Kahuku Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do, places to visit, local food and drink scene, and travel tips for Kahuku, Hawaii.

Introduction to Kahuku

Kahuku is a small town located in the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, known for its beautiful natural scenery, outdoor activities, and delicious local cuisine. The town has a rich culture and history, with important museums and historical sites that showcase the Polynesian culture that heavily influenced Hawaii. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway, an adventurous outdoor adventure, or a cultural immersion into Hawaii, Kahuku has something to offer for everyone.

List of Places to Visit in Kahuku

When visiting Kahuku, there are various places to explore and experiences to engage in, from natural attractions to museums and historical landmarks. This list covers the must-visit attractions in Kahuku:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Polynesian Cultural Center: This center is an educational institution that aims to preserve and showcase the Polynesian culture that has deeply influenced Hawaii’s history. Visitors can enjoy the various exhibits, showcases, and performances that highlight traditional Polynesian music, dance, and crafts.

  • Kukaniloko Birthstones State Historic Site: This historical site is believed to be the birthplace of Hawaiian royalty and is home to many ancient rock formations, including the Kukaniloko Birthstones. Visitors can learn about the island’s unique birthing traditions and spiritual practices.

  • Laie Hawaii LDS Temple: Located in the small town of Laie, this temple is an important landmark for the Latter-day Saint community in Hawaii and features stunning architecture and intricate design details, both inside and out.

Natural Attractions of Kahuku: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Kahuku Farms: Visitors can take a leisurely tour of Kahuku Farms, a family-owned farm that produces organic fruits and vegetables. The farm also offers fun activities, such as wagon rides, DIY activities, and sampling their fresh produce.

  • Kahana Bay Beach Park: This is a beautiful white sand beach set against the backdrop of lush green mountains. Visitors can engage in various water activities such as swimming, kayaking or snorkeling or relax on the beach.

  • Kahuku Point: Visitors should take a tour of the Kahuku Point which offers panoramic ocean views with white-sand beaches and plenty of lookout spots for wildlife sightings.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Kahuku

Kahuku has many trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding rugged mountains and coastal scenery. The most popular trails in Kahuku are:

  • Malaekahana State Recreation Area: This recreation area has several hiking trails ranging from easy ones like the Malaekahana trail to arduous ones like Laie Falls trail. Hikers can spot wildlife like the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal and Humpback Whales during the winter season.

  • Pupukea-Paumalu Forest Reserve: Open for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. The reserve has plenty of hiking trails, including the popular Schofield-Waikane trail, that offer stunning views of the countryside and lush forests.

Best Things to Do in Kahuku: Activities and Tours

There are countless activities and tours to participate in when visiting Kahuku. Here are a few popular ones:

  • Horseback Riding: Various companies offer horseback riding tours for visitors, such as the Gunstock Ranch tour, which takes visitors on a trail ride through the scenic Hawaiian valley.

  • Shark Cage Diving: Visitors can participate in shark cage diving with North Shore Shark Adventures, where visitors can witness some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures in a controlled and safe environment.

  • Snorkeling and Paddleboarding: Various beaches such as Laniakea Beach offer snorkeling and paddleboarding options for visitors!

Week-Long Itinerary for Kahuku

Here’s a suggested itinerary for those who plan to spend a week in Kahuku:

Day Activity
1 Strike off the bucket list with shark cage diving, followed by an afternoon snack of Garlic Shrimp on the North Shore.
2 Take a relaxing day to explore Haleiwa town, shopping for souvenirs, indulging in the local cuisine, and sampling shave ice at Matsumoto’s.
3 Explore the natural beauty of the North Shore, by hiking at the Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument, Turtle Bay Trail or a visit to Waimea Falls Park.
4 Experience some cultural immersion with a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center.
5 Head to Laniakea Beach in the morning for a chance to see sea turtles in their natural habitat, followed by an afternoon snorkeling or paddleboarding session.
6 Take a leisurely day exploring Kahuku Farms and indulging in their farm-to-table produce.
7 Take a scenic drive around the North shore and end with a spectacular sunset view at Laie Point state wayside park.

Food and Drink Scene of Kahuku

The local food in Kahuku is unique and delicious, drawing influence from both Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages.

Must-Try Dishes:

  • Garlic Shrimp: A popular seafood dish in Kahuku served with rice and slaw.

  • Poke: This popular Hawaiian dish consists of diced raw fish, marinated in various spices and sauces.

  • Lomi-Lomi Salmon: A Hawaiian side dish made from a mix of fresh salmon, tomatoes, and diced onions.

Local Beverages:

  • Pineapple Juice: A refreshing drink made from fresh pineapples.

  • Kona Coffee: This coffee is grown in Kona, Hawaii, and is famous for its rich and bold flavors.

  • Coconut Water: Coconut water served fresh from a young coconut is a popular beverage in Hawaii.

Where to Stay in Kahuku: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Kahuku has a range of accommodation options to cater to different tastes and budgets:

  • Turtle Bay Resort: A luxurious resort that features spa facilities, dining options, and several leisure activities.

  • The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club: A mid-range boutique hotel located just on the edge of Waikiki.

  • Backpackers Vacation Inn and Hostel: An affordable accommodation option that offers dorm rooms and private rooms with shared facilities.

What to Buy in Kahuku: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

When in Kahuku, visitors can bring home some souvenirs that uniquely preserve the Hawaiian and Polynesian culture, such as:

  • Leis: These necklaces made from flowers are a popular souvenir item for visitors.

  • Hawaiian Shirts: Featuring bold prints and bright colors, these shirts are popular amongst tourists.

  • Macadamia Nuts: These are a popular snack amongst locals and tourists alike and are available in various flavors.

Local Culture and Customs of Kahuku

The Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures have a deep impact on Kahuku town, and it’s important to respect their customs and symbols. For example,

  • Spitting on the Ground: It’s considered disrespectful to spit on the ground in Hawaiian culture.

  • Removing Shoes Indoors: Consider removing shoes before entering houses or places of worship in Kahuku.

Best Time to Visit Kahuku

The best time to visit Kahuku is during the dry season, which falls between May and September. You can enjoy outdoor activities and spend long hours on the beach with warm weather and sunny skies.

Do’s and Don’ts of Kahuku


  • Respect the Culture: Hawaii’s local culture and traditions should be respected, and visitors should be mindful not to offend the locals.

  • Try the Local Cuisine: Han with the locals and sample their food. The local cuisine is delicious and unique, and trying it is a must-do when in Kahuku.


  • Littering: Responsible tourism is crucial, so avoid littering and respect the environment.

  • Touching Sea Turtles: While the turtles sightings on the beach can be amazing, tourists must avoid touching or interfering in any way with the animals.

Safety and Health

Kahuku is considered a relatively safe and healthy destination.

Safety in Kahuku

  • Water Safety: Visitors should be mindful of the strong ocean currents and follow water-safety guidelines.

  • Wildlife Safety: While wildlife sightings can be amazing, visitors must maintain a safe distance from the animals.

Health in Kahuku

  • Sun Safety: Visitors must be careful with too much sun exposure and apply sunscreen, use protective clothing, and drink plenty of fluids.

  • Food Safety: Visitors need to be vigilant about food safety and hygiene and choose reputable restaurants and eateries.

Getting to Kahuku: Transportation Options and Logistics

Kahuku is accessible by various modes of transportation:

Airports Near Kahuku

  • Honolulu International Airport: This is the primary airport that serves tourists visiting Hawaii and is around an hour’s drive from Kahuku.

  • Kalaeloa Airport: This is a domestic airport that caters to inter-island flights and private aviation within Hawaii.

Bus Stations Near Kahuku

  • TheBus: This is the public bus system that operates in Hawaii, and its services are available in Kahuku.

Other Options

  • Rental Cars: Renting a car in Hawaii is easy, and various rental car agencies are available at the Honolulu International Airport.

How to Get Around in Kahuku

While public transportation is an option, renting a car is a popular option amongst tourists for exploring Kahuku and nearby areas. Various scooter and bike rental shops are available in the area as well.

Where to Go Next from Kahuku: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Kahuku is an excellent starting point to explore the North Shore and neighboring islands, such as:

  • Haleiwa: A quaint town located a few miles away from Kahuku, known for its historic landmarks, shopping, and several plantation sites.

  • Oahu: This beautiful island is home to several famous attractions such as Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, and Diamond Head.


Kahuku, Hawaii, is an ideal destination for those looking to experience Hawaiian culture, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and engage in scenic outdoor activities. Ensure to respect the local culture and environment, and enjoy the stunning scenery of this beautiful part of Hawaii. With all of these experiences to choose from, visitors will be sure to have an unforgettable trip to Kahuku.