10 Ways to Learn More About Hawaiian Culture in Oʻahu

Explore local customs and traditions during an eye-opening, culturally enriching stay at Turtle Bay Resort

Polynesian fire knife dancing at Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii

Polynesian fire knife dancing is one of the authentic cultural experiences you can have at Turtle Bay Resort.

Courtesy of Turtle Bay Resort

Hawaiʻi isn’t just about surf and sun—though you’ll certainly enjoy those here too. Go far beyond a typical beach holiday at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oʻahu, where you’ll fully immerse in the traditions and culture of Hawaiʻi on a vacation filled with curated events and outings on-premises and off. Learn about the little-known world of Hawaiian ranching and cowboys, try your hand at Polynesian arts and crafts, get your hands in the soil of Turtle Bay Resort’s sustainable on-premises farm, and feast on local specialties crafted with vegetables and herbs from it and fresh, local seafood. And, of course, get in some legendary waves while you’re here, guided by top surf pros.

Hawaiian Cowboy Lūʻau at Turtle Bay Resort

Paniolo Lūʻau

Enjoy live entertainment during the famed Hawaiian cowboy lūʻau at Turtle Bay Resort, celebrating the rich ranching history in Hawai‘i.
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Turtle Bay Resort

Set on five miles of stunning Pacific coastline, Turtle Bay Resort is deeply rooted in the land, history, and layered richness of O‘ahu. Here, you’ll find an authentic connection to a place of uncommon natural splendor.
A couple biking along shaded pathways and ocean beaches.

Bike along shaded pathways and ocean beaches.

Turtle Bay Resort

Day 1:Get to know the history of Turtle Bay Resort

Turtle Bay Resort sits on 1,300 oceanfront acres of lush, forested land, encompassing seven ahupuaʻa, or traditional land divisions composed of mountain, farmland, and sea. Native Hawaiians knew how to live sustainably by creating self-sufficient communities that shared in the natural resources—a way of living that’s deeply ingrained in the ethos of Turtle Bay Resort. Take a guided Culture E-Bike Tour to learn more about Hawaii’s fascinating history, including the important ahupuaʻa designations and the roles they played in Native Hawaiian societies, while visiting ahu (stone markers) along the way.
An aerial view of Kuilima Farm at Turtle Bay Resort

An aerial view of Kuilima Farm at Turtle Bay Resort

Courtesy of Turtle Bay Resort

Day 2:Explore the sustainable Kuilima Farm

Start your day with a hearty and healthy breakfast at the buffet at the resort’s signature restaurant, Alaia, where you can load up on fresh seasonal fruits grown right on property at Kuilima Farm. Then take a Kuilima Farm Tour, complimentary for two Ocean Bungalows guests, to learn about the land, native and endemic Hawaiian plants, and how farming was done when the land was divided into ahupuaʻa.

You’ll come away with a greater sense of connection to the land and a renewed understanding and commitment to sustainability. The farm supplies much of the produce and herbs utilized throughout Turtle Bay Resort’s eateries and bars. Come back to Alaia for dinner this week and taste for yourself how Chef de Cuisine William Lochetto incorporates the locally grown produce into sophisticated, modern takes on Hawaiian comfort food.
Dancers performing at the Paniolo show at Turtle Bay Resort.

Enjoy live entertainment at the weekly Paniolo show.

Courtesy of Turtle Bay Resort

Day 3:Discover the cultural tradition of Hawaiian ranching at a lūʻau

Tonight, you’re in for a one-of-a-kind treat: Experience a North Shore-style dinner show at the weekly Paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) lūʻau. Learn about Hawaii’s rich ranching history through stories and entertainment, along with a delicious outdoor feast—featuring a pig roast and vegan options—lei making, and a fire knife show and drum performance to end the night with a bang.
Hands making a Polynesian wood carving with chisel.

Tell your own life story in a Polynesian woodcarving course.

Courtesy of Turtle Bay Resort

Day 4:Woodcarving and Polynesian crafts, followed by a cultural tour of the North Shore

Polynesians have shared and preserved stories for centuries through the arts. Take a hands-on approach to the local culture and learn how to carve your own life story into a keepsake you’ll treasure forever with a Polynesian woodcarving lesson. You’ll learn about different designs and carving techniques to create your own story in wood. You can also take a class to show you how to weave your own Papale Niu (coconut hat).

In the afternoon, get out and explore the North Shore with the resort’s on-demand Teslas. Visit historic Haleiwa, a town with iconic Hawaiian dishes, art galleries, and eclectic boutiques. Explore the botanical gardens and lush waterfall of Waimea Valley, a sacred historical site from which you can dive into the history and traditions of early Hawaiians. And finally, on your way back to the resort learn about the different Polynesian islands and cultures at the Polynesian Culture Center, located just minutes from Turtle Bay Resort.
Two people tandem surfing on the North Shore, Hawaii.

Tandem surfing on the North Shore

Courtesy of Turtle Bay Resort

Day 5:Surf the North Shore

What could be more Hawaiian than catching some waves? Whether you’ve always wanted to try the sport out or are already well-versed in the waves, you’ll take things up a notch with the Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience at Turtle Bay Resort. The local North Shore legend set up his first surf school right on property, and his team of experts will ensure a safe, invigorating time will be had by all at one of the most iconic surf spots in the world. Bringing the kids? They’ll have a blast surfing with an instructor named Rocky and—yes, you read this right—his surfing dogs.
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Journeys: Resorts
Journeys: United States
Journeys: United States