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Staying in Sunset Beach on Oahu’s fabled North Shore? We have to admit, we’re a bit envious – there are some incredible vacation rentals in the area, and no matter the square footage of your room, suite, or bungalow, you’ll have one of the most breathtaking oceanfronts to wake up and saunter down to each and every morning of your stay. And don’t get us started on those sunsets – where do you think it gets its name from!? But alas, Sunset Beach is no Waikiki or Ko Olina. While that’s a good thing to many, it’s a bit more off the grid which is why it’s important for you to choose your HNL transportation options carefully. Today, we’re going to fill you in on the best way to get from Honolulu airport to Sunset Beach in the most efficient and pleasant way possible.
Best Way to Get from Honolulu International Airport to Sunset Beach on the North Shore and What Else You Need to Know
Take a Direct and Affordable Flat Rate Shuttle
The answer is right there, but allow us to embellish by first looking at the supposed alternatives (which really aren’t).
From HNL, your journey will follow I-H-1 W and I-H-2 N to HI-99 N, on to the exit 8 from I-H-2 N, through HI-80 to HI-99 N, followed by a merge onto HI-99 N and an eventual drive to HI-83 E in Pupukea until you reach your intended address. So you can see, renting a car from the airport after a long flight is not exactly the stress free way you want to start your time on the island. Wait until you’ve checked in then you can hit Enterprise at Turtle Bay the next AM. What about a traditional taxi? The directions we just provided equate to a hour (maybe more) so you can imagine the taxi fare. Wait, you don’t have to imagine – here it is:
That’s right, choosing the fastest, cheapest, and shortest taxi trip will still tip your budget near the $150 USD mark, and when you factor in even just a 10% tip you will be paying what is pretty much the cost of a full night in your rental accommodations. If you go during peak periods, it will cost even more. OK, so you need an alternative to a taxi but a ride share service isn’t much of an option either. An hour in the car of a non-proferssioanl driver/stranger? Uber/Lyft is great for getting from Waikiki to Ala Moana Center or even to get from Turtle Bay to Shark’s Cove (etc.) but from HNL all the way to Sunset Beach it’s not exactly a comfortable experience. And if coming from the airport with a lot of luggage you will probably have to take an UberXL which can inflate the cost beyond taxi territory. View more on why you should avoid ride share services from the airport here. What about traditional shared shuttles? There are none to the North Shore. So as you can see, the last remaining option is actually the best one, a direct, private, flat rate (up to a party of four!) ride in a spacious air-conditioned new model minivan.
What to Do When You Arrive at HNL Early
So you’ve decided on the best (and only, really) option for getting from Honolulu airport to Sunset Beach. But what if you get to HNL early? Should you hang around with the photos of Daniel K. Inouye (the airport’s namesake) or make your way to paradise? Since it’s in the “country” you can’t help but wonder if you will be stuck in the sand until your rental accommodation check-in time slowly approaches.
While Sunset Beach vacation rentals are more remotely located than those found around Pupukea Beach Park (where there is a Foodland and the Shark’s Cove food truck collective) Sunset Beach is not without it’s convenient and charming establishments. World famous Ted’s Bakery is just a few short minutes (walking) from your Sunset Beach rental, as is the fast rising (they just opened one up in Japan) yet locally owned Sunrise Shack. Ted’s gets pretty busy but if you can nab a seat outside (covered and shaded by a large tarp) you can kill about 30 minutes or so. As far as the Sunrise Shack goes, they have outdoor seating too, and free WiFi so you can get started on your Instagram Stories and Facebook posts (there’s lots to photograph at this quaint island haunt) while enjoying the ocean side (makai) and mountain side (mauka) views. If you come during busy times of the year (i.e. spring break or during the VANS Triple Crown of Surfing) there will be one or two food trucks parked at Sunset Beach too.
If kicking around these establishments and/or the beachfront on a hot sunny AM sounds like a bit much, you can always extend your HNL airport transfer into a driving tour and spend an hour or two (or more) in continued air-conditioned comfort. We can take you on an excursion of the North Shore or work with you to create a more customized tour that suits your desires. Learn more about our custom tours here.
Have any additional questions about getting from HNL to Sunset Beach? Contact us directly by calling toll-free to 1-800-929-1219, anytime.
~ ALOHA ~