Haleiwa, located in the heart of Hawaii's North Shore, is famous for its laid back surfer vibe. The small town is a popular chill spot not only for tourists but locals as well. Haleiwa boasts history, shave ice, big surf and surfers, shops, cafes, and a unique artistic quality.
The name, taken from the first hotel that opened along the north shore of Hawaii, means house of "iwa," or frigatebird. The hotel no longer remains, but the name stuck, along with the old plantation town feel; in fact, new buildings are required to replicate older structures to maintain the character of the town. Haleiwa is also the location where the only aircraft took off on December 7, 1941 during the attack of Pearl Harbor, although the airfield is now abandoned.
Haleiwa possesses a vibrant history with a distinctive blend of people and features that has made this a a one-of-a-kind town. Small shops, murals, and food trucks litter the sides of the main road running through the town. A must stop is the well-known Matsumotos shave ice, popular for snow cones, or as Hawaiians call it "shave ice."
Of course, it would be impossible to mention the North Shore without thinking of surfing. Hawaii's North Shore is known for having some of the biggest, baddest, and best waves in the world. So, what better place to learn about surfing than the North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum? The museum is also located in Haleiwa. Haleiwa's diverse and mellow character makes this town an important part of the island of Oahu and the numerous shops, galleries, and eateries make it a must stop while exploring the North Shore.