Beyond the bustle of Honolulu and the umbrella army of Waikiki, Oahu’s North Shore offers a laid-back sun escape. Find a cottage or condo (for rental agencies, search Plan a Trip at gohawaii.com, or visit a travel agent) and then settle in for some quality time building sand castles, jumping waves or just relaxing in the shade. Family-friendly pastimes along the North Shore include swimming at Ke Iki Beach and snorkelling at Shark’s Cove. (The waves are biggest in the winter, but the water tends to become a bit calmer by early February.)
For day trips, follow the kids through the giant botanical maze at the Dole Plantation, learn how to climb coconut trees at the Polynesian Cultural Center, or take hula lessons at Kualoa Ranch. The town of Haleiwa is the social and artistic hub of the North Shore. Here you can find food trucks selling garlic shrimp scampi, restaurants offering plate lunches and opportunities to sample rainbow shave ice. If you’re coming to the home of surfing, why not find your balance on a long board? Operators on the North Shore, such as North Shore Surf Girls, will teach you and the kids how to catch a wave.
Snapshot moment: Snorkelling on Laniakea Beach alongside a green sea turtle.