Haleiwa Town

Oahu Historic
Haleiwa Town

Hah – leh – EE – vah

Hawaiian Meaning
Home of the Frigate Bird

Distance from Waikiki
About a 1-Hour Drive

Surfing in Haleiwa
Oahu traveler learns to surf in Haleiwa Town.

The Location of Haleiwa Town

Known as the ‘surfing capital of the world’,  Haleiwa is located in the North Shore of Oahu between two beautiful stretches of road. The 8 miles from Haleiwa to Sunset Beach is considered to have some of the world’s best surfing beaches, including Bonzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. Several big wave surf competitions take place there in the winter months.

The Rainbow Bridge over the Anahulu River is one entrance into Haleiwa town, and the entrance to the road off of Kamehameha Highway is marked by a famous, colorful sign of a surfer. Many tourists stop to take photos with this sign.

Though Haleiwa has gained fame as a surfing town, its main draw these days is a cultural one. The location is rich with history, making it an intriguing stop for an Oahu vacation.

The History of Haleiwa Town

Haleiwa Town originated in the late 1800s as a hotel named Hale’iwa, meaning house of the frigatebird. The area wasn’t very popular before the hotel, but after the building went up, people were drawn to the area for its beauty and charm. The restaurant Haleiwa Joe’s now stands where the hotel once stood.

The state of Hawaii designated Haleiwa as a historic, cultural and scenic district in 1984. The state also set guidelines that any new business had to meet the design guidelines of the architecture of Haleiwa’s early sugar industry period. So every store in Haleiwa, from surf shops to art galleries, has an old-fashioned feel.


The main attractions in Haleiwa include shave ice and two well known beaches.

Matsumoto Shave Ice
Matsumoto Shave Ice is a very popular shave ice spot, due to how long it has been around. The store was established in 1951 and is located in the heart of the Haleiwa shopping center. It has over 30 flavors of shave ice to choose from. Typically there is a line running out the door for this cooling treat, but it’s worth it.

Haleiwa Beach Park
Haleiwa Beach Park is a loved beach by locals and tourists alike. Locals often pitch tents and have barbecue lunches, while tourists often rent boards from across the street for a surf lesson. The waves at this beach are typically much smaller than their extreme neighbors, so it’s a good place to learn.

Pua’ena Point Beach Park
Pua’ena Point Beach Park is known for its picturesque palm tree groves and sea turtles. The beach isn’t the greatest for swimming, because it’s fairly rocky, but sea turtles prefer it because the rocks are covered with the algae that they eat. Visitors can sit in the shade of palm trees while watching green sea turtles nibble on algae and surfers ride the waves in the bay. Sometimes, the sea turtles will even come up onshore to sunbathe.

If Waikiki isn’t your style, Haleiwa might be the perfect place to escape.

Visit the Famous Historic Haleiwa Town

Join an Island and You Tour

Island and You Tour Map

Island and You: Oahu Bus Tour

Island and You is the tour of all things local! Visit historical sites full of sacred energy (mana), eat some of the island’s best authentic Hawaiian food, learn about the culture of ancient Hawaiians and shop for the perfect souvenir as you tour around Oahu.

Use the code ALTERNATE10 for $10 off!