Explore Hanalei Bay and the Beautiful North Shore of Kauai
Hanalei Bay is one of the scenic spots in Hawaii that will always stand out as that perfect place that exudes what paradise is all about.
With an idyllic bay and beach area, Hanalei Bay feels so special and surrounded by 4000-foot jagged mountains within a two-mile crescent shaped golden sand beach. The scene is magical and even surreal especially at sunset when the views to the west and lit up mountains create some dreamy skies. There are so many cool things to do in Hanalei.
The beach scene is laid back and relaxing – you wouldn’t know it from the top 5 beach ratings it gets regularly from magazines and online sites.
Where is Hanalei located?
Just a few minutes’ drive from the Princeville resort area, it’s a beautiful drive downhill into the valley with taro patch farms and the small-town vibe of Hanalei. The drive from the capital city at Lihue is about xxx miles and under an hour drive through pleasant surroundings and lush areas of the eastern to north shore of Kauai. Went you enter into town; you have to pass a one lane bridge which gives the right of way from the side where to there is a wait and double line to stop.
Hanalei Bay is translated into two meanings; the first meaning is “Crescent bay” and the second meaning is “Lei making”. The valley can also be translated to mean “Lei Valley” with the rainbows that always show up around the valley from wet rains and circling the town like a wreath. Located on the mouth of the Hanalei river, the area was very productive with the ancient settlers who grew a bounty of taro, banana, coconuts, yams and breadfruit. With foreigners settling, more introduced crops of cotton, rice, sugar cane, potatoes, various greens and tropical fruits were introduced into the area. Around the 1900s, the area was filled with sugar cane and rice fields from farmers with Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Portuguese and other migrant groups to work the plantation farms.
Cool facts and trivia
Hanalei was featured in several movies including South Pacific, The Descendants and the TV series Twin Peaks. Also, Hanalei was featured in music like “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter Paul and Mary and “Hanalei” by the Red-Hot Chili Peppers.
Check out these popular places to explore around Hanalei Bay
Instantly recognized pier from so many Instagram shots and other magazine photo spreads, the pier jutting out is very simple, but it’s the views you get to see from the pier up to the mountains and town that truly dazzles and adds to the delightful experience of just walking on the pier at Hanalei. This is also a favorite spot for locals to jump off and swim, fish and even play some music while hanging out on the pier.
Just a short walk from the beach, the town is low key with some art galleries, coffee and bakery spots, surf shops, boutique stores and some wonderful restaurants to check out. Some of the churches in town are worth checking out for their simple architecture along with just walking down the street.
Visit the Waioli Mission House and Church
Part of the historic landmarks of Hanalei which were created in the early 19th century by the first Christian missionaries from the mainland USA. The Waioli Mission house is now a living museum filled with artifacts and personal belongings of the missionaries.
Relax at Hanalei Beach
A perfect white sand beach with a shallow ocean front area, swimming and surfing is a fun pastime on the beach at Hanalei. With a fun crescent shaped beach to enjoy, beach combing, picnics or enjoying a nice sunset, a beach day at Hanalei beach is a must.
Waipa Farmers Market
A regular farmers market is held at Waipa just outside of Hanalei between the Waipa and Wai’oli bridge. Market takes place every Tuesday from 3:30 to 5pm offering locally grown produced, finished goods and take away foods, craft vendors and art. Check out their website here for more details.
Limahalu Garden Preserve
Limahalu is a place of refuge and also a preserve that houses some of the rarest Hawaiian plants and endangered birds on the island. The garden highlights culturally significant native plants in an authentic Hawaii ecosystem. Check out more details to visiting here.
Enjoy a gorgeous sunset at Hanalei beach
Pick some spot on the coastline or above for a gorgeous views of Hanalei and you’ll probably get a gorgeous sunset view and time to enjoy the end of day in this fabulous area. Ending the day with sunset views and collecting your thoughts about the day visiting here is probably one of the most impressionable time frames and also to capture it in photographs.
Where to eat in Hanalei
There are some delicious foods, cafes and bakeries in Hanalei town with mostly mom and pop type shops and some fine dining venues.
Kalypso Island Bar and Grill – 5156 Kuhio Hwy – Ching Young Village
Casual restaurant serving Hawaiian style menu and tropical drinks
Bar Acuda – 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy
Tapas style and creative small plates in an urban chic eatery
AMA Restaurant 5-5161 Kuhio Hwy – Hanalei Initiative Creative Center
Noodles and ramen, small plates and Donburi dishes
Café Tumeric – 5-5100 Kuhio Hwy
Food truck offering Indian plates from curries, meat dishes to seafood
Village Snack Shop and Bakery – 5-5190 Kuhio Hwy B3
Breakfast style and bakery, loco mocos, omelets and French toast
Where to sleep in Hanalei
There are no big hotels at Hanalei, just mostly inns and small Bnb places, there is a large Resort and condo complexes at nearby Princeville to stay in if you are looking for nicer resort style
Westin Princeville Resort Villas – A fabulous location with views and sunset to match along with gorgeous villas and well appointed rooms.
Hanalei Bay Resort – right in town within walking distance of the town attractions and an affordable mid range hotel that is well reviewed and popular with visitors
Hanalei Colony Resort – beachfront and more remote location from town with privacy and a gorgeous beach to enjoy with friendly customer service
Makai Club Resort – Golf course lifestyle and accommodations with larger rooms and kitchens along with other amenities
Check out the best rated and reviews places to stay with TripAdvisor hotels and inns here for more details and current prices and availability.
Check out these other topics on visiting Kauai now
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