Story by Jodi Wilmott
Check out our guide to a perfect North Shore day as we take you inside Ka’ena Point and Waialua. Your perfect day awaits.
Activities: Hiking. Whale and turtle watching. Snorkeling and diving. Skydiving and glider rides. Wind- and kite-surfing. Horse riding and polo. Fishing. Shell gathering. Wave watching. Farmer’s and local markets. Reading and relaxing. Art.
Recommended: Plenty of drinking water. Food/snacks. Hiking shoes. Sun protection.
Cautions: No lifeguards patrol these beaches and the area is known for strong rip currents and undertows, especially during the big wave months of September through April. Please respect local resident neighborhoods, driveways and parking.
Heading west from Haleiwa, the road runs parallel to the Waianae mountain range, connecting the agricultural township of Waialua to the island’s western-most tip of Ka’ena Point. This is the perfect place for your mind and body to unwind, for your spirit to soar, and to connect with a truly local community.
There are literally miles of open, sandy beach on this stretch and you won’t need your reef walkers unless you plan to explore the rocky parts of the shoreline and tide pools, where the heavily weathered exposed reef can be brutally sharp.
For those who enjoy hiking there is the option of walking the hot but gorgeous Ka’ena Point Trail from the end of the road, or a switchback mountain workout for spectacular aerial views from the Kealia trail. Look for coastal tide pools to cool off in after hiking. Ka’ena State Park is also home to a number of protected plant and bird species, with excellent whale watching from November through April, and plenty of turtle watching for patient observers.
If you’re just looking for a peaceful place to pull out your holiday reading and chill, then head straight for the beach. A great spot with a sandy swimming hole that is relatively protected from ocean waves can be found opposite the glider flight zone of Dillingham Airfield. Again, use caution as these beaches are not patrolled.
For the thrill seeker, a glider flight or tandem parachute jump might be more your pace. You will find a number of options to choose from at Dillingham Airfield. Or if you’d rather live vicariously, watch kite surfers harness the wind and waves at Mokuleia beach park while you explore the shoreline and tide pools. While there are no permanent public restrooms on this stretch, you will find serviced porta-potties and fresh beach showers here.
Sunday is polo day at the oceanfront Polo Fields of Mokuleia. Many locals will pack gather family and friends and tailgate during the summer while watching a friendly horse polo match or two.
When you feel lunch or civilization calling, there are a variety of options in Waialua in and around the Sugar Mill. While sugar is no longer farmed on the North Shore, the old Waialua mill is today a revamped hub of industry and local produce, ranging from clothing and surfboard factories, to the soap factory, farmer’s markets and lunch wagons.
The Saturday morning Famer’s Market is a big hit at the Mill, but there are a number of fresh produce stands selling wonderful locally grown items every day of the week throughout this farming community. Lunch wagons, pizza, and small goods are also available in and around Waialua. –Jodi Wilmott