Stretching for almost 20 miles, the North Shore beaches of O`ahu possess endless opportunities to catch some rays or take a dip in the turquoise waters. The wide sandy beaches make for a delightful stroll. During the winter months (approximately October to February) the North Shore produces monstrous waves reaching heights of 20 feet and higher. This can prove dangerous for even the experienced waterman/woman. Visitors are highly recommended to heed to warning signs on the beach and be cautious around the waterline. However, the summer (from May to September) brings tranquility to the North Shore, with gentle waves lapping the shoreline – making it ideal for fishing, swimming, and diving.
The gentle laps of waves and soft fluffy sand welcome all to Kawela Bay. Situated on the northeastern tip of O`ahu, the bay is protected from large surf, making swimming and fishing two popular activities there. The long stretch of beach makes for a nice stroll or jog, and can provide excellent shell hunting. Turtle Bay is located between the eastern point Kawela Bay and the Turtle Bay Hotel and Resort. Long ago, turtles (honu in Hawaiian) were often seen coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. No longer very abundant, one can still see their heads pop out of the water from time to time. The bay itself offers excellent snorkeling with little current movement. The broad sloping beach invites you to lie down and take a quick nap, all the while browning your skin from the warm Hawaiian sun. This beach is a member of the National Healthy Beaches Campaign (NHBC), certified by the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. It has fulfilled 60 environmental and service-base criteria and files monthly monitoring reports.
Technically, Sunset Beach is a two-mile stretch of sand from `Ehukai Beach to Sunset Point, but has been subdivided by wave breaks resulting in a dozen unique surf spots – Pupukea, Back Doors, Off-the-Wall, Log Cabins, Cloudbreak…all are considered in the Sunset Beach locale. This area of beaches is considered the longest stretch of rideable surf spots in the world. The wide sandy beach at Sunset provides families with a pleasant place to play in the sand and explore the shoreline.
In Hawaiian, `ehukai means, “reddish-tinged water” which refers to the color of the sunlight reflected of the spray from a breaking wave at the spot. The locals dubbed the break there, “Pipeline” because of the massive “tube” that forms from the curling wave. During the winter months, this beach is not for the inexperienced swimmer or surfer, as waves can reach heights of 10 feet and higher while breaking over sharp reef, no more than a few feet from the surface. Banzai Pipeline is one of the many famous surf spots on the North Shore and constantly attracts popular surfing events. This beach is a member of the National Healthy Beaches Campaign (NHBC), certified by the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. It has fulfilled 60 environmental and service-base criteria and files monthly monitoring reports.
If you like watching or surfing big waves, this is the place to be. Waimea Bay is notorious for producing monstrous waves in the winter. Big-wave surfers flock to the break every winter hoping to catch “the big one”. A popular big-wave contest, the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau Invitational, is held at Waimea every year, the only requirement for the contest is that the wave height must be 20 feet or higher for the contest to be held. The shore break at Waimea is one of the most dangerous shore breaks in the world, with lifeguards having to save numerous onlookers that got too close to the water’s edge and ended up getting sucked out. Waimea’s waters calm down and become flat during the summer months, allowing for excellent snorkeling, swimming, and fishing.
At the northwestern most tip of O`ahu lies Ka`ena Point. This dry, barren stretch of land is as far away from civilization as you can find it. For the avid hiker or trailblazer, Ka`ena Point offers an excellent trail that exposes a natural landscape of native plants and other desert flora. One can even see Kauai, on a clear day, in the distance. There are few sandy beaches available for swimming and the tidal currents can be dangerous. Nevertheless, Ka`ena Point is a beautiful specimen of life before human contact.
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