Explore historic Haleiwa Town and the rest of Oahu’s North Shore
If visiting the North Shore is on your Oahu itinerary, then a stopover in charming Haleiwa Town is a must. A quaint small surf town, Haleiwa Town is the North Shore’s historical and cultural center. At just an hour drive from Waikiki it is the perfect escape from the city crowds. The preserved plantation era style of architecture gives a laid-back country ambiance and unique charm. Haleiwa is the ideal place to chill out and relax.
The Anahulu Stream Bridge, commonly known as the “Rainbow Bridge” because of its distinctive twin arches, marks the northern entrance of Haleiwa Town. The reinforced concrete bridge replaced its wooden predecessor in 1921 and has become one of the most recognized landmarks in Haleiwa Town. It is popular for river jumping as well as Anahulu Stream being a favorite spot for stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
Cool off and get yourself a sweet treat at the famous Matsumoto’s Shave Ice Stop. “Shave ice” is a popular Hawaiian treat that adds flavored syrup to a “snow cone” that resembles a packed snowball. This joint has been serving locals and visitors of the North Shore since 1951. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of former president Barak Obama as he is known to frequent Matsumoto’s.
Lokoea Fish Pond
A 400-year old fish pond created by Hawaiians way before the town was known as “Haleiwa”. Today, educational programs and fundraising events are being conducted to help preserve and restore the historic landmark, together with its ties to North Shore’s history and culture.
As the name suggests, its main attraction are the giant green sea turtles who are often seen spending time on the sandy shore, basking in the sun. They won’t mind you snapping cute pictures of them, but keep in mind that they are protected and endangered species, so be careful not to bother them.
We did mention Haleiwa was a surf town but that is an understatement. The North Shore of Oahu is the surfing mecca of not only Hawaii but also generally regarded as one of the most important surf spots on the planet. Every year during the winter months a handful of major surf competitions are held on the North Shore. Waves regularly reach 20-foot faces and at Waimea Bay can reach 60 feet. Haleiwa Town is just minutes away from the famous beaches and surf breaks of the North Shore – Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline, and Sunset Beach.