ALOHA!

 

So you want to go to the North Shore as a part of your time on Oahu!

Which are the best Oahu beaches that are on the North Shore?!

 

Best North Shore Oahu beaches in Hawaii. Best things to do on North Shore. Best places to visit in Oahu. Backpacking Hawaii travel blog

 

First, the quick list of the top 5 beaches on Oahu to know about when you’re making a trip to the North Shore.

Then, a bit more about each of these beaches, including some nearby places you might want to go when you’re in the area!

So hopefully this list can give you more ideas of things to do on the North Shore.

The North Shore can fit perfectly into a 3 day Oahu itinerary!

 

 

But before that…

North Shore beaches in summer vs in winter?!

North Shore Oahu beaches - summer or winter. No swimming at beach - currents. Hawaii travel blog

 

So there IS a difference if you’re visiting Oahu in summer compared to if you’re visiting Oahu in winter when it comes to the North Shore!

Most notably, winter on the North Shore is internationally known for being a surfing destination!

And what does that mean?!

In terms of entering the water, it can mean that you generally may not find ideal swimming or snorkeling conditions in winter months.

And it also means that if you’re on the North Shore in the winter, you might be able to catch a surf competition if you’re lucky! And if there are no surf competitions when you’re there, you might be able to watch surfers catch the waves instead. Or just watch the massive waves crashing, as that can be a tourist activity on its own too!

So it can be worth a day trip to the North Shore from Waikiki no matter the time of year.

 

Watch the video below for the types of waves you might see on the North Shore in winter. The waves can be crazy… and dangerous!

 

 

 

So now…

 

5 best beaches on the North Shore of Oahu

aka best things to do on the North Shore!

 

1. Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach

North Shore Oahu beaches - Best beaches on North Shore - Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Best things to do on North Shore. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for possible turtle sightings on Oahu.

 

 

2. Shark’s Cove

North Shore Oahu beaches - Best beaches on North Shore - Shark's Cove. Best things to do on North Shore. Hawaii travel blogGo here for one of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu when the water is in calmer months.

 

 

3. Waimea Bay

North Shore Oahu beaches - Best beaches on North Shore - Waimea Bay. Best things to do on North Shore. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for one of the best beaches on the North Shore with beach facilities. In winter, this is one of the top beaches for surfing on Oahu.

 

 

4. Sunset Beach

North Shore Oahu beaches - Best beaches on North Shore - Sunset Beach. Best things to do on North Shore. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for a white sand beach on Oahu. In winter, this is another one of the top beaches for surfing on Oahu.

 

 

5. Kuilima Cove

North Shore Oahu beaches - Best beaches on North Shore - Kuilima Cove. Best things to do on North Shore. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for another snorkeling spot on the North Shore. This is also the Turtle Bay resort beach.

 

 

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More photos/info below, but first...
Side note!
Here's some info on Hawaii trip prep!




PLUS... Oahu tour, or on your own: Can you visit Pearl Harbor without a tour?

 

Now…

A little more about these top North Shore beaches!

…aka the best things to do on the North Shore!

 

1. Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach

North Shore Oahu beaches - Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

If seeing turtles is on your bucket list of things to do on Oahu, then you will definitely want to add Laniakea Beach to your list of beaches to visit on the North Shore!

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Laniakea Beach for North Shore sunset. Hawaii travel blog

 

Since it’s wildlife, turtle sightings can never be guaranteed, but this can be a relatively reliable beach for seeing turtles on Oahu.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Where to see turtles on North Shore Oahu. Hawaii travel blog

 

So if you’re looking for where to see turtles on Oahu, try this North Shore beach!

There are plenty of people who have gone to Laniakea Beach and leave disappointed not having seen a turtle, but it’s a good place to test your luck.

At this beach, there are 3 to 4 of the same turtles who are regulars on this beach, and sunset or shortly before the sun goes down might be a good time to try to catch at least one of them.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Best time to see turtles on North Shore Oahu sunset. Hawaii travel blog

North Shore Oahu beaches - Laniakea Beach for North Shore sunset. Hawaii travel blog

 

Touching turtles is one of the top mistakes first time visitors to Hawaii make, and you’ll likely see volunteers here who try to make sure everyone keeps their distance from these wild turtles.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Where to see turtles on North Shore Oahu. volunteering for turtle conservation protection. Hawaii travel blog

 

Turtles are protected by state law and federal law under wildlife conservation laws!

 

 

2. Shark’s Cove

North Shore Oahu beaches - Shark's Cove. Hawaii travel blog

 

Outside of the winter surfing months, it’s usually possible to safely snorkel at Shark’s Cove.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Shark's Cove. Best snorkeling spots on North Shore Oahu. Hawaii travel blog

 

It’s considered to be safer since it’s more guarded from the waves as an enclosed lagoon.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Shark's Cove. Best snorkeling spots on North Shore Oahu for beginners. Hawaii travel blog

 

This can make Shark’s Cove one of the top snorkeling beaches on the North Shore.

Although, it doesn’t mean that it’s completely protected, so be sure to use your good wisdom!

This area is also a part of the one of Oahu’s marine conservation districts which also means the marine life here are protected!

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Shark's Cove. Best snorkeling spots on North Shore Oahu. Hawaii travel blog

 

This snorkeling beach has a rocky beach entrance.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Shark's Cove. Best snorkeling beach on North Shore Oahu. Rocky beach entrance. Hawaii travel blog

 

This means that if you won’t be wearing fins while snorkeling, you might consider wearing water shoes so you won’t be as concerned with stepping on sharp rocks and cutting your feet!

 

 

Things to do near Shark’s Cove

 

Once you’ve finished up your snorkeling, you can refuel with some food from some North Shore food trucks!

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Shark's Cove. Hawaii's best fish tacos - North Shore food trucks near Shark's Cove. Hawaii travel blog

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Shark's Cove. North Shore food trucks near Shark's Cove. Hawaii travel blog

 

There are some food trucks located almost directly across from the Shark’s Cove snorkeling area right along the North Shore’s main road.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Shark's Cove. North Shore food trucks near Shark's Cove. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

3. Waimea Bay

North Shore Oahu beaches - Waimea Bay. Hawaii travel blog

 

The Waimea Bay beach park is one of the beaches on the North Shore that’s considered a top spot for surfing during the winter surfing months.

During the summer when the waves are calmer, it can make a good beach for wading in the water… along with some snorkeling too.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Waimea Bay. Hawaii travel blog

 

But as with all beaches on Oahu, you will still want to be careful though.

For Waimea Bay, one of the reasons is because the shoreline can drop off quite drastically when you’re in the water.

 

 

Things to do near Waimea Bay

 

If you like stunning views from above…

DON’T miss the Puu O Mahuka Heiau

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. Waimea Bay to Puu O Mahuka Heiau. Hawaii travel blog

 

Not only will this give you a chance to see a bit of Hawaiian culture (heiau = ancient Hawaiian temple), you will also get to see stunning views of the North Shore!

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. North Shore views. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a short drive just off the North Shore’s main road, and just a few minutes from Waimea Bay.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. North Shore drive. Hawaii travel blog

 

This can be a quick stop as a scenic overlook before you go to Waimea Bay.

 

 

And then if you like botanical gardens and waterfalls…

DON’T miss Waimea Valley

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. Waimea Bay to Waimea Valley nature park. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a nature park, so this can be a nice little stroll through greenery.

You can also consider this to be somewhat of an Oahu waterfall hike, as the end of the paved trail through the park will lead to the Waimea Falls.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. Waimea Bay to Waimea Falls waterfall hike trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

A trip to Waimea Valley can also give you a small glimpse into Hawaiian culture.

There’s a Hawaiian ancient living site here…

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. Waimea Bay to Waimea Valley nature park Hawaiian culture. Hawaii travel blog

 

And there’s also a small heiau near the entrance of this park too.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Waimea Bay. Waimea Bay to Waimea Valley hale o lono heiau. Hawaii travel blog

 

You’ll want to give yourself 1-2 hours here.

Waimea Valley is located a few minutes from Waimea Bay.

 

 

4. Sunset Beach

North Shore Oahu beaches - Sunset Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

The wide stretch of sand on Sunset Beach can make for a nice area to hang out.

This is one of the (nearly) white sand beaches that you can find on Oahu.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Sunset Beach. White sand beach on Oahu. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another beach on the North Shore that’s known for surfing in Hawaii.

 

 

Things to do near Sunset Beach

 

If you like stunning views from above…

DON’T miss the Ehukai Pillbox Hike

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Sunset Beach. Sunset Beach to Ehukai pillbox hike with peace sign. Hawaii travel blog

 

On this hiking trail you can find another scenic overlook with views of North Shore beaches.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Sunset Beach. Sunset Beach to Ehukai pillbox hike. Hawaii travel blog

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Sunset Beach. Sunset Beach to Ehukai pillbox hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

The starting point of this hike is at Sunset Elementary School, which is just a few minutes from Sunset Beach.

 

 

And if you like fresh fruit…

DON’T miss the Sunrise Shack

North Shore Oahu beaches - Things to do near Sunset Beach. Sunset Beach to Sunrise Shack. Hawaii travel blog

 

You can find fruit smoothie bowls here!

This place is also famous for their organic coffee.

Be prepared to spend some money, though. You can consider it a part of your Hawaii experience!

This shack is located along the side of the road a few minutes from Sunset Beach.

 

 

5. Kuilima Cove

North Shore Oahu beaches - Kuilima Cove. Hawaii travel blog

 

Kuilima Cove is at the far north point of Oahu, and this is also where Turtle Bay Resort is located.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Kuilima Cove near Turtle Bay resort. Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’re looking for another snorkeling spot with a nice beach, Kuilima Cove is also considered a snorkeling spot. And this is a North Shore snorkeling spot to try if you’ll be visiting in winter. Because the bay is a bit more sheltered, there can be less impact of strong waves here.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Kuilima Cove snorkeling spot on Oahu for beginners near Turtle Bay resort. Hawaii travel blog

 

You don’t have to be staying at the resort in order to snorkel here, as there is public access at this beach.

 

North Shore Oahu beaches - Kuilima Cove near Turtle Bay resort. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Waikiki to the North Shore

North Shore Oahu beaches - How to get from Waikiki to North Shore. Hawaii travel blog

 

If it’s your first trip to Oahu, then there’s a good chance that you will be staying in Waikiki, or somewhere nearby.

Waikiki is the main tourist hot spot on Oahu where most of the hotels the island are located, along with a few hostels.

The North Shore is a bit of a trip from Waikiki, so it’s best to plan it as a day trip or part of a circle island road trip around Oahu.

You can rent a car to go to the North Shore, and this will be about a 1 hour drive.

You might encounter traffic on the North Shore as it’s just one lane in each direction.

You can also take the bus from Waikiki to the North Shore.

The bus may take you a good 2 hours one way though – but if you go for it with a good attitude and you don’t mind walking a lot taking the bus on Oahu, even for a long time, then it’s not so bad! (I took the bus to the North Shore!)

You can also rent bicycles on the North Shore too – near the food trucks right near the Shark’s Cove snorkeling spot can be a good place to find bikes.

 

 

And those are some of the best beaches on the North Shore to consider making a part of your trip to Oahu!

Also have a look at more of the best beaches around Oahu.

And also see the best of hiking on Oahu.

HAPPY NORTH SHORE BEACH TIME!

 

Best beaches on North Shore Oahu Hawaii. Best things to do on North Shore. Best places to visit in Oahu. Backpacking Hawaii travel blog

 

 

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Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Oahu maps for tourists!
The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip to Honolulu!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on the Oahu:


ALOHA!