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

2. Visit Laniakea (or Turtle) Beach

Honu at Laniakea Beach. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Take advantage of the early morning hours—read: smaller crowds—and head to Laniakea Beach, affectionately known as Turtle Beach. Here, Hawaiian green sea turtles, also known by the Hawaiian name honu, play in the nearshore waters and bask on the sandy beach. Since they’re a threatened species and protected under the Endangered Species Act and Hawaii state law, you’re not allowed to touch, feed or play with the honu. But you can observe, swim with and photograph the dozens of turtles that have been sunning here regularly since 1999. Malama na Honu ("Protect the Turtles") is a non-profit that protects the North Shore turtles. For more info on its efforts, visit Malama na Honu's website.

(Kamehameha Highway, just outside of Haleiwa)

3. Learn how to SUP

Stand-up paddle boarding on the North Shore. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

Stand-up paddle surf, that is. If the surf’s way up on the North Shore, but you still want to get in the water—hey, you’ve earned it after the drive out to Haleiwa—consider learning how to stand-up paddle surf. It’s a throwback to the beachboys of old time Waikiki, who used to paddle standing up on oversize longboards. These days, it’s a bona fide sport, with enthusiasts around the world picking up paddles and venturing down streams and across lakes. SUP is easy to learn, especially when you take a lesson from Surf  N Sea in Haleiwa. An hour-long lesson ($55) gives you the basics of stand-up paddle surfing, from proper stance to effective technique—all in a calm section of the bay directly behind the shop. Not only is it a safe and fun way to get out in the ocean, you’ll be burning off those banana pancakes.

(62-595 Kamehameha Highway, 800-899-SURF, www.surfnsea.com)

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