Haleiwa is a sleepy little town nestled comfortably along Oahu’s North Shore. It was first established in 1832 by missionaries, Reverend and Mrs. John Emerson. In 1899, Before Waikiki even had it’s first hotel, Businessman Benjamin J. Dillingham opened a hotel, which at the time was the finest hotel on the island.

This hotel was located on a strip of land between the Anahulu river and the Pacific Ocean. He named this grand Victorian hotel “Haleiwa” (house of the iwa). The iwa is a graceful frigate bird which exemplified the ambience he wanted to create for his hotel. Since this hotel was far away from Honolulu and everything else. Dillingham started the Oahu railroad to haul his sugar from the plantations in Wailua to Honolulu. He figured that people would take the train to his hotel. He was right, the hotel and town flourished, even Hawaiian Royalty vacationed in this area in the summertime. Although the hotel is gone, today this old plantation town is a shopper’s dream with stores selling items such as arts, crafts, paintings, clothes and surfing items. In 1984, the town was designated a cultural, historic and scenic town. You will think that you have stepped back in time to a thriving wild west town.

This is also home to The North Shore surf & cultural museum. The museum features antique surfboards, photographs, and videos that tell about the history of surfing. Also located here is the “Strong Current Shop” that specializes in long boards and surfboards designed by North Shore legends, Dick Brewer and Mike Diffendefer. The best part of this town(according to Kamai’na) is Matsumoto’s shave ice. (Be prepared to stand in line for up to one hour.) This is the best shave ice by far on the entire island. It is shave ice with a scoop of ice-cream and adzuki beans. Don’t miss Matsumotos when you are in town.


From Waikiki take h-1 westbound to h-2 north. Get off exit 5 (Wahiawa) and drive through Wahiawa and continue straight on Kamehameha Hwy. When you see the sign for Haleiwa, turn left.

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