28 things to do in Haleiwa Town: A Must-Visit Destination in Hawaii (updated 2023)
The North shore area of Oahu is known for its gorgeous coastline and views, amazing surf and North Shore beaches and stunning sunsets to experience on the beach. The main town at Haleiwa is the main hub for the area with fantastic eateries, galleries and boutique stores and now their food truck courts which is the place to hang out for lunch time.
Haleiwa maintains that local style and country vibe but has amped it up a bit with chic shops, upscale dining, fancy surf shops and art galleries to browse through while you’re downing a big cup of shave ice.
So, what are some fun things to do in Haleiwa you ask? Check out all these things to do in Haleiwa below.
Where is Haleiwa, Oahu located?
Haleiwa is a charming town located on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It is situated on the northern coast of the island, known for its iconic surf culture, beautiful beaches, and a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Haleiwa is approximately 28 miles (45 kilometers) north of Honolulu, making it a popular destination for those seeking a more laid-back and scenic Hawaiian experience away from the bustling city.
A brief background of historic haleiwa town
Haleiwa town started as a plantation town in the early 1900s and supporting the local sugarcane industry at the Waialua Sugar Company and with a rail line that connected the town to Honolulu with a passenger line and a sparkling hotel at the end called the Haleiwa meaning Hale or house and iwa or a frigate bird.
There are 30 historic buildings located around town and the town charter required that new buildings keep the same character and look of the sugar plantation era architecture. Eventually the town was designated as a state historic, cultural and scenic district in 1984 which keeps the look and character of the old sugar and plantation era intact around the whole town.
The area first attracted a surfing crowd and youth market initially drawn to surfing and the outdoor lifestyle and eventually the town and area became more popular and a trendy area with a unique small-town appeal that visitors love to visit and experience outside of Honolulu and Waikiki.
Historic Haleiwa town is gentrified but still maintains that fun and cool old town vibe.
Here’s a video of Haleiwa’s historic past
What’s it like visiting Haleiwa today?
Today Haleiwa draws a mixed crowd that loves outdoor, adventure and of course surfing with the Seven-mile miracle of popular surfing in Hawaii and world-wide competitions drawing masses of admirers during the competition and even year-round. Visiting the North Shore beaches is big draw along with checking out the local vibe in the area around Haleiwa.
Outside of the surfing scene visitors love seeing an alternative and chill vibe in town and the surrounding coastal areas that attracts families, hipsters, adventure seekers and surfers. It’s easy to spend the whole day at Haleiwa and exploring the North Shore and staying overnight will give you a better and more relaxed timeframe to visit and absorb all the fun things to do in town.
Most visitors start with Haleiwa town as a base and place to explore, eat, shop and then venture out to visit the rest of the North Shore of Oahu.
How far is Haleiwa from Honolulu?
The drive from Honolulu or Waikiki to Haleiwa is around 45 minutes to an hour depends on the stops you take along the way. It’s about 25 miles away on Hwy 1 to Hwy2 and then exit at Hwy 99 to Haleiwa town.
Top 28 things to do in Haleiwa and surrounding areas
There’s so much to do in Haleiwa and the North Shore areas, we share the best 28 things to do below for your inspiration.
1. Visit Waimea falls and botanical gardens
Swim in a gorgeous waterfall at Waimea falls with a pleasant hike to the base of the waterfall and enjoy this unique and safe experience in the north shore.
Outside of the short .75 hike on paved road to the waterfall, you can also explore the many tropical gardens and ancient mock villages of how this valley looked in the past with the early Hawaiian settlers to the area.
Check out this fun tour through the valley and waterfalls below
2. Enjoy the most family friendly beach at Waimea Bay
Directly across from Waimea Falls is the Waimea Bay Beach park which is the most popular beach area in the north shore with excellent facilities, beautiful white sand beach and gorgeous water to swim in.
This beach and water are perfect in the summertime when the water is calm allowing for easy swimming, snorkeling and jumping from the huge rock pile on the left side of the beach area.
Check out Waimea bay highlights to visiting and enjoying a day on the beach here
3. Snorkeling at Sharks Cove
Another family friendly activity is to go snorkeling at Sharks Cove located between Waimea Bay and the Bonzai Pipeline and is a protected bay with beautiful water that is only 8ft to 15ft deep. Filled with beautiful coral and tropical fish and other sea life you can enjoy a relatively safe area and even explore some caves and lava tubes around Sharks Cove.
One of the most popular places to explore and snorkel in this protected bay, Sharks cove is the place to snorkel in the North Shore.
Check out this fun tour experience here
4. Get some Shave Ice at Matsumotos
The local institution shave ice spot is definitely Matusmoto’s shave ice started as a grocery store and made some delicious shave ice with their own home-made sauces and toppings. This became an instant hit and Matsumoto’s grocery business changed to a more tourist focused destination on its own.
So many fun choices with ice cream on the bottom, condense milk and delicious syrups you can choose for your favorite flavors. Make historic Haleiwa town your first stop at Matsumotos in town.
Check out this video about the family business and how it got started
5. More beach day fun on the North Shore
So many wonderful beaches to enjoy on the North Shore to snorkel, surf or just relax on a nice sandy beach. Check out Sunset beach, Laniakea Beach, Haleiwa Beach or even the gorgeous and remote beaches at Mokuleia beach on the far western side of the island.
** Check out this post on the most popular beaches on the North Shore to explore here for more inspiration.
Adventure fun around Haleiwa Oahu
You can rent your own, do a tour experience and enjoy rivers around the Haleiwa bridge and calm Haleiwa to do some fun kayaking, boogie boarding or Sup boarding (Sea & Board Sports Hawaii rental shop) for a fun adventure experience on the water.
Check out this two hour surfing lesson here for a fun adventure experience learning the basics on land before you head out into the water and hone in on your basic techniques here in safe and easy waters.
Check out this fun video surf lesson below
You can pick up Sup paddle quickly here on the North Shore with this fantastic class with an expert guide on the beginner-friendly waters of the Anahulu River. You’ll love this experience!
Here’s a fun video tour of Haleiwa SUP boarding experience
This shark cave dive is fully secured and you take out the boat to local waters and out to the cage area where you can view local sharks in the safety of a strong cage you can enter in and experience the thrill of being close to a shark experience in the water.
Check out the highlights to this cage tour experience below
9. Go hiking inland
You can find some cool trails to explore around Haleiwa like the Waimea waterfalls or up Mokuleia Trail which cover two different trail experiences and even the gorgeous Ehukai Pillbox hike with beautiful coastal views from above. Check out these 10 fantastic hikes you can do around Haleiwa and the North Shore area.
Here’s a fun and inspiring tour to the Ehukai Pillbox and experience below
10. Experience the Banzai Pipeline
In winter time visitors come to see the big waves and the famous Banzai Pipeline just off Ehukai Beach park around Waimea Bay. It’s a time to see some adventurous surfers and also the big surfing competition. The area is packed to watch the surf action, competitions and lively atmosphere around the North Shore during the wintertime.
11. Sunsets are amazing around Haleiwa
If you are looking for some fantastic end of day experience, head out to the coastal areas and beaches to enjoy a wonderful sunset experience. The best coastline for that is practically anywhere on the Northshore but the favorites here include Sunset beach, Alii Beach Park or check out Waimea Bay for an incredible sunset experience.
Lot’s of good places to hang out late in the afternoon to sunsets here on the North Shore to experience
Check out this fast and easy sunset experience below
12. The best food truck venues to enjoy a cheap meal at Haleiwa
There are some fantastic food truck courts in the North Shore set up for delicious eating and cheap too! You’ll get some good eats with local food trucks around the various food truck courts in Haleiwa, Kahuku, Waimea Bay and other grouped areas along the North Shore. Here are some of the best ones to look out for
Leonard’s Malasada truck – yes Leonard’s has a malasada truck with inspired fillings, the truck travels from the bakery up to the North Shore for a brisk business that always sells out
Mike’s Huli Huli Chicken – In Kahuku with their half chicken with rice and mac salad as the popular dish along with a spicy sauce that compliments that smoky chicken flavor.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – One of the classics and most well known for local shrimp dishes over rice plates
Fume’s Kahuku Shrimp Truck – One of the best garlic shrimp places that serve it up super spicy or just plain tasty
Elephant Food Truck – serving Thai food and some good vegan dishes like that vegan pad Thai
North Shore Tacos– offering different taco plates with locally caught fish along with pork, chicken or beef dishes
Or check out the best rated food truck venues on this Yelp guide here for the best of the best to try around Haleiwa.
Here’s a fun video tour of the food trucks in the area below
13. Haleiwa Surf Museum
Did you know that there is actually a surf museum here to experience on the North Shore? Makes sense since this is the surfing capital here on the North Shore. The museum was created in 1993 with a variety of displays and collections from the area and all the popular competitions that have occured in the area.
Check out the details to visiting here for more information and visiting.
Here’s some more fun adventure tour experiences around Haleiwa area
If you are looking for a thrilling experience on the North Shore, then Ziplining is fun and available here. What’s not to like with amazing views from above and a thrilling fast ride up in the skies looking on down the North Shore Landscape. You start with an ATV tour to get to the top of the hills and then go down 8 zipline tours on this fun experience.
Find out more details to a ziplining experience here for information and booking.
Here’s a quick video tour experience below
Enjoy this horseback riding experience at Waialua on the North Shore on this beach front ride experience and going through some oceanfront trails and learning some fun techniques. Family friendly up to age 10+ to participate.
Check out the tour video highlights below
If you would rather leave all the driving and expert guides and just enjoying the experience, check out this fun all day tour in the North Shore you can do with your family and just be present and enjoy.
Tour highlights include:
Windward coastal drive
Visit a Macadamia nut farm
Check out Sunset Beach
The Banzai Pipeline
A choice of snorkeling or waterfall tour and swim
17. Go visit a farmer’s market
You can shop at a local farmers market and local fruit stands at Haleiwa and along the North Shore of Oahu. One of the more popular places to shop for locally prepared foods, crafts and produce is the Haleiwa Farmers Market that occurs every Thursday
Address: 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, 96712
Check out their website here for more details
18. Check out Turtle beach or Laniakea
Just a short drive outside of Haleiwa is Laniakea, a very popular spot for local honu or green turtles to go onshore and relax. This has made Turtle beach a must stop spot for visitors wanting to experience seeing them and capturing them in photographs. Just make sure that you do stay away at least 10 feet distance from their resting habitats as mandated by local laws protecting all the turtle species in Hawaii.
Find out more to visiting Turtle Beach on my post here for more details to visiting.
19. Enjoy an Acai Bowl
One of the most popular and healthy breakfast meals to eat around Haleiwa are Acai Bowls which can be found in many breakfast eateries:
- Haleiwa Bowls: Known for their fresh and customizable acai bowls, Haleiwa Bowls offers a variety of toppings and blends to choose from.
- Beet Box Cafe: This cozy cafe serves up delicious and healthy acai bowls made with locally sourced ingredients. They also offer vegan and gluten-free options.
- Surfer’s Coffee Bar: Not only famous for their excellent coffee, Surfer’s Coffee Bar also serves refreshing acai bowls with an assortment of toppings to satisfy your taste buds.
- Island Vintage Coffee: A popular hangout spot, Island Vintage Coffee serves up acai bowls alongside their signature coffee drinks. Enjoy the tropical flavors and beautiful presentation of their acai creations.
- Grass Skirt Grill: This Hawaiian-inspired eatery offers acai bowls that are packed with fresh fruits, granola, and other delightful toppings. It’s a great place to grab a quick and tasty bowl.
Enjoy your acai bowl adventure in Haleiwa!
20 Check out the Rainbow bridge at Haleiwa
The Rainbow Bridge at Haleiwa is a breathtaking landmark that enchants visitors with its vibrant colors and scenic beauty. Spanning across the Anahulu Stream, this picturesque bridge serves as a gateway to the charming town of Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. As its name suggests, the Rainbow Bridge boasts a vibrant array of colors, creating a stunning visual spectacle that reflects upon the tranquil waters below. The bridge has become an iconic symbol of Haleiwa, offering a perfect spot for tourists and locals alike to capture memorable photographs. It is not only a means of crossing the stream but also a charming reminder of the area’s natural wonders and the rich cultural heritage of the Hawaiian Islands. As you walk or drive across the Rainbow Bridge, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you, making it a must-see attraction for anyone exploring Haleiwa.
If you are adventure oriented, you can find a variety of outfitters that do SUP, Kayak and surfing lessons close to the bridge that you can have a fun experience in the area.
21. Visit the North Shore Macadamia Nut Farm
The North Shore Macadamia Nut Farm is a captivating destination nestled on the beautiful North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. This enchanting farm is renowned for its lush orchards, where rows upon rows of macadamia nut trees thrive under the island’s tropical sun. Visitors can embark on guided tours to learn about the fascinating cultivation process and the history of macadamia nuts on the island. The farm offers a delightful sensory experience, as the sweet aroma of the macadamia nuts fills the air. Additionally, guests have the opportunity to sample and purchase an array of delicious macadamia nut treats, ranging from roasted nuts to gourmet chocolates. Whether you’re a nut enthusiast or simply seeking a unique agricultural experience, the North Shore Macadamia Nut Farm is a must-visit destination that showcases the natural beauty and flavors of Hawaii.
Address: 62330 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
22. Have a Coffee at Haleiwa
Haleiwa is a haven for coffee enthusiasts, boasting a variety of exceptional coffee shops that cater to both locals and tourists alike. One of the top contenders is Surfer’s Coffee Bar, where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air as you step inside. This cozy and inviting spot offers a laid-back atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax and savor a cup of expertly crafted coffee. Another must-visit establishment is Island Vintage Coffee, renowned for its specialty coffees made from premium, locally sourced beans. With a delightful menu of creative coffee concoctions, Island Vintage Coffee takes pride in delivering a unique and flavorful experience. For those seeking a true Hawaiian coffee experience, Coffee Gallery is the place to be. With a focus on locally grown beans and a dedication to sustainable practices, Coffee Gallery provides a wide range of expertly brewed coffees that capture the essence of the islands.
Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or simply in need of a caffeine fix, these top coffee shops in Haleiwa are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings and leave you with a lasting appreciation for the art of a perfectly brewed cup of joe.
23. Ted’s Bakery on the North Shore
Located on the iconic North Shore of Oahu, Ted’s Bakery is a beloved destination that has been delighting locals and visitors alike for decades. Known for its mouthwatering pastries and delectable pies, Ted’s Bakery has become a must-stop spot for those exploring the North Shore. From the moment you walk in, the sweet aroma of freshly baked goods fills the air, instantly tempting your taste buds. Ted’s is particularly renowned for its famous Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie, a heavenly combination of rich chocolate, creamy haupia (coconut pudding), and a flaky crust that has gained legendary status among pie enthusiasts. Apart from the pies, Ted’s Bakery offers a diverse menu of savory treats such as sandwiches, plate lunches, and local favorites.
With its casual and inviting atmosphere, Ted’s is the perfect place to grab a quick bite or indulge in a sweet treat after a day of exploring the North Shore’s stunning beaches. Whether you’re a pie lover or simply in search of some scrumptious comfort food, Ted’s Bakery is sure to leave you with a satisfied smile and a craving for more.
24. Dole Pineapple Plantation
The Dole Pineapple Plantation, nestled in the heart of Oahu, Hawaii, is a charming destination that celebrates the rich history and natural beauty of pineapple cultivation. With sprawling fields of pineapple plants, it offers a picturesque setting for visitors to immerse themselves in the tropical ambiance. Guided tours provide an informative and educational experience, sharing insights into the plantation’s heritage and the various stages of pineapple growth. A favorite attraction is the Pineapple Garden Maze, where visitors can enjoy a fun-filled adventure navigating through the maze’s winding paths. The plantation also features serene botanical gardens, showcasing a diverse array of plants and colorful flowers. As a delightful treat, visitors can indulge in the refreshing taste of a Dole Whip, a pineapple-flavored soft-serve dessert that has gained popularity over the years.
Whether you’re interested in learning about pineapple farming, exploring beautiful gardens, or simply enjoying the laid-back atmosphere, the Dole Pineapple Plantation offers a charming experience for all who appreciate the tropical wonders of Hawaii.
25. Have some Delicious Poke at Haleiwa
When it comes to finding delicious poke bowls in Haleiwa, you’re in luck! This charming town on the North Shore of Oahu offers a range of fantastic options. One popular spot is Haleiwa Bowls, known for their mouthwatering poke bowls made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their customizable bowls allow you to choose your preferred type of fish, toppings, and sauces, ensuring a personalized culinary experience. Another great choice is Waialua Fresh, a local favorite that specializes in poke bowls featuring a variety of fresh fish options and flavorful marinades. For those seeking a unique twist, Kahuku Superette is a hidden gem known for its fusion-style poke bowls, combining traditional flavors with creative ingredients. If you’re looking for a casual and laid-back setting, Kahuku Poke Shack is a go-to spot. Their generous portions of poke, served over a bed of rice or salad, will surely satisfy your cravings. Whether you’re a poke aficionado or a first-time explorer of this Hawaiian delicacy, Haleiwa has a multitude of options to indulge in the delightful flavors of poke bowls that will leave you wanting more.
Things to do around Haleiwa town
26. Check out the cool surf shops at Haleiwa
Haleiwa, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is a surfer’s paradise and home to several outstanding surf shops. These shops cater to the needs of both seasoned surfers and those eager to catch their first wave. One iconic establishment is the Surf N Sea store, a long-standing institution that has been serving the community since 1965. Here, you can find a wide range of surfboards, beachwear, and accessories, as well as knowledgeable staff who can provide expert advice on gear selection.
Another popular destination is the Haleiwa Surfboard Company, known for its handcrafted surfboards made by skilled local artisans. This shop prides itself on offering unique, custom-made boards that are a perfect fit for the North Shore’s legendary waves. For those seeking a one-stop shop, the North Shore Surf Shop is worth a visit. They offer a comprehensive selection of surfboards, apparel, and equipment, ensuring you have everything you need for a memorable surfing experience.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly option, check out the Greenroom Hawaii. This surf shop focuses on environmentally conscious products, including surfboards made from sustainable materials and eco-friendly apparel. Whether you’re in search of a new board, beach attire, or expert advice, the surf shops of Haleiwa are ready to equip you for an unforgettable surfing adventure on the North Shore.
27. Art Galleries at Haleiwa
The town has unique and captivating art galleries that showcase the talent and creativity of local and international artists. One notable gallery is the Haleiwa Art Works, a charming space that features a diverse collection of artwork ranging from paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich artistic expressions inspired by the natural beauty of the island. Another must-visit destination is the Wyland Galleries, founded by renowned marine life artist Wyland. This gallery offers a breathtaking display of Wyland’s iconic ocean-themed artworks that capture the magnificence and fragility of marine life.
Additionally, Haleiwa Art Gallery is a hidden gem that presents an array of contemporary and traditional Hawaiian art pieces, including paintings, jewelry, and ceramics. The gallery provides an opportunity to appreciate and acquire artwork that reflects the island’s unique cultural heritage. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of artistic expression, the art galleries in Haleiwa offer a delightful journey into the world of creativity and inspiration.
28. Shop till you drop at Haleiwa
Haleiwa, located on the picturesque North Shore of Oahu, offers a delightful shopping experience for visitors. The town is brimming with charming boutiques, local shops, and unique venues that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. One must-visit shopping destination is Haleiwa Store Lots, a collection of quaint shops housed in restored plantation-style buildings. Here, you can explore an assortment of stores offering a range of products, from trendy clothing and accessories to locally made crafts and souvenirs. Another notable spot is the North Shore Marketplace, a bustling open-air shopping center that showcases a mix of surf shops, art galleries, and specialty stores. Here, you can find everything from surf gear and beachwear to handmade jewelry and Hawaiian artwork.
For those looking for a taste of local flavors, the Haleiwa Farmers Market is a fantastic option. Held every Sunday, it offers a vibrant atmosphere with an array of fresh produce, local treats, and artisanal goods. Additionally, Haleiwa Town Center is home to a variety of boutique shops, art galleries, and eateries, making it a great place to explore at a leisurely pace. Whether you’re seeking unique souvenirs, stylish clothing, or locally crafted goods, the shopping venues in Haleiwa provide a delightful experience that showcases the vibrant spirit and creativity of the North Shore.
Check out these other posts on visiting Haleiwa and the Northshore area
Visit the North Shore of Oahu and places to explore
Beach day at Waimea Bay for swim, surf and snorkeling fun
Enjoy the read – pin it for later
Pin historic Haleiwa town and save it for later!
Weather and best time to visit the North Shore, Oahu
The North Shore of Oahu, famous for its world-class surf and natural beauty, experiences pleasant weather throughout the year. The best time to visit depends on your interests and what you want to experience:
Winter (November to February): This is the peak season for big-wave surfing on the North Shore, with waves that can reach epic heights. It’s a thrilling time to witness the action at famous surf spots like Pipeline and Sunset Beach. However, if you plan to swim, be cautious, as the surf can be dangerous.
Spring (March to May): Spring offers a transition from the big waves of winter to calmer seas. It’s a great time for outdoor activities like hiking, snorkeling, and exploring the lush landscapes. The weather is pleasant, and the North Shore is less crowded than in the winter months.
Summer (June to August): Summer on the North Shore brings warm temperatures and calm seas, making it an excellent time for swimming, snorkeling, and enjoying the beaches. This season is ideal for families, as the surf is usually much smaller and safer.
Fall (September to October): Fall is a pleasant time to visit, with warm weather and smaller crowds. While the big waves haven’t arrived yet, you can still enjoy outdoor adventures and cultural experiences.
Events: Keep in mind that the North Shore hosts some exciting events, such as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing from November to December and the Haleiwa Arts Festival in July. These events can add unique experiences to your visit.
Overall, the North Shore of Oahu offers something special throughout the year. If you’re a surf enthusiast or want to witness the world’s best surfers in action, winter is the time to go. For a more relaxed and family-friendly experience, summer and fall are excellent choices. The North Shore’s beauty and charm make it a captivating destination no matter when you decide to visit.
Have you visited Haleiwa?
Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.
Conclusion on the 28 top things to do at Haleiwa
Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu offers a plethora of captivating activities and attractions that make it a must-visit destination. From world-class surfing and pristine beaches to delectable dining experiences and vibrant shopping venues, Haleiwa has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the laid-back surf culture, catch a wave at iconic surf breaks, or simply bask in the breathtaking beauty of the coastline. Explore the town’s charming art galleries, discover unique boutiques, and indulge in the flavors of local cuisine.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation, immerse yourself in the town’s rich history, and savor the iconic taste of a Dole Whip. Haleiwa truly embodies the essence of the Hawaiian Islands, offering a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and a warm aloha spirit. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a taste of authentic Hawaiian culture, Haleiwa is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and a longing to return to this coastal gem time and time again.
Thanks for checking out this post on visiting Haleiwa. Hope the post was informative and a must read article – if so please do share it with any of the social media buttons around the page.
Disclosure – some of the links above are to affiliate sites that are either reviews or recommendations if you book helps to keep our site running. We appreciate your supporting our website meanwhile