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Oahu’s iconic North Shore is home to a variety of laid-back beach towns, world-class surf breaks, unique local restaurants and boutiques, and exceptional ocean views in almost every direction. Spanning from the most northwestern point of Oahu, Kaena Point State Park—a nature preserve with seals and albatross—to Oahu’s most northern point, encompassing the towns of Kahuku and Laie, the North Shore offers a more relaxed, country vibe compared to other parts of Oahu.
While the North Shore is more tranquil than some other Oahu market areas, it still offers convenient amenities and access to Oahu’s larger cities and Honolulu International Airport. The North Shore has a number of of schools, supermarkets, boutiques and restaurants, as well as farmers markets and community events, such as the Triple Crown of Surfing (three World Surf League competitions at Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline beaches). For those who need to venture to downtown Honolulu, the drive can range from 45 minutes to an hour. The North Shore is cherished by long-time residents, visitors and celebrities alike.
What types of homes can you buy on the North Shore of Oahu? The North Shore has single-family homes—some with their own lawns and beachfront access—along with a couple condominiums in Waialua, Haleiwa and Turtle Bay. There are remodeled and newly built homes, as well as older homes. The North Shore has large mansion-like homes on larger lots fronting the ocean or in the hillside, as well as smaller, older houses closer to neighbors. Buyers might be able to secure land for sale on the North Shore, where they can build their own dream home. Buyers can also purchase agricultural land for farming or ranching. On the North Shore, buyers will find international, local and military families, who may be long-time residents or recent additions to the neighborhood.
There is limited inventory on the North Shore, and the real estate market is usually competitive. When a home is listed for sale, it typically goes under contract quickly. The average single-family home and condo values can be among the highest on Oahu, especially in the neighborhoods of Pupukea and Sunset. However, in neighborhoods like Kahuku and Mokuleia, the average single-family home values are near the overall Oahu average.Haleiwa's Iconic "Rainbow Bridge" above Anahulu Stream:
The following breakdown of the neighborhoods on the North Shore was compiled by Locations agents who live and work in the area.
The neighborhood of Waialua is located between Haleiwa and Mokuleia and has trendy cafes, a thrift shop, a beach park and the Paalaa Kai Bakery with their famous “snow puffy.” Waialua also is home to a public elementary, middle and high school, as well as a community center. Waialua consists of mostly residential areas and has around 3,000 residents. Haleiwa and all its shops are about a five-minute drive away and bike paths connect the two neighborhoods. Most Waialua homes are on level lots ranging from 2,500 to 10,000 square feet, and the homes themselves typically range in size from three to eight bedrooms. Some rooms are constructed to accommodate multi-family housing or renters. Homes in Waialua have been built over a number of decades; some date back to the 1950s, and others were built within the last 10 years. View Waialua homes for sale
Mokuleia is one of the North Shore’s more rural neighborhoods, located on Oahu’s most northwestern shore, with one road in and out: Farrington Highway. The Mokuleia Beach Park is a popular place for surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and swimming. Mokuleia also is home to the Hawaii Polo Club and Dillingham Airfield, where residents and visitors can ride on a glider or skydive. Homes in Mokuleia are often located near the beach and range from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet on lots that are 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. Most of these homes were built in the 1960s and 1970s, with some newer beachfront homes built in the 1990s. On the mountainside of Farrington Highway. there is agricultural land with some farm houses on large lots. View Mokuliea homes for sale
With around 4,000 people, Haleiwa has art galleries, restaurants and lots of surf culture. The plantation-era architecture has been preserved in Haleiwa’s downtown area, with nearly 35 buildings designated as landmarks. Haleiwa is one of the main neighborhoods on the North Shore and is frequently visited by tourists. Plantation- or cottage- style single-family homes are typical for Haleiwa. Most homes are smaller and older, but many have been remodeled in recent years. There are also some large multi-million-dollar homes along the beach, farther away from the town center, and some multi-family housing homes with rental options throughout Haleiwa. View Haleiwa homes for sale
Meaning “white shell,” the Pupukea community encompasses homes from the beach to the hillside. Food trucks, a grocery store and lots of surf breaks make Pupukea a place that long-time Hawaii residents and celebrities alike call home. Pupukea lots are one acre or larger, offering expansive land and privacy for homeowners. Most Pupukea homes were constructed within the past three decades, and many of the homes have multiple bedrooms as well as luxury amenities, such as pools, large lanais and gates. Homes in the Pupukea neighborhood often sell for some of the highest average prices on Oahu. View Pupukea homes for sale
The Sunset neighborhood is home to some of the world's most famous surf breaks, Pipeline and Sunset Beach. It is also home to professional surfers, long-time North Shore residents and new arrivals. Homes in Sunset typically have larger lots, and many are large and modern, although some older, smaller homes built in the 1950s still stand. Residents of Sunset enjoy epic surf and a rural Hawaii landscape. View Sunset Beach homes for sale
Do you want to live at a resort and feel like you’re always on vacation? Opened in the 1970s, Kuilima offers a resort lifestyle on the North Shore of Oahu. Located at Turtle Bay, Kuilima Estates condominiums range from studios to three-bedroom units. Residents enjoy access to five swimming pools, two tennis courts and pavilions for parties. Some Kuilima owners choose to rent their units to vacationers, as short-term rentals are allowed in most of the condominiums. The Ocean Villas at Turtle Bay were built in 2005, offering more condo-living options closer to the main Turtle Bay hotel. Most of these condominiums are three or four bedrooms with a handful of studios and one-bedroom units. All of the Ocean Villas have an ocean view from the lanai, making life feel like a 24/7 Hawaiian vacation. View Kuulima homes for sale
Home to the region's intermediate and high schools, Kahuku is known for football, as well as a hospital and many food trucks. Originally developed as sugarcane plantation town, remnants from the era, including industrial grinds at the former milling area and plantation-style homes, can still be found in Kahuku. These original Kahuku homes are single story, typically with three bedrooms. More homes were built in Kahuku starting in the 1980s, offering a second story on lots ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 square feet. There is also a more recent residential development in Kahuku, offering additional housing options near the intermediate and high schools. Agricultural land is available in Kahuku, and farmers here grow fresh produce for residents across Oahu. Kahuku homes sometimes sell for below the Oahu overall median home price. View Kuhuku homes for sale
Laie is home to Brigham Young University – Hawaii, as well as the Polynesian Cultural Center. Residents of Laie enjoy a shopping center with convenient access to groceries, restaurants, doctors and a hardware store. Much of Laie has newly remodeled single-family homes. Some are located on the water, such as those on Laie Point, although most are located along side streets on the mountainside of Kamehameha Highway. There is a variety of homes available, ranging from two to seven or more bedrooms, on lots from 5,000 to 12,000 square feet or larger. Most Laie homes were built in the 1970s and many have been remodeled since that time. Laie residents enjoy the country North Shore lifestyle as well as proximity to the beach. View Laie homes for sale
The North Shore of Oahu includes Kaena Point in the west, near the town of Mokuleia, to Kahuku Point at the northernmost tip of the island. However, many locals would also consider the neighborhood of Laie as a part of the North Shore area as well.
The North Shore is not near Oahu’s main freeways; however, two highways (99 and 803) connect North Shore residents to the H-2 and H-1, while another highway,Kamehameha Highway or 83, connects to the H-3. The North Shore is about 45 minutes to one hour from downtown Honolulu via two highways that go through the middle of Oahu, or via Kamehameha Highway – “the long way” – the goes along the shoreline. If there is an accident or construction along Kamehameha Highway, it’s possible to become stuck in traffic for some time. While there are often at least two routes to and from the North Shore, limited roadways can cause delays at times.
Living on the North Shore is an option for military families, as it’s located close to some of Oahu’s military bases. The North Shore is 10 miles (about 20 minutes) to Schofield Barracks, 12 miles (25 minutes) to Wheeler Army Airfield, 25 miles (40 minutes) to Joint Base Pearl-Harbor Hickam and 40 miles (55 minutes) to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe.
The North Shore has a number of community events, including farmers markets and surf competitions. It also has tourist attractions, such as the Dole Plantation and the Haleiwa art galleries.
The North Shore has some shopping centers to fulfill residents’ main needs, including groceries, hardware, gas stations, restaurants, and other necessities to limit a trip to “town” or Honolulu. North Shore shopping centers include:
The North Shore has a variety of parks, some with skate ramps and others adjacent to world-famous surf breaks.
The North Shore has some of the world's most famous surf spots with waves reaching heights of 30 feet or more during the winter months. It's a good idea to have some surfing experience before trying out the North Shore breaks.
The North Shore’s history includes the Native Hawaiians who once inhabited these rich lands, as well as plantation villages created to grow sugarcane and pineapple.
Along the coast of the North Shore, current neighborhoods were once sparsely populated villages with fish ponds and heiau, traditional Hawaiian temples. When the land was divided between 1846 and 1848, during the Great Mahele, it was cut up into parcels that went from the mountains to the sea. These parcels are called ahupua‘a. Kaena, Mokuleia, Waimea, Laie, Kaipapau, Malaekahana and Kahuku were all different ancient Hawaiian land divisions that make up the present-day North Shore, along with many others.
Drive through Haleiwa today, and you will notice the old plantation-style homes near the Waialua Sugar Company. The sugarcane mill can still be seen in Waialua, although it is now home to some legendary surfboard shapers. Further along the North Shore, in the neighborhood of Kahuku, more plantation-era homes, dating from around the 1920s, can be found, along with relics from the sugar mill (now on display to visitors of Kahuku food trucks).
In 1898, Benjamin Dillingham established Haleiwa Hotel and constructed a railroad to connect his hotel to Honolulu. From this time on, Haleiwa has been a popular vacation destination. As big-wave surfing became more popular in the 1960s, and international surf contests began, the North Shore steadily became an international tourist destination.
Enjoying the North Shore’s picturesque scenery is easy to do on a number of hiking trails.
There are a variety of public schools across the North Shore, offering a range of educational programs. The North Shore also has a K-12 private school option.
66-505 Haleiwa Road
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712
“Haleiwa Elementary’s dedicated staff, parents and community organizations work cooperatively to address the needs of all children. Faculty and staff also work collaboratively with complex schools, sharing resources, problem-solving common issues, addressing complex-wide curricula and maintaining student/family support services,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
67-020 Waialua Beach Road
Waialua, Hawaii 96791
“Waialua Elementary seeks excellence in fulfilling its mission of giving all students the academic skills and personal guidance they need to reach their potential and goals. In the morning students are involved in an integrated language arts, science and social studies curriculum, as well as a math curriculum. Every afternoon students attend academies of their choice where they apply classroom skills and knowledge to project-based learning activities replicating the real world of work. An afterschool Tech Club and the Library Club provide students community service opportunities,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
67-160 Farrington Highway
Waialua, Hawaii 96791
“Waialua High and Intermediate utilizes a monthly benchmark assessment and data to inform curriculum and instructional practices. The school uses a framework for teaching that targets skills/knowledge, thinking, application, and relationships. Advancement Via Individual Determination promotes a college-going culture, with strategies such as Cornell notes, inquiry, writing, organization and collaboration implemented schoolwide. Science, technology, engineering and math is supported through the College Board curriculum, a LEGO wheel for all grade 7 students, a VEX elective in the middle school, and a robotics elective in high school. Educational partnerships enable Waialua High and Intermediate, a small rural school, to offer additional learning opportunities,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
54-046 Kamehameha Highway
Hauula, Hawaii 96717
“Hau'ula Elementary is one of two elementary schools in the Windward District to also offer students an alternative educational experience via a Hawaiian Language Immersion Program. The school supports the transition of incoming kindergarten students with a number of programs, including a Keiki Steps to Kindergarten in the summer, special education preschool, Hawaiian immersion preschool and a Headstart preschool program for eligible students. In addition, Hau'ula Elementary partners with Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s Literacy Instruction and Support Division. Students at Hau'ula Elementary participate in district competitions that include the Science Fair, History Day, and Windward District Physical Fitness Meet. Students are also showcased in an annual May Day program as well as a talent show called Hau'ula Idol,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
51-296 Kamehameha Highway
Kaaawa, Hawaii 96730
“Ka'a'awa Elementary School (KES) was established in 1904 on 3.7 acres donated by Julie Judd Swanzy (Kualoa Ranch) and is located on the windward coast of Oahu in the rural town of Ka'a'awa. KES is one of the smallest schools in the state with only 126 students with only one class for each grade level. KES serves Kindergarten through sixth grade families from Kualoa to Punalu'u. KES is a member of the Kahuku Complex and our students, upon promotion to seventh grade, attend Kahuku High and Intermediate School. KES has after-school programs thanks to the 21st Century Grant and works with community partners such as Kualoa Ranch and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hawaii. KES also has an active School Community Council (SCC) and Parent/Teacher Ohana (PTO),” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
56-170 Pualalea Street
Kahuku, Hawaii 96731
“Kahuku Elementary students benefit from a small student-to-teacher ratio in both reading and math classes. Comprehensive supports are offered to students in an effort to provide the best possible learning environment. The school created mini-computer labs in each classroom in grades 2-6 and utilizes technology to access online tutorials and academic supports. Kahuku Elementary receives strong support from an active Parent Teacher Association and School Community Council and has established a generous military partnership that provides financial assistance, supports supplement programs and helps maintain facilities. Grades 4-6 participate in the State History Day Competition and Science Fair. Upper elementary students learn organizational skills and independent learning skills through the Advancement Via Individual Determination program. The school has also sponsored teams to the State Robotics Competition,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
56-490 Kamehameha Highway
Kahuku, Hawaii 96731
“Kahuku High and Intermediate recognizes each individual has inherent worth and the talent to become a dedicated, lifelong learner. Students engage in a relevant, common core standards-based challenging curriculum. Graduates will be empowered with the academic, career, citizenship and social skills necessary to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and to become successful, contributing members of the community. Outstanding academic, Career and Technical education, athletic programs, Health Learning Center, and the Music Learning Center bring state and national recognition to the school annually,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
55-109 Kulanui Street
Laie, Hawaii 96762
“Laie Elementary utilizes a research-based comprehensive reading approach designed to have students read at or above grade level. The school implements the Every Day Math program across all grades — multiple mathematical algorithms are explored, and manipulatives are used in teaching math standards. Students participate and have performed well in district, state, and national academic and physical competitions such as Science Fair, History Day, Math Bowl, Math Counts, Solar Sprint Car Exhibition, and the Windward District Physical Fitness Meet. Laie Elementary has remarkable community and parental support. The School Community Council reviews the academic and financial plan to improve student achievement. The council is updated monthly on school progress,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
59-360 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712
“Sunset Beach Elementary's standards-based academic program is enriched through differentiated classroom instruction. The school infuses art and technology into instructional practices and student work. Students have web-based extended learning programs to access at school and home. The enrichment program for selected students in grades 4-6 focuses on math and science. An active Parent Teacher Community Association, School Community Council, and excellent community partnerships provide volunteer assistance and financial support to the school,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.
In addition to the public-school offerings, the North Shore has a K-12 private school:
54-230 Kamehameha Highway
Hauula, HI 96717
Waimea Valley on Oahu's North Shore:
The North Shore has health centers nearby for health emergencies and routine care, including a hospital with an emergency room.
Kahuku Medical Center
56-117 Pualalea Street
Open 24 hours
Kaiser Permanente Kahuku Clinic
56-565 Kamehameha Highway
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
Haleiwa Family Health Center
66-125 Kamehameha Highway
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday
Ko‘olauloa Community Health & Wellness Center
54-316 Kamehameha Highway
8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
It's really nice! Located on the northwestern side of Oahu, the North Shore is more temperate than other areas of Oahu, such as Ewa or Hawaii Kai, due to its proximity to mountains and trade winds. Temperatures range from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, with the coldest days of the year between January and March. The average low is around 67 and the average high is around 79 degrees Fahrenheit.
It rains on the North Shore typically from November to March, and the rainy season usually peaks in January. During summer, the North Shore still receives some rain, but there is less than a 10 percent chance of rain on any given day in the summer months, offering ample time for outdoor activities.
The North Shore is cloudy about half the days out of the year. The windiest days of the year peak in July, with average hourly wind speeds hitting around 17 miles per hour. Overall, the North Shore is a fairly sunny place to live, so solar water heaters and solar panels are an option for North Shore homeowners.
Residents can swim at North Shore beaches almost any day of the year, but optimal swimming weather is in the summer, when temperatures average around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Optimal surfing weather is in the winter months, when temperatures average around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. With ocean breezes and temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, the North Shore has warm, temperate weather that makes it a great place to enjoy the outdoors and the ocean.
Locations real estate agents are experts in the North Shore real estate market. Many Locations agents have years of experience living and working on the North Shore of Oahu. Contact an agent today to learn more about North Shore real estate and to find the right home to fit your needs.
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