Hang out with sharks
North Shore Shark Adventures
• 35 Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor
• adult = $96, kid = $60
• non-divers: $50
• round-trip pickup: $55/person
• first shark dive at 6AM
• bring dramamine for seasickness
• book online or call
North Shore Shark Adventures sails out in the morning, throws you in a cage, and sharks swim around you because they think you look like a really big tuna. Sounds like fun, right? Earlier trips are best because you’ll see more sharks.
Or even better… go skydiving
• 68-760 Farrington Highway (Waialua)
• 8:30am – 3pm
• online special = $150
• military/student = $125
• tandem = $225
• group discounts available
• Waikiki shuttle available
If hanging out with sharks is too boring for you, you can try jumping out of a plane. If you take a left turn instead of a right turn back at the end of Kamehameha Highway, you’ll eventually see an entrance to Skydive Hawaii. You won’t ever catch me sky-diving, but for those seeking an adrenaline rush, this is a great idea.
Snorkel at Shark’s Cove
You can snorkel at a lot of places in Hawaii, as long as the water is clear, the fish are plentiful, and the currents/swells/waves are tame (surf season is October to April). Shark’s Cove is a nice little spot for snorkelers on the North Shore, up the road from Waimea Bay. It’s a great snorkel spot because of the rocks that shield the area from waves. Unlike the popular Hanauma Bay, this area is not managed – no lifeguard, no equipment rentals, and no entrance fee.
You can do a quick snorkel in the tidepools or go out deeper. Some people even go scuba diving into the lava tubes. Be careful with your footing because the entrance into the water is covered in jagged rocks.
Parking is limited, bathrooms are available, and a store is located across the street. If you need to take photos underwater, you can find a disposable one at any drug store or you can plan ahead and buy a GoPro underwater camera.
Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
• 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy (Haleiwa)
• 10:30am – 5:30pm
• 56-505 Kamehameha Hwy (Kahuku)
• 10:30am – 6:30pm
• shrimp plate = ~$13
• drinks = $1.50
There are many food trucks parked on the side of road along the North Shore. A lot of shrimp are farmed in this area, so you’ll find many shrimp trucks as well. The most popular is Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. These food vendors also provide benches for you to sit and eat. There’s guaranteed to be a bunch of other people there as well.
If you want to sit down in a restaurant, go back on Kamehameha Highway (stay on it and don’t go on Joseph Leong Highway) and you’ll see a large variety of places on your left and right. If you’re at Waimea Bay, instead of going back to Haleiwa, you can take a look at Shark’s Cove Grill, which is just a little north of Waimea Bay on Kamehameha Highway.
Alternate Route Back
If you drove to the North Shore, you might want to take the alternate route back into Honolulu. The alternate goes along the north/northeast sides of the island and then through the east side back into town. There are 2 reasons you may want to take this route:
- You will be driving right next to the ocean!
- You can avoid the inevitable and horrible traffic jam on the H-1 freeway heading back into Honolulu (I’ve hit traffic there as early as 1pm).
A Local's Advice
Be careful of H-1 traffic. Avoid driving on the H-1 Freeway during your vacation, especially headed west from 3pm to 6pm. Honolulu was named the worst U.S. city for traffic (source). Traffic is so bad that a rail system is being built (read more).
To take the alternate route, you simply drive on Kamehameha Highway eastbound (for a long time) and you will end up driving through Kaneohe. Take the entrance for “Likelike Highway” on your right. Jump on and you will drive up a hill and through a tunnel. Shortly after you get off the Likelike Highway (you’ll pass Kamehameha Shopping Center on the left), you will see a curve left to merge onto the H-1 eastbound. Get on and you will see a “King Street” exit on the right several miles ahead. Take it and start moving into the right side of the this big 5-lane street. After you past your first light (you will be under the freeway), take a right onto Kapahulu Ave, drive straight, and take a right at Ala Wai Boulevard to get back into Waikiki.