In the Hawaiian language, hale means "house", and the iwa is a frigate bird. Frigate birds are large tropical birds that spend most of their time aloft. Since they ride thermals and updrafts above the ocean, they are often seen siding weather fronts, and so have come to be a harbinger of changing weather. Haleiwa is not home to many frigate birds, however. There was a nineteenth century, girls’ missionary school called Haleiwa. However, the choice of that name for a part of the school seems odd since there are rarely frigate birds that nest or soar in the area. After the school closed, a hotel built nearby took the name Haleiwa, and the name stuck.
Haleiwa is located on the north shore of Oahu. It sits on Waialua Bay and is home to about 2200 people. There are a number of smaller homes that sit just off the beach. At the other end of the housing spectrum are multi-million dollar oceanfront properties that may have separate cottages in addition to the main home. Some building lots are available for purchase, although many are not very close to the water. Condominiums are another option, and in Haleiwa real estate, there is a wide variation in the prices, sizes and locations of condos. Less than $200,000 could purchase one-bedroom 900 square foot condo just steps away from the water. $450,000 might buy a larger, more updated two-bedroom condominium near the water. As with just about anywhere else in the United States, there are some properties available through short sales or foreclosures.
Haleiwa features great surfing and diving opportunities and is a big tourist destination. Some consider it the commercial center of the North Shore. Haleiwa is a real surf town, with a great vibe. Haleiwa has art galleries, lots of local style, authentic surf shops, and laid-back restaurants. Nearby famous surfing beaches include Waimea Bay, Ehukai (Banzai Pipeline) and Sunset Beach. There are also Haleiwa Beach Park, Haleiwa Ali’I Beach Park, and Kaiaka State Recreation Area. A boat harbor and a bay surround Haleiwa Beach Park and Haleiwa Ali?i Beach Park.
An interesting piece of Haleiwa history is that the only fighter aircraft that managed to scramble against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor took off from the now-abandoned Haleiwa Airfield. Haleiwa still reigns as the surfing capitol of the world. Many attractions and activities in and around Haleiwa focus on surfing, such as the Haleiwa Surf Museum, founded in 1993 which features surf memorabilia from the 1960's, including surfboards, pictures, and videos showcasing the history of surfing. Nevertheless, there are other outdoor activities, including skydiving for the more adventurous and golfing, horseback riding and fishing for the more cautious. For those more interested in artistic endeavors, there is the yearly Haleiwa Arts Festival held every summer at the Haleiwa Beach Park. There are other nearby North Shore destinations, including the Waialua Sugar Mill, Turtle Bay Golf Resort, the North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum, and the Polynesian Cultural Center.