Hale'iwa is a small town on the less-populated north shore of the island of Oahu. Located roughly an hour outside of Honolulu, Hale'iwa is considered by many to be the surfing capital of the world. Developed to serve the sugar industry, today the community is a popular destination among tourists and locals who visit the town to browse the many shops, eat at the restaurants and food trucks, or head to the beach.
There are a couple of public parking lots and sometimes some street-side parking, but the traffic can be very busy along Kamehameha Highway, especially on the weekends. Walk along the mile-and-a-half main street through historic downtown. Toward the water you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and book surfing lessons or dive tours. You will encounter many boutique galleries and gift shops as you head away from the water, and these sell everything from locally made peanut butter to bathing suits, trinkets, fine art, used surfboards, and handcarved wooden gifts.
Be sure to try the shave ice, as Hale'iwa boasts some of the best shave ice on the island. The line often snakes out the door. You will begin to see more restaurants farther away from the water. Hale'iwa accommodates many tastes, including Thai food, Hawaiian plate lunch, burgers, Italian food, Mexican dishes, gelato, and sandwich shops.
The highlight, however, might be the food trucks, which set up business in dirt pullouts off the main highway. Here you can find good cheap eats. The first group of food trucks is situated before crossing the bridge over Helemano stream and is home to arguably one of the best shrimp trucks on the island, Giovanni's, which often has lines stretching back to the street. The second group of trucks is located just across the stream bridge on the right side of the road. Here the highlight is Surf N Salsa, a popular Mexican-style food truck serving massive burritos and spicy dishes.
If you stop in every store, Hale'iwa can be an all-day affair, or it can make a perfect detour for good food and a quaint stroll through the small island town.