Pipeline, Sunset, Waimea… You don’t have to be a surfer to have heard of the North Shore; the epic breaks here are known worldwide. Sure, winter brings giant swells that can reach 15ft to 40ft in height, but there is more to this coast than monster waves. The beaches are gorgeous year-round and perfect for swimming in summer. And there are so many activities besides surfing. Try stand up paddling (SUP) or kayaking, take a snorkeling or whale-watching tour, go hiking or horseback riding – jump out of an airplane, even.
The laid-back communities here are committed to keeping life low-key and rural – and if that's what you're after, do some exploring among the pineapple and coffee plantations of Central Oʻahu. Slow down. Spend the day cruising and don't forget to stop at Green World Coffee Farm for a local brew or at Ted's Bakery for chocolate-haupia (coconut pudding) pie.