Driving along the north shore of Oahu is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday. Every time I explore the north shore, I find new places that I haven’t discovered before.
And, the only way around is a one-lane highway that hugs the coast, Kamehameha Highway. As the speed limit lowers and the road curves around mountains, you are forced to slow down and discover the island at a new pace.
Along Kamehameha Highway, there are so many different places to stop and get out of your car. You will see fruit stands, farms, food trucks, and secluded beaches.
There are certain points along Kamehameha Highway where you can pull over on the side of the road and hang out on the beach. You might even get a slice of beach all to yourself. Paradise doesn’t get much better than that.
The best way to find the hidden gems along the north shore is to drive along Kamehameha Highway and to pull over at any fruit stand, beach, or place that looks interesting to you. Towns like Laie, Waimea, and Haleiwa are good places to explore.
To get you started, here are a few of my favorite hidden gems. Use these places as a jumping off point to spend an entire day exploring Oahu’s north shore.
Sunsets on the beach
If you are staying Waikiki, then you know how beautiful the sunsets can get. But if you want a different spot to see the sunset, head up to the north shore. One of my favorite lesser known beaches to watch the sunset at is Papa’iloa Beach. Click here for a few of our other favorite places to watch the sunset.
Secret beach and fruit stand
There is a secret beach across the street from a farm stand on the north shore. Located next to Turtle Bay Resort, the farmers will cut the tops off of the coconuts they sell and put in a straw. You can drink the coconut water straight from the coconut.
Park on the side of the road and buy a coconut and some other fruit. Cross the street, walk through a secret trail, pass an old Banyan tree, and you will arrive at secret beach.
Eucalyptus rainbow trees outside the Dole Plantation
Even if you don’t want to stop at the Dole Plantation, drive by just to see the rainbow eucalyptus trees that line the large driveway. These tall tropical trees have vibrantly colored trunks. They change colors from pinks to greens to oranges. Rainbow Eucalyptus trees are a must-see in Hawaii, and this is one of the best places to see them.
You won’t find many people along Kaena Point. But you might just find monk seals, sea turtles, and albatross.The secluded, volcanic coast makes for some of the best views on the island. It’s the most western point on Oahu and is said to be the place where souls of ancient Hawaiians would jump off into the spirit world and meet the souls of their ancestors.
Although the trail is long at 2.7 miles each way, you don’t have to hike to the end to experience the beauty because the entire coastline provides epic views. Pack a picnic lunch and pick a spot on the beach to enjoy the tranquility. Although Kaena Point is a well-known spot on Oahu, few venture out this far.
Kahuku Farms is a farm-to-table restaurant with delicious lunch, smoothies, and desserts. They also offer tours of their farm and sell some foods that you can take home that make great souvenirs.
When I first moved to Hawaii, Kahuku Farms was a hidden gem that not many people know about. Although it’s gotten more popular over the years, it’s still a special place that’s worth visiting when you are up on the north shore.
For BBQ, head to Uncle Bobo’s. They also have delicious iced coffee. And if you want a slice of their cheesecake, get there early, because they always run out. My friends who have visited me in Hawaii still talk about Uncle Bobo’s.
Hunt for sea glass along the beaches
Although the tides change which beaches are best for sea glass, you are much more likely to find sea glass on the north shore than in Waikiki or on the other parts of the island. Pro tip: after a storm or hurricane is the best time to look. The smaller, secluded beaches are good places to start.
For years, I passed the Coral Kingdom on my way up to the north shore. One day, a friend visiting suggested that we stop and take a look. We were both pleasantly surprised at their decent prices and kitschy souvenirs. This shop is worth visiting for t-shirts and other trinkets.
Surfers Coffee Bar
If you drive up to the north shore through the center of the island, you will pass Surfers Coffee Bar in Wahiawa. Because it is unassuming from the outside, you might miss this place if you aren’t looking for it. Volunteers brew the coffee here, and all of the profits go to local and global non-profit organizations. It’s a perfect pit stop on your way to the north shore.
For the best burgers on the north shore, you have to go to Seven Brothers in Laie. If you have room, stop at Angel’s right next door for shave ice. Pro Tip: Seven Brothers also has a food truck in Kahuku that sells the best coconut shrimp.
Part of the fun of discovering hidden gems in Hawaii is finding them yourself. Do don’t be afraid to pull over at a random food truck or shop. You just might be surprised with the magic that Hawaii has to offer in the most unexpected places.
Give us a call today. Our travel agents can help you uncover the hidden gems that will be of the most interest to you and can help you plan a day on Oahu’s north shore.