Activity Finds: North Shore & Central Oahu

1) Sunset Beach

A shining star among O‘ahu's North Shore lineup, Sunset Beach is one of the more popular surf spots for experienced boarders during Hawai‘i's big wave winter season and a popular sunning spot during the calmer summer months.

Just off of Kamehameha Highway, Sunset Beach breaks up the monotonous view of residential homes, swaying palms, and glimpses of Hawai‘i's warm turquoise waters. Waikiki Parc's Todd T. likes to come here to watch the pros shred it up during the winter swells and sunbathe and swim during the summer. Sunset also receives ray-ve reviews from beachgoers for the convenient parking lot across the street with restrooms and showers. And for those with children, Sunset Beach sets a lifeguard on duty daily, which offers some peace of mind and a good sounding board to check in on the day's water conditions.

Sunset's world-famous waves are also home to surfing competitions including the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing - one of the Van's Triple Crown's prestigious events, which regularly attracts hundreds of elite surfers from around the world to compete for the contest's $135,000 prize purse and barrel bragging rights.


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2) Pu'u o Mahuka State Monument

For those escaping to Hawai‘i to savor the Hawaiian culture, continue further along Kamehameha Highway, off of Pupukea Homestead Road, and pay homage to Pu‘u o Mahuku Heiau, the largest heiau (hay-ow or religious temple) on the island of O‘ahu. Spanning two acres on O‘ahu's North Shore, Pu‘u o Mahuku (which translates in Hawaiian to mean the "hill of escape") played a significant role in Native Hawaiian history and is believed to be a site where religious ceremonies and human sacrifices were conducted.

Today, the heiau consists of a short walled-in courtyard presiding over the typically tranquil waters of Waimea Bay. After you've soak in the history of the area it is the perfect place for a scenic picnic or to view the green flash at sunset.

In 1962, Pu‘u o Mahuku Heiau was designated a National Historic Landmark for its important role in Hawaiian history and culture. For families with young keiki it is important to remember that the heiau is a sacred place and should be treated with respect. Visitors are asked not to enter the heiau, but to view it from the outside perimeter.


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3) Waimea Valley

Sprouting up in the verdant mountains of O'ahu's North Shore is the beautiful and historic Waimea Valley. A roughly hours drive from your Waikiki hotel the valley is deeply rooted with more than 700 years of Native Hawaiian history and offers up more than 1.5 miles of historic archaeological sites, leading up to a 45-foot waterfall.

Located just across the street from the famed Waimea Bay beautiful Waimea Valley spreads its wings to greet visitors with friendly peacocks who serve as the welcome party for the valley's 150 acres. Step back in time exploring the valley's 78 Ancient Hawaiian archaeological sites, which include religious sites and shrines, house sites, agricultural terraces and fishponds. Waimea Valley is also home to more than 5,000 types of tropical and subtropical plants -- including many native and endangered plants - as well as several native and endangered birds and native freshwater fish.

The perfect adventure before an afternoon on the beach, Waimea Valley also offers a number of events and activities - like their Waimea Valley Moon Walk which allows you to hike the trail at night or their Summer Concert Series. Waimea Valley is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


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