North Shore, Oahu: food trucks, sand & surfers

Just a hop, skip and a jump from San Francisco (ok, in reality a 5 hour flight and followed by an hour drive) the north shore of Oahu was an easy trip for a quick escape for a few days of R&R. We relaxed on the beach, basked in the (strong) sun, swam in the ocean at every opportunity and wore our bathing suits at every meal. Afternoon showers cooled us off, and the rainbows we were constantly rewarded with took our breath away. The epitome of the "aloha" spirit.

Pack... Not much! Bathing suits, easy cover-ups, flip flops, a big hat and lots of sunscreen. My dressier outfits didn't leave the suitcase. 

Sleep... We stayed at this amazing Airbnb in Laie. A small, quiet town on the way to the North Shore. We had access to a private beach a few blocks away and a big deck to relax on at the end of the day.

Read... Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux

Bring home... A sunkissed glow and sand in your suitcase 


Surf! You are in the birthplace of surfing, and there is no better place to try riding some waves. We took lessons from Uncle Bryan's one day and highly recommend. The student teacher ratio was great and were very patient.  

Bonzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach - If you aren't ready to brave the waves yourself, take in the surfers at Bonzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. The big waves makes it so fun to watch. 

Waimea Beach - This was a favorite beach, we spent two days here. The waves are still big, but that didn't stop us from spending a lot of time in the water.

Crouching Lion Hike - A quick, very steep hike to give you spectacular panoramic views of Kahana Bay. 

Sugarcane (Honolulu) - The only shop I went to, but so worth it! A quirky, charming collection of Hawaiian made goods, cute cards and jewelry, as well as a selection of kids clothes. I could have easily picked up a bunch of gifts if we weren't in a rush to grab lunch. As a bonus, the owner Jill is super sweet, and she gave me an amazing list of places to eat on the North Shore. 








{ eat } 

Oahu is the land of food trucks. Embrace this and enjoy these delicious and casual alfresco meals.

Elephant Truck (Shark's Cove) - Huge plates of flavorful, spicy noodles eaten on the picnic tables while overlooking some of the biggest waves on the North Shore. This was my favorite place we ate on the island, and yes we made several return trips. Tucked in with the other food trucks in Shark's Cove - don't miss it. 

Opal's Thai (Haleiwa) - Located in the Haleiwa shopping center, this is another don't miss meal while on the North Shore. Go with an open mind and an adventurous palate, and let Opel himself wow you with an authentic meal that will be tough to beat outside of northern Thailand.

Halewia Acai Bowl (Haleiwa) This tiki hut on the side of the road is a perfect stop for a refreshing smoothie or acai bowl as you drive through Halewia.

Matsumoto Shaved Ice (Haleiwa) -  Touristy, yes. But worth the experience.

Cafe Halewia  (Haleiwa) - Basic diner breakfast. This is low key local's spot but I didn't love it and wish we had eaten at Beet Box Cafe across the street. 

Kaimuki Superette (Honolulu) - Ed Kenney's third restaurant. We stopped here for a quick lunch on our way to the north shore. Grilled ahi and a selection of salads and veggies was a perfect first meal in Hawaii. Both Town and MudHenWater are on my list for our next visit.

Nalu (Kailua) - We stopped here uon our way back to Honolulu for one last dip in the ocean and an acai bowl eaten beachside. The perfect, healthy way to end to our 4 days in paradise.