3 Things to Do on North Shore

by Mariam Beard • Last Updated: February 29, 2021

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which mean that we may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase using these links – at no additional cost to you.

Are you looking for a fun way to spend a half day on the North Shore of Oahu? In this video, I’m going to show you three great activities that you can do in just a few hours. From renting stand-up paddleboards to eating at a food truck and catching the sunset, there’s something for everyone on the North Shore.

Getting to North Shore

We started in Waikiki around noon or one o’clock and drove up to the North Shore. Haleiwa is the town up on the North Shore and is considered the beginning of the North Shore. From Waikiki, it’s about a 45 to 60 minute drive.

Once you get up to Haleiwa, you can easily spend a couple hours in there. Haleiwa is a cute little historic town with local mom-and-pop shops, art galleries, food trucks, and smaller shops. It’s a nice local surfer vibe and I would definitely recommend checking it out.


Renting Stand-Up Paddleboards

We stopped at a surf shop and rented stand-up paddleboards. Stand-up paddleboard rental pricing ranges depending on the shop, but a good rule of thumb is $15-20 for a one hour rental. We chose to do 2 hours for about $25.

Anahulu River is super calm and it’s great for beginners. The water is really flat ,like glass, it’s almost like stand-up paddle boarding across a lake. It takes about maybe 30 to 45 minutes to go down onto the river one way to the point where you can no longer go any further. Once you get to that point, it’s really easy to notice because the water gets way too shallow and rocky so you have to turn back around and come back the way you came.

The route itself is really gorgeous and you’ll see plenty of other stand-up paddle boarders. There’s also kayaks available as well. If you’ve never stand-up paddle boarded before, try it – it’s really fun. This specific shop we liked a lot because the boards were good quality and the actual boards itself were really really wide. This was really important to us because we actually brought some puppies with us!

Pro Tips for Stand-Up Paddleboarding

PRO TIP 1: Have a waterproof bag. This can be a small bag but make sure it’s waterproof and it floats. This is something you can put your cell phone, your car keys, your camera, snacks, or a bottle of water. That way, if you flip over or if the board flips over, at least your stuff will stay dry.

PRO TIP 2: If you decide to bring a camera, a cell phone, or a gopro to take photos or video, you want to make sure that you get an attachment that floats. All the footage you see in the video is done on my gopro hero 7 black. I have an attachment that lets it float. It’s like a kind of like a selfie stick but it also floats. It has an orange float piece at the top.

Grabbing Lunch at a Food Truck at “Big Wave Shrimp”

After we finished stand-paddle boarding, we grabbed lunch. There’s a bunch of different local food trucks that are in the area. I love garlic shrimp! A plate lunch will run you about $13-15 depending on what you decide to order.

The area that we went to had a few other food trucks. There’s a Korean spot, there’s a burger spot, there’s a place that has salads – lots of things that are in the area. I like this one specifically because for one extra dollar they actually pre-peel the shrimp for you. If you’ve ever had garlic shrimp and peeled it yourself, you know that the garlic shrimp butter just stays on your fingers on your hands for a few hours afterwards and the smell is almost impossible to get out. So for that reason, I highly recommend this spot. It’s only an extra dollar and then they will also peel the shrimp for you. This isn’t the only spot that does this but this is one of my favorites and I went to it again after we finished eating.

Catching Sunset at a Beach

To end off our half day on the North Shore, we decided to catch sunset at one of the beaches. Pro tip for any of the North Shore beaches – if the only beaches you’ve ever been to is a beach that’s in the Waikiki area, one key difference between that and North Shore beach or pretty much any of the other beaches outside of the hotel district is that there aren’t a lot or actually any kiosks where you can just rent beach chairs or umbrellas unless it’s near a resort or hotel.

For the most part, it’s just beach that’s out there.

So if you want to have beach chairs an umbrella or any of those kinds of things with you, bring those with you from Waikiki. Either rent them in Waikiki or if you want you can also go to one of the local stores in the area such as a Target, a Walmart, all of which are within 1-2 miles of Waikiki and you can purchase those and bring those with you to the North Shore and also keep them for the rest of your trip too. If you have a Costco or a Sam’s Club membership, they also sell those beach chairs that have like the backpack straps. That way, you can bring those with you. You can use those in Waikiki, you can use this up on the North Shore, you can use those on pretty much any of the beaches. They’re super comfortable and would definitely recommend it.


Spending a half day on the North Shore of Oahu is a great way to experience the beauty and culture of the island. From renting stand-up paddleboards to eating at a food truck and catching the sunset, there’s something for everyone on the North Shore.

Question of the Day: What is your favorite spot on the North Shore? Comment down below!

Related Posts:

One response to “3 Things to Do on North Shore”

Leave a Reply

Aloha! I'm Mariam.

I'm an Oahu resident sharing my adventures here in Hawaii to help take the guesswork out of planning your trip to Hawaii.

I've worked full-time as a concierge for a decade and have planned thousands of itineraries for travelers like you!


Blog at WordPress.com.