Most people who venture out of Waikiki to see the fabled North Shore of Oahu want to see the Mt. Rushmore of pro-surfing beaches: Haleiwa, Waimea Bay, Pipeline, and Sunset Beach—and then drive back. They miss out on the wild, scenic stuff that ironically is in proximity to Turtle Bay Resort, the only resort community on the rural North Shore.
Just beyond Sunset is Velzyland (above), where a renowned surfing wave on a dreamy beach has special appeal for surfers from around the globe. Larger-than-life surfboard shaper Dave Velzy was at the center of the sport's rise during the Beach Boy days of the 1960s. The myth lives on here.
A system of trails and a snorkeling beach is about a mile south of the resort, at Kawela Bay.
Spend the day in the surf and sun. Repeat as necessary.
Kawela's trails meander beside huge banyans and other behemoths.
Kulima Cove is a sweet scoop of sand with decent-to-good snorkeling. Miles of open beach await in the reverse direction of this picture. A little keiki (kids) cove is less than a half-mile down from Turtle Bay Resort (whose architects may have been inspired by shoe boxes).
These fellows, as one might expect, inhabit the waters off the resort's seaside walkways, sharing the scene with surfers. Oahu Trailblazer has more details on finding nooks of the North Shore.