If there is such a thing as a perfect wave, you'll likely find it on Oahu's North Shore. The big, glassy winter waves of this legendary surf mecca attract the best surfers in the world, while summer waves are far smaller and more gentle – all of which makes the North Shore the perfect surf spot for beginners and veterans alike.
Stretching for more than 7 miles, the beaches of the North Shore host the world's premier surfing competitions during the peak, winter months, including the Super Bowl of wave riding, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (November - December). Stroll in the thick sands of Waimea Bay, Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach — just leave the surfing to the pros.
The months between November and February are the best times to watch big wave surfing. These massive waves can sometimes swell up to thirty feet or more and can even be dangerous for experienced surfers so please heed warning signs. From May to September, the waves subside, creating a more tranquil atmosphere for surfing, swimming and sunbathing.
Roughly a one hour drive from Waikiki, the North Shore is also home to various condo rentals, the luxurious Turtle Bay Resort and Haleiwa Town, where you can shop, eat like a local and cool off with rainbow flavored shave ice, the perfect way to end your day on the North Shore.
Come and take a casual stroll through our World Class Botanical Gardens and past Historical Sites to our Waterfall. Waimea Valley offers you the opportunity to experience the Hawaiian Culture by the daily Cultural Activities presented by our Staff. Learning Hawaiian games and crafts, listening to music and storytelling by our treasured kupuna. Waimea Valley is a lush 1,875 acre privately owned property and a non-profit organization. Open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
Waimea Bay Beach
Located on the legendary North Shore, Waimea Bay was an influential surf spot during the dawn of big wave surfing in the 1950’s. Adventurous surfers began to challenge the powerful winter waves of Waimea (as well as Makaha Beach on the west side) giving birth to the big wave-riding phenomenon.
Big wave season hits Hawaii from November through February attracting the best men and women surfers in the world. Waimea Bay, along with other famous spots including Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline), Sunset Beach and Haleiwa Beach host world-renowned surf competitions. The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, known as the Super Bowl of Surfing, happens every year between November and December on Oahu.
Waimea Bay is also home to the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf competition. Honoring legendary Hawaiian waterman Eddie Aikau, this special contest only happens during massive swells when “The Bay calls the day.” The sport’s elite surfers are called between December and February to surf Waimea when the waves are at a minimum of 20-feet high (30-foot face heights). In the last 24 years, the call for this epic competition has only been made eight times.
Beyond the surf, Waimea Bay is a beautiful North Shore Beach with wide stretches of sand to sunbathe and picnic. During the summer, the waves of Waimea actually subside making the waters suitable for swimming. A rock outcropping in the bay is a popular spot for locals to climb and jump off of, but this can be dangerous and is not advised. Also please heed all postings and lifeguard warnings. Leave the dangerous big waves of Waimea to the pros.
Nearby you can also explore Waimea Valley, a botanical garden and cultural attraction that is home to beautiful Waimea Falls. And after the beach, a trip to Haleiwa for a cool shave ice will hit the spot. There is a parking lot at Waimea Bay, but parking is limited since this is one of the more popular beaches on the North Shore.
Your first stop along the North Shore will be charming Haleiwa, about a one-hour drive from Waikiki. More than the laid back surf town it seems, Haleiwa is filled with local style and country ambiance as well as cool surf shops and boutiques, understated restaurants and charming art galleries.
Rich with island history, Haleiwa is now the social and artistic hub of the North Shore. Here you’ll find surfers fueling up at the restaurants in its plantation era buildings before hitting the famous beaches of Waimea Bay, Ehukai (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach. You’ll also find locals and visitors shopping, eating and winding down after a day in the sun. Haleiwa is a far cry from the excitement of Waikiki, and that’s exactly how the people of the North Shore like it.
Matsumoto Shave Ice
"Probably one of the most famous stores in Haleiwa. Visitors from around the world will stand in line for one little shave ice. It really is good stuff."
Shave ice is a local treat like a snow cone, except the ice is much more finely shaved. Colorful syrups are poured on top while ice cream, mochi or azuki beans are placed on the bottom. Aoki’s Shave Ice is another popular alternative in Haleiwa.
Born in Hawaii, Mamoru Matsumoto’s family returned to Hiroshima-ken when he was a toddler, and they struggled to survive. He worked as an apprentice at a sake factory and other odd jobs, but the income was insufficient.
He and his older brother boarded a ship to Hawaii to find jobs to supplement the family’s income. His brother later became ill and returned to Japan, while Mamoru continued to labor on the sugar plantation, the railroad, and eventually became a salesman for the Sakai Store (currently occupied by Pioneer Ace Hardware Haleiwa). In order to expand his knowledge, he attended night school to learn English and Math.
Through friends and relatives he met his wife, Helen Momoyo Ogi, and they were married at the Haleiwa Jodo Mission. Mamoru worked long hours while Helen became a seamstress. They dreamed of opening their own business and purchasing a home for his family in Japan and for themselves.
Mr. Kazuo Tanaka gave them the opportunity to open their own grocery store, M. Matsumoto Store Inc. in the previous Tanaka Store at 66-087 Kamehameha Highway, in Haleiwa, Hawaii. At first, Mamoru peddled his wares on a bicycle, until he was able to afford a panel truck. He went from camp to camp, taking orders and delivering the goods, while Helen manned the store and did some sewing.
With the birth of their three children, Glenn, Janice and Stanley, they needed to expand their business. With the perfect location along Oahu’s beautiful North Shore, a decision was made to commence operating a shave ice stand in the midst of the grocery business. The carloads of racing enthusiasts and the waves of surfers and hippies in the ’60s brought people from across the globe to this quaint store to purchase the shave ice, or “snow cone” cascading with their homemade syrup.
As the business grew, their dreams and aspirations were materialized. However, the couple was no longer able to handle the influx of customers. While Glenn and Janice attended the University of Hawaii, Stanley decided to remain home and assist his parents in running the business.
Stanley and his wife, Noriko, successfully converted the groceries to T-shirts, souvenirs, and snacks, and he eventually became the proprietor while his parents semi-retired and later passed away.
Today, on a warm, sunny day, the store produces 1,000 shave ice. Half of the customers are tourists. Many people from around the world have visited the store. Should you have the opportunity to visit the store, you’ll see their pictures on the walls. Jack Johnson and the cast of Hawaii 5-0 are a few you’ll recognize.
Matsumoto Shave Ice has been displayed in various magazines, news articles, and television programs, the most recent being on the most recently seen on Canada’s “Breakfast Television”, Japan’s “MoyaMoya Summers”, and on various shows on the Food Network & Cooking Channel.
Take a drive to Oahu’s North Shore and visit us soon!
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is Hawaii’s #1 visitor attraction, with villages and exhibits representing the island cultures of Hawaii, Fiji, Aotearoa, Samoa, Tahiti, Marquesas, Tonga, and Easter Island.
The award-winning Ali’i Luau takes guests on a journey to learn about Hawaii’s royalty while enjoying traditional Hawaiian food and entertainment.
Set on 42 acres of Oahu’s North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center has a lagoon that hosts canoe tours through the day and an exciting Canoe Pageant at 2:30PM. Enjoy