Things to Do in Haleiwa: North Shore’s Best-Kept Secrets

Table of Contents

Are you wondering about the best things to do in Haleiwa, Hawaii? 

Embrace the charm of the North Shore with this comprehensive guide. 

Whether it’s surfing the majestic waves or exploring the vibrant local culture, Haleiwa is a gem that offers something for everyone. 

Enjoy the ride as we take you through Haleiwa’s must-see sights and experiences!

Why Visit Haleiwa?

Haleiwa isn’t just another Hawaiian town. There are tons of things to do in Haleiwa – it’s an adventurer’s experience. 

One of Oahu’s most authentic experiences at that. Located on the legendary North Shore, this laid-back town offers a perfect blend of local culture, natural beauty, and adventure sports. 

It’s a bucket-list destination for nature enthusiasts, thrill-seekers, and those looking to escape the hustle of city life. Here’s why you should put Haleiwa on your must-visit list:

Embrace Local Culture

Haleiwa is a treasure trove of local Hawaiian culture. From its historical town to art galleries and traditional Hawaiian food, Haleiwa allows you to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the islands. 

The town is a melting pot of different influences and offers a genuine taste of the Hawaiian lifestyle.

Discover Natural Beauty

Surrounded by lush mountains and pristine beaches, Haleiwa is a nature lover’s paradise. The nearby Waimea Valley, with its waterfalls, botanical gardens, and hiking trails, is a haven for exploration. 

The pristine beaches offer a perfect spot to relax, sunbathe, or even swim with the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.

Indulge in Adventure Sports

From world-class surfing to skydiving, Haleiwa is the ultimate destination for adrenaline junkies. 

The North Shore is famous for its massive waves, making it a surfer’s paradise. 

Additionally, the town offers adventure sports like stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and mountain biking, ensuring there’s no shortage of excitement for thrill-seekers.

Experience Authenticity

In a world where popular tourist destinations often lose their authenticity, Haleiwa remains true to its roots. 

The town has managed to maintain its unique charm and character, offering an unpretentious and genuine Hawaiian experience. 

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Camper Vans  | Surf Boards | Kayaks | Snorkel Gear | Itineraries | Campsites | More…

Stepping into Haleiwa feels like stepping back in time, allowing you to appreciate the simpler pleasures of life.

In conclusion, visiting Haleiwa is about more than just ticking off a list of attractions. 

It’s an opportunity to experience the essence of Hawaii, connect with its culture, and find adventure in its natural landscapes. 

So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey to Haleiwa!

Things To Do In Haleiwa: Haleiwa’s Cultural Charm

Haleiwa is a town rich in culture and history, offering visitors a unique insight into the Hawaiian lifestyle.

Here are some things to do in Haleiwa to experience its cultural charm:

things to do in haleiwa

Haleiwa Art Gallery

Art buffs can bask in the local art scene at the Haleiwa Art Gallery, a welcoming space showcasing works from local and international artists that represent the spirit of Haleiwa. 

Visitors can admire the diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and photography that capture the essence of Hawaii’s beauty and culture. 

Often, you’ll find artists at work, offering a glimpse into their creative process. 

The gallery also hosts events and workshops, providing an opportunity to meet the artists and learn about their inspirations.

Haleiwa Historical Town

Take a leisurely stroll through Haleiwa Historical Town, a throwback to the 1900s, filled with colorful boutiques, art galleries, and eateries that offer a nostalgic trip down memory lane. 

The town’s architecture is a testament to its rich history, with plantation-style buildings and charming wooden storefronts that transport you back in time.

As you wander through the town, don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Matsumoto Shave Ice, a family-run establishment since 1951, known for its refreshing and flavorful shave ice creations. 

Another must-visit spot is the North Shore Soap Factory, housed in a historic sugar mill, where you can learn about the soap-making process and pick up handcrafted, locally-made soaps as souvenirs.

In addition to its historical sites, Haleiwa is also home to cultural events and festivals that celebrate Hawaiian heritage. 

The annual Haleiwa Arts Festival, held in July, is a vibrant showcase of local talent in visual arts, music, and dance. 

Participate in traditional Hawaiian activities, such as lei-making and hula dancing, and immerse yourself in the true spirit of Haleiwa.

Experience the cultural charm of Haleiwa by visiting these remarkable sites, indulging in local flavors, and participating in traditional activities. 

This quaint town offers an authentic taste of Hawaii that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

The Natural Wonders of Haleiwa

Haleiwa is not just about its rich culture and history; it also boasts breathtaking natural wonders that captivate the hearts of visitors. 

Here are two must-visit natural attractions in Haleiwa:

Waimea Valley

No trip to Haleiwa is complete without a visit to the lush Waimea Valley, a paradise for nature lovers. Spanning 1,875 acres, this sacred valley offers a wealth of natural beauty, from its dense rainforests and cascading waterfalls to its vibrant botanical gardens.

As you wander through the valley, you’ll encounter over 5,000 plant species, many of which are native to Hawaii. Don’t miss the chance to learn about the traditional uses of these plants in Hawaiian culture through informative signage and guided tours. 

For the more adventurous, hike the 3.5-mile trail leading to the stunning 45-foot Waimea Falls. Here, you can take a refreshing dip in the pool beneath the waterfall.

Apart from its natural beauty, Waimea Valley also holds significant historical and cultural importance. 

Discover ancient Hawaiian sites, such as heiau (temples) and agricultural terraces, which offer a glimpse into the island’s rich past.

Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park

A perfect spot for relaxation, Ali’i Beach Park offers pristine sandy beaches, clear waters, and the chance to spot Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles basking in the sun. 

This 19-acre beach park is located at the heart of Haleiwa town and is popular among locals and tourists alike.

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Camper Vans  | Surf Boards | Kayaks | Snorkel Gear | Itineraries | Campsites | More…

The calm, shallow waters make Ali’i Beach Park an ideal spot for swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding. 

The beach is also a favorite among beginner surfers, as the waves are gentle and the surf break is easily accessible. 

The beach park is well-maintained, with amenities such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and barbecue grills, making it perfect for a fun-filled day out with the family.

If you’re lucky, you may spot Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles swimming in the waters or resting on the shoreline. 

Please remember to respect these magnificent creatures by keeping a safe distance and not disturbing their natural habitat.

Experience the awe-inspiring natural wonders of Haleiwa by visiting Waimea Valley and Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park, which showcase the diverse beauty of Hawaii’s landscapes and wildlife.

Surfing at Haleiwa

Haleiwa is a renowned surfing destination, offering unforgettable experiences for both beginners and seasoned surfers. 

Here are two ways to make the most of the surfing scene in Haleiwa:

things to do in haleiwa

Surfing Lessons

Eager to ride the waves? Enroll in a surfing lesson and learn from the experts. It’s one of the most exhilarating things to do in Haleiwa! 

Several surf schools in the area cater to different skill levels, from first-timers to advanced surfers looking to polish their technique.

These lessons often begin with on-land instruction, where you’ll learn the basics of surfing, such as proper stance, paddling, and wave selection. 

Once you’re comfortable with the fundamentals, you’ll hit the water under the watchful eyes of experienced instructors. 

With their guidance, you’ll soon be catching your first waves and experiencing the thrill of surfing in Haleiwa’s iconic waters.

Surfing lessons not only provide an exciting adventure but also give you a deeper appreciation for the ocean and its power. 

If you’re looking for a surfing lesson in north shore Oahu, The North Shor Beach Boyz is the top-rated surfing instructor in Haleiwa. 

By the end of the lesson, you’ll have gained new skills and an unforgettable memory to take back home.

Surf Competitions

Experience the thrill of world-class surf competitions, attracting professional surfers from across the globe. 

The energy is palpable, and the spectacle, unforgettable. 

Haleiwa is part of the famous North Shore, known for hosting prestigious surfing events, such as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

These competitions showcase the incredible talent and skill of professional surfers as they ride massive waves, perform jaw-dropping maneuvers, and push the boundaries of the sport. 

As a spectator, you’ll be captivated by the athletes’ fearlessness and their connection with the ocean.

These events also serve as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local surf culture, mingle with fellow surf enthusiasts, and learn about the history and traditions of surfing in Hawaii. 

The festive atmosphere, complete with food trucks, live music, and beachside stalls, adds to the excitement of the event.

Whether you’re taking your first steps into the world of surfing or witnessing the prowess of professional athletes, Haleiwa offers unforgettable surfing experiences for all.

Ocean Safety in Haleiwa, Hawaii

When visiting Haleiwa and enjoying its stunning beaches, it’s crucial to prioritize ocean safety. 

The waters of Hawaii can be unpredictable, and being aware of potential hazards can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. 

Here are some essential ocean safety tips to keep in mind during your visit:

Be Aware of Seasonal Surf Conditions

In Haleiwa, the winter months (November through February) often bring larger swells and stronger currents, making the surf conditions more dangerous for inexperienced swimmers and surfers. 

On the other hand, the summer months (May through September) typically offer calmer waters, making them more suitable for beginners. 

Always check the surf forecast before heading to the beach, and stay within your skill level when entering the water.

Look for Lifeguards and Posted Signs

Choose beaches with lifeguard stations whenever possible, as lifeguards are trained to monitor ocean conditions and assist in emergencies. 

Pay attention to posted signs and flags, which provide information about potential hazards, such as strong currents, high surf, or the presence of dangerous marine life.

Learn About Rip Currents

Rip currents are powerful, narrow channels of water that flow away from the shore and can quickly pull swimmers out to sea. 

If you find yourself caught in a rip current, remain calm and do not attempt to swim against the current. 

Instead, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the rip current, then swim back to the beach at an angle.

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Camper Vans  | Surf Boards | Kayaks | Snorkel Gear | Itineraries | Campsites | More…

Observe the Buddy System

Never swim or surf alone. Having a buddy with you not only makes your ocean activities more enjoyable but also ensures that someone can call for help if necessary. 

Keep an eye on each other, and be prepared to assist one another in case of an emergency.

Protect Marine Life

Hawaii is home to an abundance of marine life, including Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, monk seals, and various fish species. 

Always maintain a safe distance from these creatures and avoid touching or feeding them. 

By respecting their natural habitat, you can contribute to their conservation and enjoy their presence for years to come.

By following these ocean safety guidelines, you can make your Haleiwa adventure both memorable and safe. 

Remember that the ocean is a powerful force, and respecting its power will help ensure a positive experience for all visitors.

Haleiwa’s Gastronomy

Food Trucks

Savor the local flavors at Haleiwa’s renowned food trucks, offering a smorgasbord of cuisines from fresh seafood to the iconic shave ice – a delightful treat on a sunny day.

Local Breweries

Beer enthusiasts can’t miss the local breweries, which showcase Haleiwa’s unique brews. Whether you’re an IPA lover or a lager fan, there’s something for every palate.

Shopping in Haleiwa

Haleiwa Store Lots

Indulge in retail therapy at the Haleiwa Store Lots, a shopping center that hosts a plethora of local boutiques, each offering unique Hawaiian souvenirs and gifts.

Local Boutiques

For more personalized shopping, the local boutiques in Haleiwa offer handmade crafts, jewelry, and clothing, perfect for taking home a piece of Hawaii with you.

Adventure Sports in Haleiwa

Haleiwa is a haven for adventure seekers, offering a diverse range of thrilling activities beyond surfing. 

From skydiving to shark cage diving, there’s something for everyone in this exciting Hawaiian town. Here are some popular adventure sports you can experience during your visit:


Experience the thrill of skydiving with the stunning backdrop of North Shore, an exhilarating bucket-list item for adventurous spirits. 

Soar through the skies as you freefall from a plane, taking in breathtaking views of Haleiwa’s picturesque landscapes and azure waters. 

Skydiving companies in the area offer tandem jumps for beginners, ensuring a safe and unforgettable experience under the guidance of professional instructors.

If skydiving is for you, there is really only one option on Oahu, and that is Skydive Hawaii.

things to do in haleiwa

Shark Cage Diving

Embrace your inner daredevil and come face-to-face with the ocean’s apex predators during a shark cage diving experience. 

Expert guides will take you out to sea, where you’ll enter a secure cage and submerge into the crystal-clear waters, providing a thrilling up-close encounter with sharks in their natural habitat. 

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for these magnificent creatures.

Surf Lessons

If you’re eager to ride the waves, enroll in a surf lesson with experienced instructors who cater to different skill levels. 

With their guidance, you’ll learn the basics and soon find yourself catching waves and experiencing the thrill of surfing in Haleiwa’s iconic waters.

If you want a surfing lesson, the North Shore Beach Boys are experienced and offer a menu of lesson types, including private and group lessons. 

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

If you prefer water sports, try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) in Haleiwa’s calm waters. It’s a fun and unique way to explore the shoreline while getting a full-body workout. 

SUP rentals and lessons are available in the area, providing you with the necessary equipment and instruction to glide across the water with ease. 

As you paddle, enjoy the serenity of the ocean and take in the stunning views of Haleiwa’s coastline.

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Camper Vans  | Surf Boards | Kayaks | Snorkel Gear | Itineraries | Campsites | More…


Explore Haleiwa’s picturesque waterways and hidden gems on a kayaking adventure. Paddle through calm rivers, mangrove forests, and tranquil estuaries, witnessing the area’s rich biodiversity and natural beauty. 

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a first-timer, there are guided tours and rental options available to suit your needs. 

Kayaking in Haleiwa offers a unique perspective on the island’s beauty and a peaceful way to connect with nature.

With so many adventure sports to choose from, Haleiwa provides the perfect destination for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. 

Experience the adrenaline rush of skydiving, marvel at the power of sharks, or find tranquility on the water with paddleboarding and kayaking. 

No matter your preference, you’ll create unforgettable memories in this Hawaiian paradise.

We recommend you check out Tsue’s Farm and Rainbow Water Sports for the best kayaking adventures in Haleiwa


Discover the vibrant underwater world of Haleiwa by snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters. 

Encounter colorful coral reefs, a diverse range of fish species, and even Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. 

Several spots around Haleiwa, such as Shark’s Cove and Three Tables Beach, are ideal for snorkeling adventures.

Scuba Diving

Take your underwater exploration to the next level with a scuba diving adventure. 

Whether you’re a certified diver or a beginner, you’ll find diving opportunities in Haleiwa that cater to your skill level. 

Explore shipwrecks, lava tubes, and vibrant marine ecosystems teeming with life.


Haleiwa and its surrounding areas boast numerous hiking trails, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging treks. 

Explore the lush Waimea Valley, hike to the summit of Ka’ena Point, or traverse the scenic Ehukai Pillbox Trail. 

Each trail offers unique vistas and the opportunity to connect with the natural beauty of Oahu.

Mountain Biking

Satisfy your need for speed and adventure with a mountain biking excursion through Haleiwa’s breathtaking landscapes. 

Rent a bike and hit the trails, or join a guided tour to explore hidden gems and technical routes. 

The rugged terrain and stunning views make Haleiwa a mountain biker’s paradise.


Soar through the treetops and experience the thrill of ziplining in Haleiwa. 

With several zipline courses available, you can traverse lush forests, cross suspension bridges, and even rappel down waterfalls. 

It’s an exhilarating way to experience the natural beauty of Oahu from a unique perspective.

For the best north shore zipline Oahu, check out Climb Works Keana Farms Zipline Tour. They have one of the best ziplines on the island of Oahu, and they have over 6,000 5-star reviews on Google. 

things to do in haleiwa

Horseback Riding

Enjoy a leisurely horseback ride along Haleiwa’s picturesque beaches and verdant landscapes. 

Local ranches offer guided tours for riders of all skill levels, providing an opportunity to explore the North Shore’s scenic beauty while bonding with a gentle equine companion.

With such a diverse range of adventure sports available in Haleiwa, you’ll never run out of exciting activities to try. 

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique experience, this vibrant Hawaiian town has something for everyone.

If you are looking for one of the island’s best ranches to do some horseback riding, North Shore Stables is the place for you. It’s also conveniently located in Haleiwa. 

Staying in Haleiwa

Getting to Haleiwa

Haleiwa, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is approximately a one-hour drive from Honolulu, making it easily accessible by car. 

This scenic drive takes you through beautiful landscapes, passing pineapple fields and mountain ranges before reaching Haleiwa.

Traditional Hotels & Beach Bungalows in Haleiwa

When it comes to finding the perfect accommodation in Haleiwa, you have two primary options: traditional hotels and beach bungalows. Each option has its pros and cons, which we will discuss below to help you decide on the best fit for your Hawaiian getaway.

Traditional Hotels

things to do in haleiwa

Due to the small size of Haleiwa, there are not a lot of traditional hotels which makes the hotels that do run on the north show even more expensive. 


  1. Amenities: Traditional hotels typically offer a wide range of amenities, such as pools, fitness centers, and on-site restaurants, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay.
  2. Services: Hotels often provide daily housekeeping, concierge services, and other guest support, allowing you to relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about the details.


  1. High prices: Hotel accommodations in Haleiwa can be expensive, particularly during peak seasons or at luxury properties.
  2. Less privacy: Hotels may have more guests and less privacy than smaller beach bungalows, which could impact the tranquility of your stay.

If a traditional resort is what you are looking for, one great option you can check out is Turtle Bay Resort. Turtle Bay is one of the most well-known resorts on the island and it is a short drive from Haleiwa. 

Beach Bungalows

There is one beach bungalow rental near Haleiwa that stands out, the Ke Iki Beach Bungalows. 

Each Ke Iki Beach Bungalow offers an idyllic retreat for those seeking a serene and rejuvenating escape.

Each bungalow is a harmonious blend of rustic charm and modern amenities, designed with a focus on eco-friendly materials and practices.

The exteriors showcase traditional thatched roofs and vibrant, tropical-inspired colors, while the interiors boast tasteful, locally-sourced decor that enhances the welcoming atmosphere.


  1. Charming atmosphere: Beach bungalows offer a more intimate and authentic Hawaiian experience, often featuring unique and local decor.
  2. Privacy: With fewer guests and more distance between accommodations, beach bungalows provide a quieter, more secluded atmosphere.


  1. Limited amenities: Beach bungalows may not have the same range of amenities as hotels, such as on-site restaurants or fitness centers.
  2. Price variations: While some beach bungalows can be more affordable than hotels, prime beachfront properties or upscale bungalows may still come with a higher price tag.

Ultimately, the choice between traditional hotels and beach bungalows in Haleiwa depends on your preferences, budget, and the type of experience you’re seeking. 

Both options offer unique benefits and drawbacks, so carefully consider your priorities and what would make your stay in Haleiwa most enjoyable.

Rent A Camper Van

Haleiwa offers a laid-back atmosphere and a more authentic Hawaiian experience compared to the busy city life in Honolulu. 

However, this charm comes at a price, as accommodations in the area can be more expensive and limited due to its popularity and distance from the city center.

Renting a camper van is an excellent alternative to traditional accommodations, providing a unique and flexible way to explore Haleiwa and its surroundings. 

Here are some reasons why a camper van is a great choice for your Haleiwa adventure:

  1. Cost-effective: Renting a camper van can save you money compared to booking a hotel in Haleiwa, which can be pricey due to limited availability. With a camper van, you have your transportation and accommodation in one, simplifying your travel expenses.
  2. Flexibility: A camper van allows you to create your own itinerary and move at your own pace. You can explore Haleiwa’s attractions, beaches, and nearby towns without the constraints of a pre-set schedule, giving you the freedom to fully immerse yourself in the North Shore experience.
  3. Closer to nature: Staying in a camper van puts you closer to the natural beauty of Haleiwa and Oahu. Wake up to the sound of crashing waves, enjoy a beachside breakfast, or stargaze from the comfort of your camper van. It’s a unique and memorable way to connect with the island’s stunning landscapes.

Plan Your Hawaiian Adventure Today

Camper Vans  | Surf Boards | Kayaks | Snorkel Gear | Itineraries | Campsites | More…

Consider renting a camper van for a memorable, cost-effective, and flexible experience that brings you closer to the island’s natural beauty and friendly community.

Plan Your Visit to Haleiwa

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Haleiwa depends on your preferred activities and weather preferences. 

While the summer months (May to September) offer perfect weather for beach activities and outdoor exploration, the winter months (November to February) bring large swells, attracting surfers and spectators alike to the world-famous surf competitions. 

Keep in mind that accommodation prices might be higher during peak seasons, so plan accordingly.

Getting Around Haleiwa

While renting a car is the most convenient way to explore Haleiwa and its surrounding areas, there are other options to consider if you prefer a more leisurely or eco-friendly mode of transportation:

  1. Bikes: Rent a bicycle and enjoy the scenic beauty of Haleiwa at your own pace. Biking is a great way to explore the town, beaches, and nearby attractions, all while getting some exercise.
  2. Mopeds: Mopeds rentals are another popular transportation option in Haleiwa. They’re widely available for rent and offer the freedom of exploring the North Shore without the hassle of finding parking spaces. Remember to follow local traffic rules and wear a helmet for safety.

Dos and Don’ts in Haleiwa

Dos In Haleiwa

  1. Respect the local culture: Engage with the locals, learn about their traditions, and participate in cultural activities. Your respect and interest in their culture will help build connections and enrich your overall experience.
  2. Try local cuisines: Don’t miss out on trying the delicious local food in Haleiwa, such as poke bowls, shrimp trucks, and shave ice. These culinary experiences will leave your taste buds craving more!
  3. Be prepared: Pack sunscreen, insect repellent, reusable water bottles, and any other essentials to ensure you’re well-prepared for your Haleiwa adventure.

Don’ts in Haleiwa

  1. Don’t litter: Keep the environment clean by disposing of your waste properly. Haleiwa’s natural beauty is one of its main attractions, and it’s essential to preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
  2. Be mindful of noise levels: Keep noise levels down, especially in residential areas and at night. Be considerate of the local community and fellow visitors who are also seeking a peaceful and relaxing experience.
  3. Don’t disturb wildlife: When exploring Haleiwa’s beaches and parks, avoid touching or disturbing wildlife, such as sea turtles and marine life. Observe and appreciate these creatures from a safe distance, respecting their natural habitats.

With its vibrant cultural scene, stunning natural landscapes, and thrilling adventure sports, Haleiwa offers an unparalleled Hawaiian experience. 

Now that you’re equipped with a comprehensive list of the top things to do in Haleiwa, as well as the best times to visit and tips for getting around, it’s time to start planning your unforgettable Hawaiian adventure!


What are the top things to do in Haleiwa for nature lovers?

Exploring the Waimea Valley and relaxing at the Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park are must-dos for nature enthusiasts.

Is Haleiwa a good spot for surfing beginners?

Yes, Haleiwa offers surfing lessons for beginners, making it a great spot to learn surfing.

What are some of the unique local dishes to try in Haleiwa?

You must try fresh seafood from the food trucks and shave ice, a local dessert.

Are there any special events or festivals in Haleiwa?

Haleiwa is famous for its surf competitions which attract surfers worldwide.

What is the best way to get around Haleiwa?

Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore Haleiwa, but bikes and mopeds are also available for rent.

Have we left anything out? 

What do you think are the best things to do Haleiwa? 

Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other Posts You'll Love