The Other North Shore

The first thing I do whenever I come back home to Oahu’s North Shore is walk down to the beach and take in the fresh air.

north shore beaches

The smell of sand and the picturesque blue water and clear skies tells me that I am home. That said, I did not grow up in such a beautiful place. All of Hawaii isn’t glamorous and gorgeous, after all.

Since moving to North Shore, I’ve been doing things that I never thought I would have done before – like learning how to surf and to scuba dive because there are some beautiful reefs and creatures in the water here.

Besides trying new things after my move, I also find myself discovering new things all the time on the North Shore.

Best Surf Spots

One of the biggest activities in North Shore is, of course, the surfing – and they have events and give lessons on most of the beaches. The best places to go if you are just learning how to surf is Chun’s Reef, which has gentler waves and is where most natives started surfing.

Chuns Reef

Another great place is Pua’ena Point, which is smaller than most places and is located in a bay. The last place, which is great for kids learning to surf, is Inside Haleiwa. Here you can teach your children on the rolling shore break, while my children aren’t quite old enough to learn here, this is the place I will be taking them once they want to learn.

Beaches for the Family

There are a ton of beaches in North Shore, but when I first came here I did my research to find the best ones to take my family. There are some basic amenities I look for when I looking for good family beaches: they had to have:

  • a lifeguard
  • restrooms
  • and parking

This may seem reasonable, but some of the beaches here don’t have all of these things.

For example, the following beaches don’t any of these: Veizyland or V-Land, Waialae’s Beach Park/Pahipahi’alua Beach, and Kawela Bay.

Pua’ena Point doesn’t have a lifeguard. You also have to park and use the restrooms at Haleiwa Beach Park.

Chun’s Reef has a mobile lifeguard stand and highway parking, but no restrooms.

Pupukea Beach Park doesn’t have a lifeguard.

These all are great places to surf, but they aren’t the beaches that I would take my family.

Haleiwa Beach Park

Haleiwa Beach Park


The North Shore beaches that have all of these family amenities include:

  • Ali’I Beach Park
  • Haleiwa Beach Park
  • Waimea Bay Beach Park
  • Banzai Beach – Pipeline –Ehukai Beach Park, and
  • Sunset Beach.


One of the events that my kids and I really love is the Triple Crown of Surfing; we were lucky enough to have moved in October and were able to see the event in November and December.

Triple Crown of Surfing

It was amazing to see all of the professionals on the water, and it peaked my children’s interest in surfing.


Another great place that we discovered is Waimea Valley, which has a wonderful botanical collection. I took the kids there during the La’Ohana Family Day, which happens every month. The kids saw the gardens, did activities, and learned a lot during the trip. And I ended up paying for a family pass so we can go back every month for it, which is quite affordable.

Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley

Another place that we have been able to visit after we moved here is the James Campbell Wildlife Refuge. I have never visited this kind of place before, but my children and I really enjoyed the guide tour and seeing all of the wonderful scenery and the animals that live there.

There are a lot of great places that you can visit in the North Shore, whether you are a local or a tourist. I’m glad that we get to experience some of these great places here year round.


If you have never had Hawaiian food, you are missing out! there are so many great new dishes that I have tried here that Hawaiian cuisine is giving my Polynesian favorites a run for their money.

All of the groceries I have visited since moving to the North Shore sell really fresh produce with no chemicals or preservatives on them, which you don’t see much of in the states. Some places are expensive, but it is worth it for the kind of food that they serve.

Ono Hawaiian Foods

One of the best places that I have gone to more than once was Ono Hawaiian Foods, it is family run business and they have all of the best traditional Hawaiian dishes that are prepared fresh.

But I couldn’t go too far from my love of Polynesian cuisine; I took a trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center and took in dinner and a show. They have some of the best Polynesian food in the area and they have so many other different things that they offer at their center, including tours, dining, and luaus. If you are a tourist or a local, you have to take part in some of the fun things that they offer here.

It can be hard to move to a place that you don’t know that well and this place seemed overwhelming at first.

But after exploring the North Shore over the past few months, I can tell you that it is one of the best places to live on Earth, bar none. You have some of the best places to go and the landscape is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen. And, my kids are really enjoying their new surroundings.