Top 5 Places to Visit on the North Shore of Oahu
Written by Grace Maeda
With summer quickly approaching, many of us are reminiscing about those hot, carefree beach days that we all know so well here in Hawaii. A little too much food from the Pupukea Grill, probably not enough sunscreen and a lot of laughs with friends. As Hawaii begins to gradually reopen, we’re thinking about all of our favorite local spots and neighbors on the North Shore. If you’re itching for some sun and adventure, or if you find yourself with only one day on the North Shore of Oahu, these are the top 5 places you have to hit. So mark up your maps, plug these locations into your GPS and enjoy the best of the North Shore!
1. Ehukai Pillbox Hike
Nothing screams summer like catching the sunrise at the Ehukai Pillbox. The panoramic views are incredible and it’s definitely worth waking up early to watch the sun brighten the sky and wake up the island. It also feels amazing to rise with the sun. Getting on the trail early in the morning or doing it in the evening is also key for beating the heat. The hike has a steep climb but as the trail rises above Sunset Beach, there are some of the most breathtaking views of Oahu. It’s mesmerizing to watch the sets of waves rolling in on the North Shore and seeing the different shades of blue scatter in the ocean. It’s definitely a hike to put on your bucket list.
2. The Sunrise Shack at Sunset Beach
After a great start to the day on the trail, it’s definitely time to refuel. The next stop is The Sunrise Shack for an energizing bullet coffee or a delicious smoothie or smoothie bowl. Check out our menu! The Sunrise Shack is a great spot to catch up with friends or make new friends with the shack chickens. Here, everyone is treated as ohana. The aloha spirit and good vibes are contagious and will keep you stoked all day.
3. Banzai Pipeline
The legendary Pipeline obviously makes the list of must-see places on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s also great because it’s just a two minute drive from The Sunrise Shack! The four founders of The Sunrise Shack essentially live for surfing Pipeline. Every year thousands of surfers flock to Oahu for a chance to surf this epic break known for perfect barrels. During the winter, The Billabong Pipeline Masters attracts the best surfers and crowds of excited spectators. Koa Rothman won the Wave of the Winter in 2017 surfing Pipeline on a legendary wave that should be in every history textbook and making him a Pipeline guru. At the end of winter, you also definitely don’t want to miss the last swell at Pipeline because the waves are much smaller in the summer. If you do plan on swimming, always stay up-to-date on ocean conditions and safety because Pipeline is known for having some of the most dangerous waters.
4. Pupukea Grill
By now, it’s definitely time for more food. Serving the best local grinds and plate lunches is Pupukea Grill. This little blue food truck has the most “ono” (Hawaiian for delicious) dishes. They have a variety of options to satisfy everyone, from teriyaki chicken, burgers, salads to even vegan options. Their poke is also some of the best on the entire island. The Smith brothers’ favorites include the poke bowls, hand rolls and the cauliflower tacos. Your ‘ōpu (Hawaiian for stomach) will thank you!
5. Ke Iki Beach
It’s always a good idea to head back to the beach, especially after chowing down a poke bowl or plate lunch. The last stop on our list of favorite spots is Ke Iki Beach, which is a gem on the North Shore. Along the same stretch as Pipeline, it has the same huge, beautiful waves but with far fewer people. Ke Iki Beach is a fun place to get barreled by waves and watch others attempt the gigantic shore break. “When we want to get a good ocean beating we go play at Ke Iki Beach,” Travis Smith said. “This gets us mentally ready to ride the massive waves at Pipeline.” Check out this video of the action that can happen at Ke Iki Beach. Again, it’s not recommended to go in the water unless you are very experienced in the ocean. To finish a long day, Ke Iki Beach is a great place to watch the sunset with friends and end a good day of adventures.