Oahu Travel Series: Northshore Bliss (and Why You Should Rent a Car While on Oahu)

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Let’s continue my Oahu Travel series, shall we? We covered Waikiki and my stay at The Royal Hawaiian, now we’ll work backwards, as my trip truly started on the Northshore of Oahu. That’s right, after my son Gabriel and I landed on Oahu, we got our rental car and went to beautiful Northshore, where my heart soars!

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Most tourists tend to stay in Waikiki and miss out on the beauty of the rest of the island of Oahu. This simply should not be the case! While I love Waikiki, Oahu offers such a vast array of beauty that renting a car and making your way around the island is worth every minute of listening to Siiri try to prounouce the Hawaiian street names (bless).

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Perfection. This palm tree and blue sky are Hawaiian perfection. This was my first time driving on Oahu, as the other times I was on island it was just for a layover at HNL Airport or for a doctor’s appointment, which wasn’t very exciting…just going to an appointment in Downtown Honolulu. Everyone had me scared about driving around the island: “It’s the worst!” “Scariest thing ever!” “Don’t do it!” Thankfully, I ignored those warnings and drove. Even though I’m not a big fan of driving in general, and despite getting caught in 5 o’clock Honolulu traffic, it was breeze to me compared to tackling I-35 in Texas (now THAT’S crazy, y’all!). So, if like me, people have scared you away from renting a car on Oahu to check out the island, in my opinion with a GPS it’s simple to get around, and oh so worth it!

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My friend Sandy C. suggested that I type “Turtle Bay Resort” into the GPS to head Northshore. From there we could stop as we pleased. While we did not stay at the resort, Gabriel and I couldn’t help but check out this cool Surfboard Art piece. So beautiful!

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We had a busy travel morning, so sinking our toes into the sand and hopping into the waves at Turtle Bay were a welcomed treat. I loved the little cabanas for resort users, and while we just had our towels, I thought they were adorable. The waves were just right for little ones at the bay and we had a blast together, just mommy and son. I cannot wait to go back with my husband, too! Ah, just to spend some time basking in the Northshore sun will be a treat!

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After our dip in the sea, we headed to Haleiwa Town for some lunch, a bit of shopping and more exploring. Haleiwa Town is the stuff people’s island dreams are made of: cute local shops, top-notch surfing, beachy vibes, fun art and a food truck court. We ended up grabbing a bite at this Thai Truck, where I snapped a photo of the classic Haleiwa sign attached to the typical hippie van/food truck. Our spring rolls were delicious, although the wild chickens were a bit too friendly, literally begging like puppy dogs for scraps to drop. We had to laugh – in case you aren’t already aware – wild chickens cover the Hawaiian Islands, I’d just never had any beg me for food before. Note: don’t feed the chickens your scraps.

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Gabriel had some birthday money and decided to buy this adorable honu at The Growing Keiki. He still loves it and sleeps with it every night!

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Look who we found! You have to stop for a pic in front of this cool mural in Haleiwa Town.

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And what’s a trip to Northshore without a stop at Pipeline? Oh to visit in winter, when the waves are raging! That’s on my bucket list. While we live just minutes from “Jaws” on Maui, the beauty of Pipeline is that it’s close enough to shore that you don’t even need binoculars to watch the surfers. They are RIGHT THERE! So awesome! I hear that Jack Johnson lives nearby, which brings up another bucket list item for me: attend a Jack Johnson concert.

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Our day trip to Northshore Oahu was a success: we enjoyed the beach, the food and shopping local. My husband and I are returning to Oahu next week to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. I cannot wait to make memories with him there, as he has never been on Oahu. I still have more to share in this series for Oahu Travel: Windward Oahu (east) and Pearl Harbor (Pacific Aviation Musuem).

Livin’ la vida aloha,


7 thoughts on “Oahu Travel Series: Northshore Bliss (and Why You Should Rent a Car While on Oahu)

  1. I agree, no highway is scarier than I-35! I’ve never been so freaked out driving! It’s way worse than anything in LA! And I love the first pic with the surfboard signs. And you. 🙂

  2. Beautiful pics. I have often been told about Hawaii. And I haven’t been tempted until your pics I’ve heard it’s super commercial. That I’d be better to go to the Bahamas or Mexico. What do you think? (We travel with four kids)

    • Aloha! Well, I may be a bit biased as I love the Hawaiian Islands. I’ve visited 3 out of the 4 main islands, and lived on Maui for three years, and Kauai for a month. Big Island is the only major island I haven’t visited, yet. First of all, when people say Hawaii is “commercial” – they’re probably just staying in the more touristy areas and drinking the koolaid, so to speak. But if you know how to get around like a local (checking out library guide books, reading blogs from locals/travel bloggers/etc.) then you can enjoy the islands in a completely non-commercial way. The beauty of these islands is hard to beat, and they’re each so diverse, yet small, you can spend the morning on a mountain watching the sunrise, with evergreen trees surrounding you, then by lunch be enjoying a picnic at one of the best beaches in the world. That’s all basically free. It’s a more simple life, once you get away from the epicenter of tourism. I lived in Mexico while studying abroad in college, and it is gorgeous. But they’re just different. There’s something unique about the islands, the aloha spirit, it’s beautiful. Now, as for traveling with kids: know thyself. If they are good little travelers, then it should be pretty smooth. Just try to jump into the time-change with both feet and factor in rest times while exploring. My youngest is a champ at traveling, so it isn’t an issue. Other kids may not be as easy…so that just depends. I hope this helps you! ❤

    • It’s definitely different here – not many doctors on Maui – so lots of people on the other islands travel to Oahu for medical care. ❤ We're super excited about my mom arriving this week!!! ❤

Happy thoughts anyone? xoxo Island Gypsy

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