Best Beaches on Oahu’s North Shore – Where to Surf, Dive, and Relax

The North Shore of Oahu has the most dynamic beach neighborhood in Hawai’i. Its majestic coastline has been named the “seven mile miracle” because there is no other stretch of land like it in the Hawaiian Islands. Its sandy coastline, clean waters, and high performance surfing attracts visitors from all over the world. The community has remained small, whose focuses are on grassroots efforts including the environment and the arts. Here is a list of some North Shore attractions and the beaches to find them.

Diving and Free Diving

Shark’s Cove is located next to the only grocery store in the seven mile miracle. It is named because of the lava rock formation whose sharp edges resemble shark teeth, so bring your slippers when you come visit. Because there is no stream or sandy beach nearby, the waters in sharks cove are free from any run-off and are often so clear you can see over 60 feet in some places. This area is also protected from fishing, making it a perfect location to see some of Hawaii’s beautiful marine life, including the Humuhumu nukunuku apua’a (try saying that 10 times fast). Hawaii Eco Divers offers snorkel and scuba diving tours of Shark’s Cove. They have many options for half day, full day, boat trip, group, and private dives. Hawaii Eco Divers also offers apnea and free diving training for those interested in taking their diving to the next level.

Free Diver exploring Sharks Cove. Photo: Christa Funk

Scuba Divers find turtles at Sharks Cove. Photo: Hawaii Eco Divers

Scuba Divers exploring Sharks Cove. Photo: Hawaii Eco Divers

Learning to Surf

The surf season on the North Shore is seasonal. During the winter months, the waves can reach up to 20-30 feet. Experienced and professional surfers come from all over the world to surf Oahu’s North Shore. However, there are a few beaches and surf schools available to help you find the perfect wave. Their local knowledge will ensure a safe and fun experience for the beginner to intermediate surfer. Pua’ena Point is located in Hale’iwa and is a protected bay. Check out Buttons Surf School to book an appointment. Chun’s Reef is also an excellent place to learn to surf in certain conditions. Check out North Shore Surf Girls surf school to find out more information. And finally, Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s Northeast corner of the island is a great place to learn to surf with Hans Hiedemen’s Surf School. Afterward, you can enjoy a cocktail at the pool bar to watch the sun go down.

High Performance Surfing

Oahu is well known for its high performance waves. Every year since it’s establishment in 1983, in November and December, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing takes place in three different locations. The first stop is Ali’i Beach Park in Hale’iwa. This beach is close to many restaurants and the boat harbor in the small town of Hale’iwa. Stop number two takes place at Sunset Point. Sunset is known as the location where the sunset can be seen from the beach 365 days of the year. The wave is a large, barreling, right-hand point break. Bring binoculars to get the best view of this wave. The final stop takes place at Pipeline. This beautiful sandy beach is across the street from Sunset Elementary School where so many surfers have grown up, including one of the world’s top current surfers, John John Florence. This competition offers excitement and a great view. The wave breaks close to shore in very shallow water. Because of this you can cheer for the surfers as if you were standing on the sideline of a soccer or football game. It is an exciting sight to see, barreling left and right. The right is known as back-door.

Surfer at Pipeline. Photo: Christa Funk


The North Shore’s beaches, in my opinion, have the best sand in the world. You can walk barefoot through it, lie down in it, and build great sand castles. At the end of your beach day, you can simply brush off the large grains of sand and walk away without a grain on your body. Ke Iki beach is one of my favorite places to relax. Its beach is very wide and flat with generally calm waters to swim in and enjoy (mainly during the summer months). Waimea Bay is also a large and beautiful beach. There are lifeguards on duty at this beach so you can feel safe swimming with your family. There are also rock structures available for climbing and bouldering, and a large jump rock for the brave ones.

Sunset behind lava rock formation near Sharks Cove. Photo: Christa Funk

Dog watching the sunset on the North Shore – Hawaii

If you love the beach and the ocean, the North Shore of Oahu is a must-see for you. Owning a home in the small piece of paradise is a luxury that has almost no price tag. If you have any questions about the Real Estate on the North Shore I am happy to help answer them. I look forward to your visit.

If you like any of the photos by Christa Funk, you can book her for a photo shoot or purchase a print from her website.

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Rosalee Choi

August 30, 2018

I took my daughter and her 3 children to Shark’s cove. It was a huge dissapointment rhat we could not find any parking space. We tried many beaches close by and ut was the same story. We finally gave up and went to wakiki.

Leane Horton

August 31, 2018

> Rosalee I’m so sorry to hear that. I know that Sharks Cove can get busy in summer and on the weekends. Hawaii Eco Divers is a great option if you’d like to try again. They facilitate everything you need for a wonderful experience. Or you can always call me! I live just down the road!

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