Photo courtesy Shutterstock. Waves along the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, reach their greatest heightsduring winter months, when surfing contests abound.

Family Vacations in Hawaii: Oahu's North Shore

Want to show your children the sheer power of water? Some of the tallest ocean waves in the world are found at Oahu, Hawaii's acclaimed North Shore coastline during the winter months. These crashing walls of water are perfect for surfing and offer one of the best free shows on the islands. The North Shore is home to world-renowned surf contests such as the Vans Triple Crown, which is held here from early November to late December and attracts the world's top surfers. Another contest, the impromptu Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, is never scheduled in advance. This event is put together at the last minute anytime the waves reach heights of 30 feet or more.

In addition to the North Shore beaches, there are a number of locations around the island to watch intrepid surfers catch the big waves. Some of the preferred locations are Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, Ali'i Beach Park, and Ehukai Beach Park, home of the famed Banzai Pipeline. The waves may be larger at Sunset and Waimea, but at Ehukai, when the waves surge from deep water onto a shallow coral reef, a perfect, treacherous tube, or pipeline, is formed. Families can settle in with a picnic lunch and watch the action from the beach.

Oahu's North Shore Big Surf Competition Information

Address: North Shore Hale'iwa Beaches at Highway 99 and Haleiwa Rd., Haleiwa, HI

Phone: 808/637-4558

Surfing is not Hawaii's only local tradition. Travel to the next page to learn about the Polynesian Cultural Center -- a great family destination packed with Hawaiian history.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Scenic Drives:For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.
  • Hawaii State Guide: Learn more about Hawaii's history, cities, and popular attractions with this travel guide.