Wanderlust: Around Oahu {The North Shore}

I can hardly find words to convey how much we loved Oahu and how much fun we had exploring the island.  The boys were the perfect ages to go and do and figure they really are old enough to remember all of our adventures as well!  I summed up our stay at Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa and will take the rest of the week to share all of our island adventures.

One of our very favorite days was spent at Hawaii’s famous North Shore.  You know… the beautiful and “dangerous” (Daddy-O is a protective guy) place that is the surfing mecca of the world!  We left Aulani bright and early one morning in order to be in Haleiwa for an 8:30AM surfing lesson.


I read many, many reviews online and ended up booking with Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf School.  Now, y’all know that I’m not one to be left out of any adventure and having boys has prompted me to do things I never even considered doing for the first thirty years of my life.  So, I’m on the phone with Uncle Bryan signing up the boys and mid-sentence I think “Why not? Who knows if I’ll ever even be here again?  What’s the worst that can happen?  IT’S THE NORTH SHORE.  Like the REAL North Shore!!!” And before I knew it our family of four was paddling out to catch our first waves.  It was a real pinch-me-now  kind of day.

We met at Haleiwa beach park to meet Uncle Bryan and our instructors and gear up in rash guards (provided for Honey and myself because mine was short sleeved).  We followed our two instructors just a few minutes down the road to Laniakea Beach (also known as Turtle Beach) to get started!


After a quick demonstration on land, we took to the water.  I was skeptical.



Honey was up first.  The boys and I literally could NOT believe it when he was literally UP on his board surfing!!!


Next it was my turn.  And I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  At forty years old for the first time in my life I surfed the North Shore.  I was ecstatic!!


Next up… John!  You guessed it – caught his first wave!!!


And then the baby.  My baby.  He rounded out an incredible few minutes of watching my family surf the North Shore!!


And so it went… paddle out, catch a wave, ride it in, repeat.  It was a LONG two hours but some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life!




There were a whole lot of ups…





Some awesome downs…



And then, the moment that made a little 10 year old’s top of his “I actually did that.” list.  He dabbed while surfing.  Before we’d even caught our first wave he said “If I can dab on a surf board this vacation will be complete.”  Well, he achieved that goal by 10AM on Monday morning of our week in Hawaii :-)


We had a 2-hour private lesson with two instructors between the four of us.  There was also a group lesson going on at the same time.  I loved the private lesson because we had so much attention and really got to ride a crazy amount of waves. They also pulled the boys out every single time on their boards to speed the process up and ensure they didn’t tire out too soon.  While one instructor helped choose a wave and get us going, the other hung with the rest of us on the board giving tips and tricks to help us improve.  We also had a photographer there (provided by Uncle Bryan) to capture our day.  I truly cannot recommend this experience or Uncle Bryan more!  We would definitely do it again!!  In fact, John loved it so much that he is signed up for a surf camp at Tybee this summer.  Now, I’m afraid it will be a bit different than Hawaii, but I’m sure it will be fun nonetheless!!!

Appropriately worn out and understandably ravenous, we headed off in search of a good shrimp truck.  I asked one of our instructors and he said to look for the McDonald’s in town and try one of the trucks near there.  I was SO excited to find Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in that very park.  It was on my little list of “if we happen to drive by…” and I am SO glad we did!  Giovanni’s famed and super garlicky shrimp scampi was incredible.  We gobbled up the full plates worth (and a hot dog for the baby)!!  If you go, I’d go early and be sure to have cash.  Oh, and if you’re particular like moi, the shrimp are perfectly deveined.  :-)



Another one on my “if we happen to drive by…” list was Matsumoto Shave Ice.  Well, it just so happens that while we were hunting down a shrimp truck we spied Matsumotos!  They were just a few minutes from each other so we headed back for a yummy North Shore dessert.  I really don’t know how they make it so good but trust me, it IS the best shave ice anywhere.





Our last stop on our North Shore adventure was Waimea Bay Beach Park, the biggest, most historic, most famous of all the North Shore breaks and home of the jumping rock.  Much to my dismay, Honey (ever the level head and voice of reason) poo-pooed the jumping rock from the get go :-)  But that did not stop our fun!!!!!!  The waves were magnificent, the water crystal clear and the rocks SO MUCH FUN to climb out on.  (He did allow us to do that.)



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It was such a fun and adventurous day at the North Shore.  We headed back to Aulani exhausted and parked ourselves at the pool for the rest of the day!

aloha & xoxo

As an independent consultant with Glass Slipper Concierge, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I offer concierge travel planning for Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise LineDisneyland® Resort, Adventures by Disney®, Aulani and other delightful destinations.
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Uncle Bryan’s Sunset Suratt Surf School
Matsumoto Shave Ice  |  Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Read all about our trip:
GoPro Review  |  Dixie Travels to Hawaii

Aulani Disney Hawaii Resort & Spa  |  Oahu by Land + Air
Snorkel Cruise  |  Pearl Harbor  |  Waikiki
The North Shore  |  Hawaii Ohana


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2 thoughts on “Wanderlust: Around Oahu {The North Shore}

  1. Surfing on the North Shore – oh wow! That is definitely something y’all will never forget! What incredible memories you made! xo

  2. We took our kids to Maui a few years ago (my youngest was only 5) and our surfing lesson was one of the highlights – with hiking to waterfalls on the road to hana being the other :) Great photos!

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