian games. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Waimea Valley employees show the games to visitors.
Also, there is a 30-minute historical walk through the valley to learn about its history and explore the cultural sites in the park. This tour starts at 1pm and provides lots of information about Hawaiian culture.
Park shuttles are available for children and seniors who want to enjoy the falls but may have difficulty walking there.
And when you’re weary from the day’s activities, stop by one of Waimea Valley’s many snack shops (they even have craft beer!) and also browse for souvenirs in the gift shop at the entrance.
Waimea Valley entrance fees depend on your age and residency.
Non-Hawaii residents will be charged $20 for adults, $12 for children, and $16 for seniors and students with valid IDs.
This is a fair contribution, especially for visitors who take the time to explore the park.
Although not located directly in Haleiwa, Waimea Valley is definitely one of the most exciting places to visit on the North Shore!
The address is 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712.
Eat an acai bowl on Halloween
Acai bowls are one of the most popular breakfast items in Hawaii, and you can find several places to enjoy an acai bowl in Haleiwa, including Haleiwa Bowls, Nalu Health Bar, and Farm to Barn Cafe & Juicery.
Crispy Grindz is also a favorite (I stopped there for some Brazilian snacks with my boyfriend but never had an acai bowl there).
Haleiwa Bowls offers 5 different acai bowls, all made with fresh local Hawaiian fruits and honey. What makes this the best place for acai bowls is that the bowls do not contain any sugar or preservatives and there is no shortage of toppings.
Some of the toppings you can choose from include coconut, berries, banana, papaya, granola, chia seeds, strawberries, and much more.
You can eat there or take your acai bowl to the beach as the dish comes in a compostable bowl. Apart from acai bowls, they also serve homemade kombucha, different flavors of smoothies, and coffee to round out your delicious meal.
Haleiwa Bowl is also surrounded by beautiful vegetation, which makes it a potential place to take nice photos while you are in Haleiwa!
Address: 66-030 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Nalu Health Bar is another popular place to indulge your sweet tooth and fruit cravings. They serve delicious acai bowls (no preservatives) from 9 am to 6 pm.
Apart from acai bowls, Nalu Health Bowl offers smoothies, salads, sandwiches, and other breakfast items. Like Haleiwa Bowls, this spot also gets pretty busy, but you can skip the line by ordering online.
I actually love my papaya yogurt and granola bowls when there are (but I’ve had several, including delicious acai bowls) at any of their locations!
Address: 66-215 Kamehameha Hwy Suite 1, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Farm to Barn Cafe & Juicery is one of my favorite places in all of Oahu and the cafe specializes in delicious dishes and healthy food options with a mindful approach.
We went there in the pouring rain and I had an acai bowl and it was unbelievably delicious…even in the rain! This is definitely a great place to eat in Haleiwa.
Address: 66-320 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
If you find yourself a little further down the highway, you can grab a delicious acai bowl (or coffee!) at The Sunrise Shack. I love this place!
I’ve been there many times in Kailua but never made it to the (original) North Shore location because I was already full each time.
But, here’s a glimpse of how beautiful the site is – I encourage you to grab a bite to eat or grab a coffee there!
Visit Macadamia Nut Farm
While on a North Shore adventure, you should also be sure to try some Hawaiian macadamia nuts (the nut originates in Australia).
Macadamia nuts are the most popular nut in Hawaii, and the North Shore Macadamia Farm is the only working nut farm on Oahu.
This farm is located just a few minutes from Haleiwa Beach Park and serves flavored and unflavored macadamia nuts as well as flavored ones.
Hazelnut flavors you can enjoy here include roasted caramel macadamia nuts, cinnamon, and coconut.
This store also sells some gifts and specialty products other than nuts. If you’re not in Hawaii, you can also order nuts from the aforementioned North Shore Macadamia Farm location.
Honestly, I didn’t have time to stop inside when I was there, but I took a picture outside.
I had previously been to Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts (which I was told were farm and actually weren’t)…so I didn’t feel obligated to go inside.
However, it’s still one of the best things to do on Halloween if you’re a macadamia nut fan like me!
Address: 62330 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Check out the rainbow bridge
The Rainbow Bridge is one of the most famous buildings in Haleiwa. Built-in 1921, this bridge crosses over the Anahulu River and connects Old Haleiwa to New Haleiwa.
It’s the perfect place for visitors to take pictures and jump off the bridge into the water below.
Near the bridge is the Rainbow Angel Wings mural, which was painted in 2021 to remind us that we are all angels on earth (you can find this mural on 6 different continents).
It is located right in the Sweet As ice cream parlor (which is delicious in itself).
Near this spot is an Anahulu snowmobile grab and gift shop to check out for some souvenirs. You can also enjoy swimming and canoeing in the Anahulu River below the bridge.
Try Hawaiian Ice shaving
Haleiwa is one of the best places to enjoy Hawaiian ice. One of the most popular places to enjoy this delicious treat is Matsumoto Shave Ice, a store that started as a grocery store in 1951.
Located near the North Shore Surfing Museum, this shop is open from 10 am to 6 pm. Matsumoto offers a lot of ice cream flavors, which you can enjoy before or after visiting the museum.
We recommend the Rainbow Shave Ice, which comes with a scoop of ice cream. Shave ice is affordable here; The large mug comes in three flavors and costs just $3.50.
Meanwhile, there is always a long line here, so you can either wait your turn or try other less crowded ice spots like the Anahulu Shave Ice by the Rainbow Bridge.
But my all-time favorite place to shave ice in Haleiwa is Aokiʻs Shave Ice. It’s right on the main road and is a little behind other buildings but it’s easy to find on your map and if you keep your eyes peeled.
Aoki’s address: 66-082 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Visit the famous North Shore beaches
Haleiwa Beach Park
North Shore Beach is 2 minute drive from town. You can also walk to the beach for 10 minutes if you are more interested in exploring the city on foot.
Haleiwa Beach Park boasts calm waters, making it an ideal family beach for vacationers, surfers, and swimmers. It also has a garden and picnic tables, making it an excellent location for a barbecue.
North Shore beach park is one of the busiest spots on the North Shore and is very popular with surfers. There are opportunities to rent a surfboard and take surf lessons with North Shore Surf Girls.
You can also see sea turtles here, and across the street from the park is the North Shore Macadamia Nut Farm, where you can grab nuts for your snacks on the beach.
Laniakea Beach, also known as Turtle Beach, is one of the best beaches on Oahu for turtle-watching. While you’re here, you’ll come across at least one Hawaiian sea turtle on the beach lounging or (usually!) eating algae.
However, note that it is a federal offense to disturb turtles, so they are best enjoyed from a distance. This means not to touch them, chase them, disturb them or harass them.
You can just see and take pictures of it from a good distance (my picture was taken with a zoom lens).
Because of the fascination with turtles, people often cannot enjoy the beauty of Laniakea Beach. So while you are here, we recommend that you explore the beach to see the flora, lush palm trees, and picturesque surroundings.
You can also snorkel and swim here, but be very careful of the rock patches below the surface
Aliʻi Beach Park
Located just south of the boat port, Ali’i Beach Park is a good choice for families with children.
This beach is easily accessible, wide, and has ample parking space. It’s also a short walk between the parking lot and the beach, so you don’t have to worry about a long walk before you get to the beach.
Here in the park, you have access to picnic tables under the monkeypod trees.
Ali’i Beach Park also offers clean toilets, a leisure center, and a surfing center where kids can learn how to surf. Also, Ali’i Beach Park is the venue for the Reef Hawaiian Pro, which takes place annually.
Kahuku Motocross Track
If you’re in Haleiwa over the weekend and love to see good motorsport, be sure to check out Kahuku Motocross Track.
Open Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, you can race across 400 acres of track and tracks no matter your skill level.
You must be a member of the Hawaii Motorsports Association in order to race; If you are not, you can still watch from the side. You must have your parent sign a waiver for minors to race.
This is a fun and unique way to spend the weekend with friends and family, especially for adventurers!
Address: 58-288 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Have Lunch at a Shrimp Truck
Another thing to do while in Haleiwa is to stop by one of the shrimp trucks on the North Shore for a delicious shrimp meal. There is no shortage of shrimp trucks in Haleiwa all the way to Kahuku, and the company’s favorite among visitors is Giovanni.
This shrimp truck offers 4 main shrimp options. Shrimp scampi, hot and spicy shrimp, lemon butter shrimp, jumbo garlic hot dog.
There’s also a North Shore Shrimp Truck that offers a variety of shrimp meals, including shrimp, pepper, lemon, and garlic shrimp.
This shrimp truck also offers a kid’s menu and other items like salad and shaved ice.
Note that food carts are popular in Haleiwa and have long lines as a result. A good tip is to get to the shrimp truck before lunchtime, as it takes a while for the meal to be cooked.
Take a North Shore Photo Tour (from Honolulu)
Do you like photography? Or are you simply looking to explore small parts of the North Shore? Either way, this is the perfect tour for you!
The North Shore of Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful sites in the world, including Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, and the historic city of Haleiwa.
This small group tour is limited to 7 visitors and lasts approximately 8.5 hours. Departs from Honolulu.
As part of the tour, you’ll learn all about the North Shore from an experienced guide and visit gorgeous sites such as Waimea Valley Park (home to Waimea Falls – one of the most famous waterfalls on the island), and the island’s pristine beaches and art galleries.
You’ll also stop by a local food truck for a delicious lunch.
Experience the longest zipline on Oahu
If you’re a bit of a daredevil, one of the best ways to see the beauty of Oahu is to fly through the trees on a zipline.
This is a comprehensive tour that includes the tallest slides on Oahu, which range from 500 to 2,400 feet. The tour will start with an ATV ride to the top of the mountain.
Afterward, you can take in panoramic Oahu views, sky bridges, boardwalks, and more. The tour comes with all the necessary safety equipment and a guide to lead you along the way.
The tour takes about 3 hours. Be sure to wear close-toed shoes and lightweight clothing. You can participate if you are over 7 years old and weigh between 80 and 270 lbs.
Have a coffee at the Coffee Gallery
If you are a coffee lover like me, you will want to visit one of the best coffee shops in Haleiwa, the Coffee Gallery.
Located in the heart of Haleiwa, you can find a variety of delicious coffees and you can even take the beans home with you from the roaster.
They have beans from Waialua Estate to Kona to Kaanapali Estate and more.
On top of that, they also have delicious meals (vegan plenty!) to help you out in the morning and the customer service was very friendly! It’s the perfect way to start your day exploring the North Shore!
They are open daily from 0630-1800. Click here for more.
Address: 66-250 Kamehameha Hwy. Haleiwa, HI 96712
Check out Hawaiian Green Turtles (& the North Shore)
This tour gives guests the opportunity to check out some of Oahu’s major highlights and landmarks, including Waikiki Beach, a shop where you can buy macadamia nuts and a hallway.
You’ll also be able to see the locations where popular movies like “Godzilla” and “Pearl Harbor” were filmed.
One of the best features of the tour is that you can be picked up from your hotel. A local guide will tell you all about Oahu’s history and culture as you visit more than 30 attractions.
The tour takes about 6 hours and is perfect for those who want to avoid the huge crowds. Departs from Honolulu.
Dole Pineapple Farm
I morally question whether or not this should be in this guide, but as the second most visited place on Oahu, I’m putting it down simply because it’s exciting for kids to visit.
However, please read up on the history of the Dole family and pineapple growers before venturing there. This had a significant (negative) effect on the Native Hawaiians and it is important to understand its history before visiting.
And please realize that this is a tourist trap…but it is home to the “world’s largest” maze and the Dole Whip, which is very interesting for kids visiting Hawaii.
Dole Pineapple Plantation is open every day of the year except Christmas from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
This North Oahu attraction offers family fun including the aforementioned maze, Plantation Garden Tour, and Pineapple Express Train Tour.
You can also check out educational offerings, gifts, and options for local Hawaiian foods and refreshments. You can also take fresh pineapple home with you.
Address: 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Best trekking in Haleiwa (+close)
As with almost every part of Hawaii, Haleiwa is known for its amazing nature, which makes it a great place for those who love to hike.
Here are four of the best trails that you should not miss if you enjoy hiking and are planning to visit Haleiwa.
Waimea Valley Trail
The Waimea Valley Trail is one of the best trails for those who don’t have much hiking experience and prefer an easier trail.
It’s 1.9 miles long and has a lot of visitors (like a LOT). There is one main paved driveway with several side paths through the gardens.
The trail also features the stunning Waimea Falls which are great for photo ops and swimming.
Keep in mind that there is an entrance fee and you will need to wear a life jacket if you want to swim in the waterfall. The trail is accessible all year round.
This 2.3-mile circular trail gets a lot of traffic, but it’s best for those with families or those without much hiking experience.
The trail is known for its scenic views and landscapes, especially the wildflowers you’ll encounter along the way.
Visitors will be able to take their dogs on the trail, but you must keep them on a leash. Keep in mind that the trail can get muddy and slippery when it rains, so be sure to use rope clips.
Kammieland Trail is a 1.5-mile round-trip trail. Known for its beautiful wildflowers, the trail is accessible all year round. Apart from hiking, many people enjoy this trail for bird watching and mountain biking.
You may also bring your dog, but please ensure your dog is on a leash. The trail is rated medium, so it may not be as easy as some of the others.
Kaʻena Point Trail
Within Kaʻena Point State Park, you’ll find this trail that has trails starting in Waianae and Mokuleia. The area is the western part of Oahu and it is as wild as it looks!
We went there at the end of the day, unfortunately, we didn’t finish the whole trip, but we did walk a bit from Mongolia to look for monk seals along the water.
Fortunately, we found one! But the views were amazing all the way around. I love hiking the coast and this 3.5 mile out and back hike is amazing! Make sure you put on sunscreen because there is no shade on the road.
Ted’s Bakery is the perfect place to stop if you want to try some delicious homemade goods. It is one of the most popular bakeries on the North Shore and is located near the Turtle Bay resort of Haleiwa. You can find it right next to Sunset Beach.
Some of the best pies, cakes, and pastries you should not miss include Haupia Chocolate Cream Pie, Blueberry Cream Pie, and Macadamia Nut Cream Pie, all made with fresh and local ingredients.
You can also try a variety of hot foods from their menu, including breakfast plates, sandwiches, and burgers. The store is open daily from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm and is located right on the North Shore of Oahu.
Address: 59-024 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Enjoy a Poke Bowl
You will find poke bowls everywhere in Oahu and the rest of Hawaii. And North Beach is no exception!
I’ve had a lot of delicious poke bowls over my multiple visits this way and my absolute favorite was at Kahuku, not Haleiwa. But I also had a delicious one in Haleiwa so I’ll split both (in case you plan on driving a bit)!
Ryʻs Poke Shack
This was my favorite poke bowl on my last trip. It was delicious.
The location is not in Haleiwa but nearby in Kahuku. There were tons of food trucks in the immediate vicinity but something about the place caught my eye and I’m glad it did!
The owner was insanely friendly and down to earth and the poke was to die for. It had many options on the menu, including its own creations, but I opted for something more traditional that I would recommend here. And he didn’t let me down!
Address: 56-565 Kamehameha Hwy in Kahuku
Aji Limo Truck
I didn’t do any research before heading here and ended up running into a lot of food trucks as I drove down the highway from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach.
I walked into the area and found this van gets most of the people hanging out next to it, so I chose to have lunch there.
I’m glad I did! It was efficient and had a very tasty poke bowl as well as other menu options like tacos. The service was great and I will come back here again and again!
Address: 57-512 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Haleiwa Art Gallery
Haleiwa is also an idyllic city for those who love art. The Haleiwa Art Gallery serves as a focal point for Oahu’s art community, housing a wide variety of art in many different styles and themes.
Here, you will be able to see the work of more than 20 artists at once in all different mediums, including photography, sculpture, and painting to appeal to a wide audience.
Haleiwa Museum is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Be sure to check out the website near your trip to find out more about the different events and exhibitions that will be held.
Address: 66-252 Kamehameha Hwy Haleiwa, HI 96712
Well, maybe this beach should be under the beaches section, but it is so gorgeous that it deserves a place of its own!
As the name suggests, Sunset Beach is one of the most amazing spots in the world to witness beautiful sunsets. And surfing!
It is highly recommended that you try to find a spot on the beach before dusk to watch the sunset. Behind the crashing waves. Make sure your camera is ready for this unforgettable experience.
And while the North Shore is known for its sunsets, it may be better known for its massive winter. Swells, which make the beach a hotspot for surfing competitions. Hurley Pro was organized there recently while I was on the island.
You’ll find plenty of places to eat and relax nearby, so I recommend bringing a snack with you and sitting. Back and watch the surfers before getting ready to catch the sunset.
Ray’s Grilled Kiwi Chicken
If you’re in the heart of Haleiwa on the weekend, you’re in for a treat! Watch smoke rise from the parking lot next to Malama Market as delicious chicken is being cooked at Ray’s Kiawe. Broiled Chicken.
This food cart is especially popular for making Hawaiian-style Huli-Huli chicken, which is seasoned with sweet and sour pineapple juice. Soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger, and over a kiawe wood grill.
Here, you can get a whole chicken, a half chicken, or a lunch plate featuring rice, coleslaw, and salsa. This is the perfect way to spend brunch on a nice summer weekend.
Address: 66-190 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Where to stay in Haleiwa?
If you’re doing more than just a day trip to Haleiwa, you’ll definitely want a great place to stay!
Here are some of our top picks for places to stay in Haleiwa and the North Shore.
- Hawaii Oceanfront Beach House Paradise
- Blue Mahina at Sunset Beach Home
- Three tables retreat
Also Read: The Pink Sand Clearwater Beach in Florida: How to Get There?