Trip for Spring 2 North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Picture of a surfer in the Pipeline of North Shore, Oahu

“Up country” Oahu is the North Shore where the vibe is low-key local and the monster winter waves draw the world’s top surfers to the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. When the surf is up, competition is on and free to watch. On flat water days, hang out in Haleiwa, the North Shore’s little “big” town, or visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. Tours of the center’s recreated Polynesian villages include traditional hands-on activities like coconut tree climbing, canoe racing, and spear throwing.

How to Get Around: Depending on the route you take, the North Shore is a 60- to 90-minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport. For the most dramatic ocean and mountain views, take the Pali Highway through the Ko'olau Mountain range to connect to the Kamehameha Highway. The two-lane Kamehameha begins near Kailua on Oahu’s windward (east) coast and is the only shoreline route north to Haleiwa.

Where to Stay: The 840-acre Turtle Bay Resort, the North Shore’s only oceanfront resort, is set to complete a multimillion-dollar luxury renovation of all 397 guest rooms by early November. Amenities include two championship golf courses, two landscaped pool areas, horseback riding, and, during the Vans Triple Crown, special surf-centric events like the Surf & Yoga Realization Camp, December 9-12, hosted by legendary Pipeline surfer Gerry Lopez.

What to Eat or Drink: Pull off Kamehameha Highway in Kahuku to eat hot and spicy North Shore shrimp cooked fresh in roadside shrimp trucks like Romy’s, Giovanni’s, and Famous Kahuku. Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa Town is legendary for its shaved ice flavored with homemade syrups. Go local by adding ice cream and sweet and chewy adzuki beans.

What to Buy: Tucked among the macadamia and banyan trees on Kamehameha Highway, family-owned Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm Outlet sells seasoned, roasted, or glazed nuts in flavors ranging from Kona coffee to Maui onion and garlic. There’s also coffee, tea, sea salt, and a lot of chickens running around the parking lot. At the Polynesian Cultural Center’s new Polynesian Market Place, no admission tickets are required to visit the Kaha’iki Gallery and shop for artisanal gifts like hand-painted Tongan bark tapas or cloths, mahogany ukuleles, and Hawaiian quilts.

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