The north shore of Oahu offers one of the most relaxed environments in the world. Chill vibes, surf, and sunsets are a guarantee. Unlike Waikiki, there are only a small number of hotels. However, this is a comprehensive list of the most popular hotels on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
I’ve also added in a few guesthouses and hostels you may not have heard of. Hopefully, this guide will help you figure out where to stay on the North Shore of Oahu.
MY QUICK PICKS FOR STAYING ON THE NORTH SHORE
Don’t have time to read my detailed breakdown of all the top places to stay on the North Shore. No worries! These are my three favorite hotels and resorts up North. If you book one of these three, you are guaranteed to have a great vacation in a great location!
WHERE TO STAY ON THE NORTH SHORE OF OAHU
The North Shore is one of my favorite areas in the world. In the summer you have some of the most pristine beaches, snorkeling, turtles, and those surfer town vibes. In the winter things really kick into full swing on the North Shore as the waves pick up and the area just becomes the ultimate surfer paradise.
This is the comprehensive list of all the hotels on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
TURTLE BAY RESORT
Turtle Bay Resort (High End): Turtle Bay Resort is known to be the best luxury hotels on the North Shore. This resort is only 15 minutes from Banzai Pipeline Beach where you can see the epic seasonal surfing competition. Turtle Bay offers a lot on the property including horse-back riding, surfing lessons, scuba diving, snorkeling with turtles plus its laid-back and relaxed vibe will make you want to extend your stay. When it comes to dining, this resort does have plenty of choices from its signature restaurant (Pa’akai) to pool bar (The Point).
Why I recommend this hotel: It is the kind of place where you just get it all. It has the restaurant the activities and everything bundled into one. You guarantee yourself a relaxing holiday where everything just runs smoothly and you have a great island getaway. The sheltered and safe swimming areas are great for kids and relaxing without big waves and currents to worry about. Activities run from the hotel include helicopter tours, snorkeling in the private lagoon, hot tub, horseback riding, hiking, and the resort even has its own surf school.
Turtle Bay Resort is the biggest North Shore Hotel with 401 guest rooms and 42 beach cottages and ocean villas. Luxury ocean villas range from $479 to $900 for four guests. Standard rooms range from $250 to $470 per night.
THE COURTYARD BY MARRIOT NORTH SHORE
The Courtyard by Marriot North Shore (High End): The Courtyard on Oahu’s north shore boasts 142 rooms, a fitness center, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool.
Why I recommend this hotel: The lagoon-style pool is the center point of the hotel and a great spot to relax after a day of exploring the island. The hotel is incredibly new with a modern look and fresh amenities. If you know you want to stay on the North Shore and you don’t want the MASSIVE Turtle Bay Resort experience. This is your pick. You still get all the luxury of a big hotel, a pool, and a restaurant but remove the resort prices and get a high-end hotel price.
BACKPACKERS VACATION INN & PLANTATION VILLAGE
Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation Village (Budget): Backpackers Vacation Inn & Plantation is definitely the cheapest place to stay on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
Why I recommend this hotel: What appeals to me is the value for money. It offers basic accommodation but the ambiance is awesome. The location is great, easy access to the beach, and there’s free use of snorkeling gear. I suggest staying for a few nights at a hostel in Waikiki and then basing up here at this hostel to explore the North Shore! It’s perfect for surfers staying for more than a week. Be warned this hostel gets booked out far in advance during peak season as it really is one of the only cheap accommodation options on the North Shore of Oahu.
NORTH SHORE VILLAS AND APARTMENTS
Those options above are the three main hotels available on the North Shore of Oahu… BUT there is one other option I can share with you. There are a few vacation villas or apartments that are right on the beach. They often need to be booked a bit in advance but it is still done through an online booking site and is super easy.
If you are a family, in a bigger group, or just prefer a more laidback, private vacation than the classic hotel (Turtle Bay and Marriot are huge complexes), this could be a great option for you. I’ll list the two most popular options below so you can check those out if you are keen on apartment-style accommodation.
Owen’s Retreat: Owen’s Retreat is a beautiful, beachfront villa with a very relaxed vibe. Hiking, snorkeling, and windsurfing are possible within the area. The beachside villa has free WiFi, BBQ facilities, a garden, and free private parking. You can hang out during sunset on the patio and then enjoy cooking dinner with a fully equipped kitchen with a microwave. Inside there is a seating area with a sofa, a flat-screen TV, a washing machine, and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. So you get the idea, booking this type of place makes you feel quite at home compared to a hotel.
Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging: Set on the North Shore, Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging offers a country house in Pupukea. It is a perfect place to hang out, relax and use as a base to explore the North Shore. This lodging is only a five-minute walk to Sunset Beach, a well-known surfing competition beach.
The rooms are very homely with all of the extras, kitchens, bathrooms, and chill areas. Very good value for money! There is a minimum of 5-night stay required for booking this place.
WHO STAYS ON THE NORTH SHORE
It is a perfect region for families, couples, and backpackers in the summer, and in the winter it is more suited to surfers, surf enthusiasts, and backpackers. The waves in the winter are often too big for a family vacation if you are looking to build sandcastles and frolic in the waves. It can get big, 30+ feet isn’t the biggest. However, there are lots of other things to do on the North Shore in the winter if you don’t surf so it can still be a great spot for families but definitely something to consider.
- Families: The North Shore has some of the best beaches on the island. Waimea Beach is my favorite beach in the entire world. In the summer it is a paradise with crystal clear water, snorkeling, sea caves, sea turtles and cliff jumping. In the winter it is home of big wave surfing and such an intense bay! Other popular beaches are the world-famous Pipeline Beach and Sunset Beach. The North Shore is famous for its food trucks and garlic shrimp. It is a very friendly vibe on the North Shore. Lots of people ride their bikes up and down the coast, there are no high-rise hotels and it is mostly houses and cottages that make up the buildings in the region. It is a snapshot of how Oahu used to be although it never quite will be like the old days.
- Couples: There is an epic resort on the North Shore called Turtle Bay Resort. This resort is one of the largest on Oahu and is away from all the hype in Waikiki. It is for people truly looking for a relaxing island getaway. It is right on the water and you can surf, swim with turtles, do yoga and enjoy the restaurant right on the beach.
- Surfers: If you are a surfer I shouldn’t need to explain the North Shore. In the winter all of the pros’s come and live on the North Shore for a reason. It is the ultimate spot for surfing and that vibe runs true throughout the whole region with laidback vibes all through the North Shore. If you are a surfer you shouldn’t need to ask where to stay on Oahu, it’s the North Shore or nothing. Another option for surfers, couples or solo travelers is to look into campervan rental in Hawaii, which could mean saving money on accommodation and having your transport sorted all in the same move.
PRO’S OF STAYING ON THE NORTH SHORE
- Best surf in the world
- Cool laidback vibes and much quieter than Waikiki
- Great snorkeling and beaches during the summer
- Food trucks and garlic shrimp are part of the experience
- A few nice hikes in the area like the short Peace Hike
CONS OF STAYING ON THE NORTH SHORE
- 1-hour drive to Waikiki
- In the winter the beaches aren’t good for swimming a lot of the time as the waves are too big
THINGS TO DO ON THE NORTH SHORE
- Watch the Pipeline Pro in January
- Explore the Peace Hike
- Waterfalls and nature walks
- Watch the sunset at Sunset Beach
- Lots of sea turtles
- Stand-up Paddleboard in the River
- Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off)and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach with a private lagoon.
- Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
- Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
- Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
- Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
- What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK
- A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII
- The best Waterfalls: AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
- Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU
- Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU
- The best Waterfall Hikes: TOP WATERFALL HIKES ON OAHU
- Best Tours: 20 BEST TOURS ON OAHU
- The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON OAHU
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