I have gotten the opportunity to visit many great places during my business travels but none better than the sunny island of Oahu. On my latest trip I was able to spend some time exploring the laid back town of Haleiwa and the surrounding North Shore area.
My first stop right before the turn off for Haleiwa was the Dole Plantation. There is a large gift shop containing just about anything you can think of made from pineapple from wine to the Dole Whip pineapple ice cream, which is to die for. Only other place I know that serves the Dole Whip is Disneyland.
Outside the gift shop, you will find an array of activities you can partake in which includes taking your picture inside a huge pineapple, embarking on the Pineapple Express train tour of the pineapple fields, you can take a garden tour or for the more adventurous, there is a pineapple maze.
Very touristy thing to do but it was interesting to see and learn how the pineapples grow and the many different products offered that are made from pineapple. It is a family friendly spot and I suggest going in the mid-afternoon as the mornings seem more crowded with tour bus traffic.
Onto Haleiwa for a quick early lunch we stopped in at Killer Tacos. This is a counter serve restaurant with a small dinning area. They offer tacos, burritos and bowls. I had the fish tacos and they were excellent.
For the thrill seeker in me, we decided to experience the shark cage dive. This has been something on my bucket list for a long time and I was excited for this day to come! We decided to go with North Shore Shark Adventures, the cost was about $100 per person and the crew could not have been more amazing. You board at the small boat harbor in Haleiwa and travel about 3 miles out from shore, you will soon see the sharks starting to follow the boat, it is pretty crazy. Once you have reached the location where the cage is permanently set, you are given gear and instructions before entering the cage. The cage can hold about 6-8 people at one time and you will spend around 20 minutes in the cage.
Once in the cage, it is an amazing once in a lifetime experience. While the sharks get close to the cage out of curiosity, they are not aggressive and it is very safe. I took my 15-year-old niece as a birthday present and she loved it. My recommendations are to eat lightly before your tour, take motion sickness medication the night prior and to bring a waterproof camera. The company sells a video you can purchase but you will also want still pics to remember the moment!
Next stop was Wow Wow Lemonade, a very trendy little spot that offers handcrafted lemonade in a souvenir Mason jar. Very delicious and refreshing on a warm afternoon.
We spent a couple of hours walking around Haleiwa browsing the many unique gift shops. A couple worth mentioning are Aoki’s North Shore Trading Company and One Love Surf Shop. Definitely worth checking out for some great souvenirs and gifts.
Last stop in Haleiwa had to be Matsumoto shave ice. This place is awesome! It is family owned since 1951 and by far the most popular spot for shave ice. They have about 35 flavors of syrup including sugar-free options. You can even add vanilla ice cream to the middle of your cone or dish. It is AMAZING! Trust me, this is a spot you will want to include!
Back on the road you don’t want to miss the Haleiwa sign for a photo-op then shortly after you will want to stop at Laniakea Beach. This beach is nicknamed turtle beach and every time I have visited this area, turtles have been on the beach. There is usually a guide present to give information about the turtles and to also keep tourists from actually touching the turtles as they sunbathe on the beach. You can still get pretty close to them and get some great pictures.
There are several beautiful beaches along the shore drive and if you have some time, stop in at Turtle Bay resort. It is a beautiful resort that also has a public beach area. This resort is where the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed for all you movie enthusiasts.
A few short minutes drive past Turtle Bay you will come to an area along side the road where Giovanni’s shrimp truck is located. This is a must have when visiting the North Shore. The most popular is the Shrimp Scampi plate which runs about $14 and the truck only takes cash. There is a covered outdoor area with a hand washing station which you will need. The shrimp is the best I have ever had and the plate comes with two scoops of rice. The shrimp are marinated in olive oil, garlic and butter and taste like heaven.
After the large meal we made our way back to the Waikiki area for the day. If you would like more information on the best spots in Hawaii or any of the other areas I have traveled, continue to follow my blog and check out my posts.