When you land in Oahu, there are so many gorgeous places to see that it’s hard to go wrong. But one thing that you’ll hear over and over from locals and visitors alike is that you have to see the North Shore. It really is a special place; that’s why we’ve included it as one of our Oahu photography tours. But what makes the North Shore such a great place? We could list hundreds of things, but here are just ten to wet your appetite and get you excited to see this incredible area of the island.
10 Things You’ll Love About the North Shore
You haven’t really had shaved ice until you’ve had it on the North Shore. There are plenty of places to grab one on the North Shore, but Matsumoto is the most popular. You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see the line snaking out of this general store that’s been operating in Haleiwa since 1951. You’ll have a rainbow of flavors to choose from, but if you want to go fully traditional get it with condensed milk and azuki beans. You won’t regret it, trust us.
If you’ve been dreaming about coming to Hawaii since you saw your first surfer movie, then you need to stop and see the Banzai Pipeline. Part of Ehukai Beach Park, the pipeline is known around the world for its incredible surfing action. You’ll often find thrilling surfing competitions happening on this beach, which are great opportunities to practice your action shots. Even if the waves are calm, you’ll find children and adults enjoying the sand and surf. It’s a gorgeous setting to spend time watching the water.
Haleiwa is one of the main towns on the North Shore and a must-see destination in Oahu. The town is known for its unique vibe and is filled with unique boutiques, art galleries, and surf shops. Going to Haleiwa is like seeing what Hawaii must have been like 50 or even 100 years ago; although the town has been modernized, it still feels like a quaint Hawaiian village of sorts. It’s a place that even the locals love to visit.
If seeing sea turtles is an item on your bucket list, the North Shore has you covered. Head over to the appropriately named Turtle Beach, where you are virtually sure to see a turtle on the beach every day in the summer. It’s fascinating to see these creatures in their natural environment; there is something that’s so much more special about seeing them in the wild than in a man-made habitat. You’ll need to be respectful of these creatures as not only are they beloved by the local but protected under federal law.
There is a lot of amazing food in Oahu but you won’t find much better than the food trucks along the North Shore. Don’t be afraid to take your chances with one that you discover tucked among some palm trees. Owners take a lot of pride in their food trucks, so food safety is a top priority for most vendors. You can also check online reviews, as many of the food trucks are hooked into social media. Whatever you do, make sure that you try a plate of garlic shrimp. Not only will it taste amazing, it’s a great opportunity to practice your food photography.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center opened in 1963 and has been educating and entertaining guests ever since. It’s a glorious mix of history, culture, education, and excitement that is a must-see for many visitors to the island. The 42-acre park designates different areas to different Polynesian cultures, giving you a chance to take a deep dive into the cultures that interest you the most. Make sure you stick around for the evening show, where each culture performs traditional dances and music for the crowd. Keep your camera ready for some unique photo opportunities.
Another amazing surf spot, Waimea Bay is located next to Haleiwa, making it an easy-to-reach destination after you’ve stuffed yourself at the food trucks or with shaved ice. Waimea Bay is a stunning beach that hosts surfing competitions in the winter. Even if you aren’t keen to jump on a surfboard, though, there are plenty of adventure opportunities with cliff diving, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. If you want to practice your underwater photography, this could be an ideal place.
Don’t panic; this peaceful swimming spot didn’t get its name from frequent visits from sharks (thank goodness!). Instead, the name comes from the shape of the cove itself. It’s a peaceful, protected spot that’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling. You can bring your own gear along or pick up some at one of the nearby stores in Pupukea. Just make sure that you head into the water when it’s calm; there are no lifeguards on this beach, so you swim at your own risk.
If you’ve ever eaten Dole pineapple, then you’ve eaten a pineapple from Oahu. The Dole plantation welcomes more than one million visitors a year, giving them tours of the plantation that includes activities such as a train tour, garden maze, and eating the famous pineapple ice cream. The plantation has been around since 1950, making it a historical site of interest as well. It’s fascinating to see how pineapples are grown and harvested over this incredible expanse! Even if you didn’t think you were interested in pineapples, you will be by the time the tour is finished.
The Aloha Spirit
The Aloha Spirit is alive and well on the North Shore! While you might be more familiar with “aloha” as a greeting on the island, the meaning of the word goes much deeper. Aloha is a way of life; it’s about taking care of each other and the environment around us. It’s about warmth, caring, and sharing life with each other. You’ll experience that Aloha Spirit all over the island, but nowhere so strongly as on the North Shore. It’s not hard to photograph, either; you’ll find it on the faces and in the interactions of the people around you.
Ready to Experience and Photograph the Magic of the North Shore?
We’re ready to take you there. Book your Oahu photography tour through our website! Our North Shore tour covers many of these locations along with others that provide you with an opportunity to capture photos of a lifetime and hone your skills. Our North Shore tour is available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. You can see the entire itinerary and details on our website. Have questions about this or any other photography tour that we offer? Get in touch with our team by giving us a call or contacting us through our website. We look forward to seeing you on one of our exciting tours soon!