Bridge to Haleiwa Town

A small town on the North Shore of Oahu, Haleiwa is one of those rare places where you can experience both city life and rural living all at once because it combines shopping and dining opportunities with a slow-paced island lifestyle.

There are locally-owned art galleries, quaint boutiques, and a variety restaurants, as well as historic landmarks and even a farmers market. The town is also home to a number of surf shops, and is the main stop on the North Shore for gas and other supplies.


Haleiwa Town Sign

  • Laid-back beach town that contrasts Honolulu’s busy metropolitan city
  • Vibrant surfing culture with the famous surf spots like Pipeline and Waimea Bay
  • Home to many surfing competitions like the Billabong Pro Pipeline, Eddie Big Wave Invitational, and more
  • Perfect for outdoor and ocean activities like shark cage diving, kayaking, snorkeling, bike riding, and nature walks
  • Plenty of food trucks, restaurants, and cafes as well as eclectic shops where you can buy locally made goods


Road to Haleiwa

The name Haleiwa dates back to 1898 when Benjamin Dillingham first built a hotel of the same name. The word “hale” in Hawaiian means house, while “iwa” stands for “frigatebird,” a seabird that thrives in tropical areas.

By the 1900s, Haleiwa was known largely as an agricultural sugar farm town. Farmers would grow sugarcane and other crops in the rich, volcanic soil, and the town’s residents, immigrants from countries like Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines, Norway, and Portugal, worked in the agricultural industry.

Today, Haleiwa is a thriving community with a unique blend of old and new. The town’s historic plantation-era buildings and laid-back atmosphere attract visitors from all over the world, while its shops, restaurants, and galleries offer a taste of Hawaii that can be found nowhere else.

What to Eat in Haleiwa

Haleiwa Acai BowlHaleiwa town is home to some of the best food on Oahu, and the most popular too!

Just a few examples of some “must try” spots in Haleiwa include:

  • Matsumoto’s Shave Ice – With lines that go out the door, this favorite local dessert spot features mounds of freshly shaved ice topped with a variety of delicious and exotic flavored syrups.
  • Haleiwa Bowls – This cute thatched kiosk serves up tasty acai bowls and smoothies, as well as refreshing cold brew coffee.
  • Kua Auna Sandwich Shop – Enjoy tasty burgers, sandwiches, and salads all served with an island-flair. This popular spot has been going strong since 1975!
  • Haleiwa Joe’s – For those looking for lovely sit-down dining experience with fantastic views of Haleiwa Harbor, and a number of local dishes to choose from.

Things to Do in Haleiwa

A day in Haleiwa can be as simple as exploring the town’s shops, food trucks, and restaurants, but if you feel like doing outdoor activities, here are some of our recommendations:

Shark Cage Diving

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get up close and personal with sharks! Oahu’s North Shore has two of the most popular shark cage diving experiences, which allow you to encounter gray reef, Galapagos, sandbar, or the occasional tiger or hammerhead sharks. You get to enjoy this awe-inspiring experience from the safety of a cage and the company of a professional guide.

  • Enjoy over 20 minutes of cage diving time! The most shark cage time in Hawaii!
  • Exclusive small group shark cage dive: 6 to 12 people max!
  • Enjoy up to 20 mins of cage diving time
  • 8 people max in the cage

ATV & 4 x4 Off-Road Adventures

Thrill-seekers will love exploring rugged terrain on these off-roading adventures. Expert local guides will take you through private trails only accessible through these tours while sharing captivating stories surrounding the land’s folklore and history. Whether you ride an ATV or a 4×4 ex-military Pinzgauer, you’re sure to enjoy exhilarating views as you take on some of North Shore’s toughest roads.

  • Go on a thrilling 2.5 hours Hawaiian ATV tour through off-road trails on Oahu’s North Shore
  • A fun adventure through acres of private trails with the best panoramic views on Oahu
  • Exhilarating 3-hour off-road expedition (18.5-miles Trail)
  • Explore hidden areas of North Shore on a open-air 4×4 Pinzgauer

Surfing Lessons

Haleiwa is a great place to learn how to surf. The waves are gentle and consistent, making it the perfect spot for beginners. Who knows? Perhaps with enough practice, you can join the annual surfing competitions in Hawaii!

  • Private surfing lesson on the North Shore
  • Semi-private lesson for 2 people
  • Head to Oahu’s North Shore on a fast and convenient shuttle with ample free time upon arrival
  • Upgrade your experience with an optional two-hour surfing lesson from a professional expert surfer

Speed Boating

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, a private speed boat might just do the trick. Go on a high-speed ride along the coast and take in amazing views of the ocean and coastline.

Ocean Outfitters Hawaii - North Shore Speed Boat Private Charter
  • 1.5 hour private North Shore cruise for up to 18 guests
  • Great for families and corporate groups

Standup Paddleboarding (SUP)

Haleiwa is also a great place to try standup paddleboarding (SUP). This activity is perfect for those who want to explore the coastline at a slower pace and take in the scenery.

  • Guided SUP on the Anuhulu River
  • Shared and private lessons available

Sightseeing Tours

And of course, no trip to Haleiwa would be complete without taking a sightseeing tour. These tours will give you an in-depth look into the history and culture of this charming town.

  • Visit Halona Blowhole, Waimea Bay, Pipeline, Haleiwa Town & Dole Plantation
  • Optional upgrades are available! Rent a Kayak or a SUP and paddle the scenic Anahulu River
  • Comprehensive 9-hour tour of Oahu that includes 90 minutes of free time in Haleiwa
  • Visit popular spots like the Halona Blowhole, Byodo-In Temple, Pali Lookout, and Dole Plantation
  • Have a fun and energizing hike in the morning before a comprehensive Oahu sightseeing tour
  • Visit Oahu’s most popular destinations like Dole Pineapple Plantation, Haleiwa Turtle Beach & more

Frequently Asked Questions

Haleiwa is most famous for its delicious shrimp and poke bowls, but the town is also home to a variety of interesting shops and attractions. Visitors can enjoy everything from surfing and sunbathing on the beach to exploring the town’s historic sites.

The North Shore of Oahu is busiest during the winter months when waves are at their tallest and surfers from all over the world come to ride them. However, Haleiwa is beautiful year-round, and visitors can enjoy activities like bike riding, sunbathing, kayaking, and hiking no matter when they come.

Be sure to pack your swimsuit and sunscreen if you’re planning on spending any time at the beach.

If you will be hiking, be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and bring plenty of water, and, of course, don’t forget to pack your appetite! There are plenty of delicious restaurants in Haleiwa that you won’t want to miss!

How to Get to Haleiwa

By Bus

Take the #52 or the #55 bus from Ala Moana Center.

Depending on the time of day and the traffic, the trip can take anywhere from two to two and half hours.

Be sure to get your Holo Card before you board the bus! It is $2.75 per bus ride, or $5.50 for an all-day pass once you take your second ride of the day.

By Car

Get on the Interstate H1 West then continue to H2 North via Exit 8A. With moderate traffic, you will get to Haleiwa in an hour or so from the Waikiki and Honolulu area.

Allow ample double the time if you are planning to go during the weekend or holidays as local residents will also be traveling to the North Shore.

Parking can be limited, so be sure to get there early to beat the rush!