north shore

Oahu's Outer Reaches

oahu outer reaches[trip style = beach + sun]

A few weeks ago I jetted to Honolulu with Trip Styler Sis, aka Ms. Fashion Friday. Clearly, two months of summer wasn't enough, so we extended it! Seriously though, we did not take it easy and settle into island time, but rather researched and explored like we were on The Amazing Race, only pausing for sunsets. Our mission was two-fold: hone in on Honolulu and wander outside Waikiki.

For six days we drove leeward and windward to Oahu's outer reaches. Our conclusion: Oahu's outlying areas are overlooked, and while day-tripping is well worth it, it does not do the postcard-perfect landscape justice. Secluded beaches, small towns and a tortoise-slow pace of life abound.

Trip Styler Tip :: Back-to-school is a great time to visit Oahu. Flight fares are low---between $350 and $450 return out of SEA or YVR---and crowds are sparse.

Here's where we'd suggest lingering on Oahu's outer reaches:

North Shore Distance from Waikiki: 30 minutes The North Shore is another world---a world I wish I could teleport into daily. Tropical jungles and pastures kiss the beach. Acai bowl stands line the road. Surfers ride bikes barefoot. Locals masterfully and casually change from beachwear to workwear on the roadside {a skill I want to learn}. Humble abodes sit beside surf mansions. Sudden and quick downpours provide a quick break from the heat.

beach path oahu Trip Styler Tip :: Skip the beach parking lots and park {respectfully} on the roadside. Paths like this are everywhere.

beach + north shore Candid shot while beachcombing on the North Shore.

pipeline on a calm day Banzai Pipeline on a calm day.

ted's north shore Chocolate haupia {coconut} pie at Ted's Bakery, a local staple for 50+ years.

turle bay beach resort beach Turtle Bay Beach, a protected bay where turtles wander as if we humans aren't around.

surf beach beside turtle bay Surf scene beside Turtle Bay Resort, the only major hotel on the North Shore aside from Keiki Beach Bungalows, a small inn oriented around sunset and ocean views.

Kailua Distance from Waikiki: half an hour I first came across Kailua by way of a restaurant. While there, I found modern muumuus, ridiculously good shave ice and a gorgeous beach. Oh, it's also where Obama stays when he spends Christmas in Hawaii.

drive to kailua The drive to Kailua from Honolulu; I literally pulled over to take this photo.

red velvet pancakes at cinnamon's Cinnamon's: an Oahu breakfast institution since the mid-80's. Pl-ease order the red velvet pancakes {and then swim a mile at the beach}.

island snow shave ice Island Snow: Obama's favorite shave ice served in the back of a surf shop. It's my fave too. Do yourself a favor and order one with the $0.50 cream on top {one block from Kailua Beach}.

kailua beach Kailua Beach. Calm waters make it ideal for swimming.

Stay: Paradise Bay Resort, a big B&B perched on Kaneohe Bay offering one- to four-bedroom units.

Ko Olina Distance from Waikiki: one hour Ko Olina is a 642-acre master-planned resort anchored by Disney's Aluani, two mega Marriotts and vacation villas. Beyond the gates, there are beaches, grocery stores and a growing local community.

surfing with hawaiian fire

My friend, an Oahu local, told me I had to surf with firemen. Obviously, yes! Not surprisingly, the off-duty firefighter team at Hawaiian Fire operate the safest surf school on the island. Safety first; they use foam boards and base their lessons outside the island's hustle and bustle on a near-deserted beach in Ko Olina with perfect beginner-height waves. I got up on my third try and caught every consecutive wave thereafter. Next stop: Mavericks! Just kidding. After a safety and dry-land surf lesson, we took to the waves.

surfing with hawaiian fire Surf's up.

breakfast sammie island vintage ko Olina I was famished after my surf lesson, so the Hawaiian Fire staff suggested I fuel up at Island Vintage Coffee, where they have macadamia nut-flavored coffee and giant breakfast sandwiches.

Hawaii Kai Distance from Waikiki: 20 minutes Hawaii Kai is a residential community south-west of Honolulu. Many tourists pass it en route to Hanauma Bay. I'm obsessed with it for three reasons: 1} Lt. Commander Steve McGarrett's house from Hawaii Five-O is there, 2} you can buy natural shave ice, and 3} you can hike up a railroad.

koko head hike hawaii kai Must-do: the Koko Head Crater trail, a black diamond-level vertical climb on an abandoned railway track. I gleaned this travel tip from Hawaii Five-O, my favorite way to armchair travel on Oahu. Note: it’s quite the climb, so wear the right gear and go early to avoid the heat.

uncle clay's pure shave ice Healthiest {and friendliest} shave ice on Oahu: Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha, the perfect accompaniment to a heart-pounding assent. The frosty flavors pictured above were an all-natural concoction of kale-spinach-apple, guava and lilikoi. I'm 99% certain I burned off the treat's calories just lifting my spoon from the cup to my mouth.

Don't Miss 11 Honolulu Hints Spotlight: Oahu's North Shore

[photos by @tripstyler + @heatherlovesit]

Spotlight :: North Shore, Oahu

north shore sunset[trip style = beach + budget conscious]

{This Spotlight is written by Fashion Friday writer and fashion blogger Heather.}

I scored the deal of the year this winter: Vancouver to Honolulu for $200 return. Coupled with hotel deals, it was a cheap getaway and my first trip to Hawaii. But I must confess something. Whenever anyone asked me where I was going, I told them "Oh, just Oahu." I had this idea that it was the lamest and most commercial island. But let me tell you what I learned. It's beautiful and if you get away from Waikiki, you can find a true Hawaiian experience.

Just over an hour up island is the lush and scarcely commercialized North Shore, where the bohemian heart of Oahu beats. North Shore culture is surf culture. It's the breeding and stomping ground of some of the world's best surfers. A place where you can find 30-foot swells and fit in a surf before and after work; where you can mingle with pro surfers, colourful characters and barefoot, wet-haired locals in the grocery store (fresh off their boards); and where dressing up literally means throwing a dress over your swimsuit.

Eat north shore food

Sample roadside delights :: It's worth pulling over for the food stands along Kamehameha Highway. From Haleiwa to Kahuku, you'll find family fruit stands, acai bowl shacks, shrimp trucks, shave ice and haupia pie. It's not fancy, but it's delicious. Must stops: Ted's Bakery at Sunset Beach for bbq chicken plate lunch and chocolate haupia or banana cream pie, Matsumoto for guava, pineapple and lilikoi shave ice, Fumi's for garlic or coconut shrimp plate and Cholo's for Mexican.

Do sea turtles

Visit Hawaiian green sea turtles :: A couple miles north of Haleiwa on Kamehameha Highway, pull over at Laniakea Beach and see the basking turtles who crawl up on shore daily. You'll also meet volunteers from Save the Sea Turtles International, who protect the turtles from ... tourists. Stroll along the beach and try to catch sight of a few more turtles, minus the tour bus passengers.


Watch surfers in action :: The best workout on the island has got to be a walk on the beach, where the quicksand-like pebbles not only make your legs burn, but also give you a killer pedicure. My favourite activity was strolling on the beach, flip flops in hand, stopping along the way to watch throngs of surfers paddling out in the late afternoon. Check out Pipeline, Sunset Beach and the break off Turtle Bay. Visit between late November and early December to catch the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. If you'd prefer to get out there yourself, rent a board in Haleiwa, where you'll also find surf schools and calmer waves.

Stay turtle bay resort

There is one hotel on the North Shore: Turtle Bay Resort. Despite this, you'll still see a hand-painted sign on the side of the highway that reads "No more hotels!" The resort sits on the northern tip of Oahu. You may remember it from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. While the property is beautiful, it looks much nicer in the film thanks to the magical wizards of production design. The hotel has multiple restaurants---including one on the beach, golf courses, stables, pools, and a surf school on site. Stay in the beach bungalows if you can, but if you leave the lanai door open, the soothing sound of crashing waves means any room will do. If you'd prefer to stay in a house, try the basic Ke Iki Beach Bungalows or one of the many homes rented out by owners.

Trip Styler Tip: I booked Turtle Bay on Hotwire for a discounted rate. If you see a four-star beachfront hotel on the North Shore, it's Turtle Bay.

Getting There dole plantation

It only takes an hour to drive from Honolulu to the North Shore, but you'll probably want to stop and ride the Pineapple Express along the way. Not that Pineapple Express ... this is a train at the Dole Plantation. It's a total tourist trap, but worth stopping for a cone of delicious pineapple Dole Whip.

Related Fashion Friday :: Surf Style Modern Honolulu

[all photos taken by @heatherlovesit and @dresseswpockets]

Fashion Friday :: Surfer Style

fashion friday[trip style = beach]

Fashion Friday posts are published on the last Friday of every month by fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

Puka shell necklaces are back, y'all! Just kidding---thank goodness---but surfer style is alive and well and living on Oahu. Last month, I took my first trip to Hawaii, where I rediscovered my high school love for all things surf. Once you get past the Tommy Bahama shirts and the wear-it-30-different-ways sarongs of Waikiki, there's a whole island of beach style to embrace---lest you look like a Haole.

Surfer Style

Now What To Pack? Women (clockwise from top left) Reef creamy leather sandals, Quiksilver lamrocks butler shorts, Quiksilver stavi hat, Spell cambodian tribal bag, Free People big dipper oversized tee, Billabong only good vibes blanket towel, Billabong sunset ryder hat, Free People sunkissed flora racerback tank

Men (clockwise from middle right) Quiksilver railed long sleeve shirt, Quiksilver malone sweatshirt, Reef warrior stripe, Reef suicides chino, Reef kitchi kah mi win shoes

More Fashion Friday Life's a Beach Romantic Caribbean Cabin Fever

[top photos via, collage by @heatherlovesit]