All the best places to stop and food to eat on your road trip to the North Shore of Oahu
Oahu’s North Shore is a hot spot for locals and visitors alike, and for a good reason! A one-hour drive will take you away from the hustle of Waikiki to an area with beautiful beaches, turtles, and fantastic acai bowls.
Have you ever seen a pineapple plant? If not, be sure to stop by the Dole Plantation on your road trip north. Swoon over the baby pink ornamental pineapples, cool off with a Dole whip (pineapple soft serve sorbet), and take photos with rainbow eucalyptus trees and the Dole whip statue.
You might be battling locals for a parking spot in the small lot, especially on weekends, but those that score a stall will be granted access to a beautiful blue ocean and cliff jumping off the iconic rock. Summer conditions allow for these activities but in the winter, only experienced surfers enter its waters. We weren’t able to go as a group but Chew visited the week after and enjoyed the thrill of cliff jumping.
If Waimea Bay is full, continue north and go to Shark’s Cove! In fact, this is Chew’s favourite snorkeling spot in the North Shore. On our first visit together, we swam on the left side of the park (left side of Foodland) where there is a sandy beach. The snorkeling on that side was only okay, so we were perplexed as to why so many guidebooks recommend Shark’s Cove as one of the best snorkeling destinations on the island. It wasn’t until Chew went to the right side of the cove (in front of the food trucks) and said it was phenomenal. So park your far across the street from the food truck congregation, put on your snorkeling gear, and hop into the ocean to gawk at the abundant sea life.
Also known as ‘Turtle Beach’ as turtles are often seen sunbathing on the sand or wading around in the shallow waters. Oddly enough, the first time we visited this beach (we went to the North Shore twice in a week), there wasn’t a turtle to be seen. On our second trip, the beach redeemed itself and we saw two or three turtles fighting the current near the shore. We were delighted to see honu in the wild, especially the friends who had never encountered them in real life before. In the summer, the surf is calm enough to swim in so you may have the opportunity to swim alongside turtles. Just remember they are protected so give them plenty of space and don’t ever touch them.
Angel Wing Wall
For the sake of Instagram, we made a pit stop at this painted wall at 62-620 Kamehameha Highway in Haleiwa. Can’t promise that the cute dog will be there.
Wow Wow Lemonade
The best lemonade Leung ever had was at one of Wow Wow Lemonade’s Maui locations. After a hot day of snorkeling and sightseeing, we were very excited to enjoy an icy drink and some acai bowls. The guava lemonade is to die for, so be sure to give that a try.
See Chew’s solo-traveler diary for more on the best spot to grab an enormous acai bowl.
We had heard a lot about Elephant Thai prior to our vacation. It seems to be a very popular spot for vegans. We enjoyed some Pad See Ew (ask for no egg if vegan) and curry at one of their outdoor picnic tables. Al fresco dining is the best way to enjoy a meal. Located right across from Shark’s Cove in a lot full of other food trucks, this would be a great post-swim lunch spot for any and all travelers.
Many online sources rave about Ted’s Bakery and their delectable desserts. We drove to Ted’s in the late afternoon only to find that most of their pies (their signature item) were sold out. We took a slice of chocolate haupia pie to go, just to see what the buzz was about. But for nearly $5, we wouldn’t recommend people to drive all the way to Sunset Beach just to get a slice. Especially after we discovered that Foodland, a grocery store that’s located in every town, carries the pies for a cheaper price. Moral of the story, just go to Foodland.
For more hikes, beaches, and noms on the North Shore, be sure to read Chew’s post on her solo week there.