The Sweet Spot on Oahu’s North Shore: Waialua
Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Waialua was one of the six original districts of ancient Hawaii. Hawaiian’s first settled in Waialua in around the year 1100, establishing villages along valleys, streams, and bays. Drawn to this area for many of the same reasons that people are still drawn to Waialua–the rich ocean and the many freshwater springs, the Hawaiians grew a variety of crops. In 1832, missionaries were invited to Waialua and together they built the Waialua Protestant Church. At the end of the 19th century, Benjamin Dillingham built a railroad, sugar mill, and a destination hotel in Haleiwa. Waialua became former sugar mill town and is now a residential area, much quieter than nearby tourist destination Haleiwa. The Waialua Sugar Mill is the center of the town and the basis of its historical roots. Many of the families living in Waialua are the result of the sugarcane plantations. As sugar production decreased in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, sugar production decreased but many of the families brought to Waialua during the initial sugar rush remained in the area.
Now an up and coming neighborhood, Waialua is more affordable than other parts of the North Shore, like Sunset Beach and Pipeline and much of Oahu. Closer to Honolulu and away from the traffic that lies on the other side of Haleiwa, Waialua has much to offer those interested in the North Shore. Just minutes from Haleiwa, much of the best parts of the North Shore, including the world famous beaches, historic old towns, restaurants, shrimp trucks, and cute boutique shopping, are all within striking distance. That being said, Waialua is a longer drive to “town” making trips to Costco or into Honolulu itself a bigger excursion. Waialua is part of the limited “country” remaining on Oahu and is surrounded by agriculturally zoned properties.
With a number of white sand beaches, the feel of old Hawaii, a tight knit community, and the proximity to life’s necessities, Waialua has a great deal to offer those seeking space and privacy, while enjoying some of the best of Oahu. Great swimming, front row seats at some of the best surf locations on the islands, and without the traffic of Haleiwa, Waialua appeals to those who long for the beauty and feel of the North Shore, without suffering from the popularity.