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Oahu’s North Shore in one day: 5 things you need to do

North Shore surf. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

There’s no better time to venture to Oahu’s North Shore than in the winter months.

Sure, there’s more traffic along Kamehameha Highway, as drivers gawk at the enormous waves that pound the shoreline. And sure, the neighborhood cafes and hole-in-the-wall lunch spots are packed with visitors who have fled colder climes for Hawaii’s perfect weather.

But it’s the North Shore. It’s winter. It’s 80 degrees out. We get it.

I tell anyone who’s visiting the North Shore—especially for the first time—to get there early. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Waikiki to the North Shore’s famed surf town Haleiwa, more if you plan on stopping along the way.

And why not get there early? It’s not like you can’t fill an entire day on the North Shore.

Here’s what I would do if I had a full 12 hours out in the country:

1. Eat breakfast at Café Haleiwa

Banana pancakes at Cafe Haleiwa. Photo: Catherine E. Toth

North Shore musician Jack Johnson wasn’t singing about the banana pancakes at Café Haleiwa in his fan favorite song. But had he tried these, he might’ve ditched his homemade ones. The pancakes at this little funky café are light and fluffy and can be topped with blueberries or, well, more bananas. Breakfast is served Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and all day on Sunday. Oh, and the omelets and coffee are great, too.

(66-460 Kamehameha Highway, 808-637-5516)

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