Hit the Road

By Andy Beth Miller

Photography by Elyse Butler

While you may be hard-pressed to find a “rest area” or truck stop en route to Hale‘iwa Town, there are plenty of diversions along the way (and on the way back) that may just make you want to pull over and have a look around. From a shrimp truck famous for its scampi to a marketplace filled with Hawaiian treasures, the way up north is peppered with many interesting stops along the way.

As the old adage goes, “Getting there is half the fun.” And it couldn’t be truer with an itinerary—departing from Aulani, and ultimately depositing you on the dazzling sands of O‘ahu’s North Shore—such as this. So bid farewell to Aulani for the day, and head northbound on the H-2, playing your ‘ohana’s (family) favorite road-trip tunes as you make your way to our first stop: Dole Plantation.

Once you pass Wahiawā, the charming old sugar plantation town that neighbors the popular pineapple-filled tourist attraction, you and your loved ones will have been in the car for about 40 minutes to an hour, making a dash into this Dole establishment a definite win. While here, tour the grounds and get to see the inner workings of all Dole production, from seed to store. Or hop on the Pineapple Express for an educational ride around the property.

And don’t forget to stop for a snack before you leave, as the establishment is known island-wide and beyond for their ‘ono (delicious) signature offering, Dole Whip (the soft-serve treat doesn’t get any fresher than here at the source), which is a trademarked, pineapple-flavored frozen dessert that can only be described as an air-fluffed dream. An added bonus to this must-see stop? Getting the restless keiki (children) out of the car for a bit and letting them run wild in the Plantation Garden Maze known to be the world’s largest of its kind

Hop back into the car and cruise just a few more minutes down the road until you reach Hale‘iwa, a tiny town boasting a single, adorable main street dotted with unique boutiques, artist galleries, cafes, and of course, cruising surfer-types as far as the eye can see. Spend some time window-shopping and taking in the friendly local scene, and if the waves are still high, bee-bop on up Kamehameha Highway, where you will experience what is known as the “Seven Mile Miracle,” consisting of seven surf spots (Sunset Beach and Pipeline among them) famously boasting the biggest and best waves worldwide.

After you’ve oohed and ahhed to your heart’s content, being a spectator of such surfing gods under the hot Hawaiian sun will have left you hungry for some local Hawaiian grinds. Luckily for you, our itinerary includes a convenient stop right down the road at one of the best lunch spots on the entire North Shore: Giovanni’s Square in Kahuku— home to the famous Giovanni’s shrimp truck—a North Shore tradition, and easily one of the most popular food trucks in all of Hawai‘i nei (this beloved Hawai‘i). Sample the garlic shrimp scampi plate, and get ready to have your mind blown.

Giovanni’s shrimp truck stand in Kahuku on the North Shore.

After lunch, satisfy your inner shopper in Lāi‘e at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s (PCC) newly opened Hukilau Marketplace (hukilaumar- ketplace.com), featuring a retro 1950s Hawai‘i vibe and offering nostalgic food, local goods, and more. After shopping ’til you drop, take in one of PCC’s exciting shows or enjoy an authentic lu‘au before heading back to the resort

And as to make your back to the hotel room after a full day of sights, sounds, good eats, and more, we’re glad to know that we will have had some small part in those sweet visions of rolling waves, heavenly pineapple confections, and friendly aloha vibes that will ferry you to dreamland.

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