Hale’iwa is a colorful, historic community in the center of Oahu’s North Shore.

Once the playground of royalty and the location of a former television series called “Baywatch,” Hale’iwa has long been acknowledged as Hawaii’s surfing capitol. The more than 100-year-old town is a picture of its past with rustic old buildings dominating the landscape.

Hale’iwa is emerging as an important art center on Oahu.

There are at least six art galleries featuring dozens of artists, many from the islands, and several gift shops that also sell arts and crafts. In the North Shore Marketplace, the seascapes of Roy Tabora and Walfrido Garcia are on display. World-famous marine artist, Wyland, has established his headquarters here.

In Hale’iwa and a neighboring community Waialua, you’ll find an eclectic combination of marine art, pottery, sculptures, watercolors, and arts and crafts.

Cool down with a shave-ice (rainbow-flavored snowcone) from the legendary M. Matsumoto store. The store has been serving shave ice local-style with sweet azuki beans or ice cream in the bottom of the paper cone for over 40 years.

The Hale’iwa Surf Museum, also located in the Marketplace, has a collection of memorabilia including surf posters, album covers, monochrome photos by legendary surf photographer LeRoy Grannis, vintage surfboards, and best of all, a very cool 1950 Ford Woody.

In the quaint shops along Hale’iwa’s main thoroughfare you can rent or buy just about anything you desire for fun on the water or to take home with you as a souvenir.

Remember that during the winter months (December through February) big surf contests are in town, drawing massive crowds. To avoid the crowds, arrive early! Hale’iwa is an hour’s drive from Waikiki, out through the pineapple fields of Central Oahu and down to the North Shore.