Hawaii Guide

Hanalei Bay, Kauai Beaches Kauai

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay, on Kauai's wild north coast, is divided up into four main beaches: Waikoko Beach; Waioili Beach Park; Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park; and Black Pot.

The Waikoko Beach is easy to get to and gets some protection from the rougher waters by the nearby reef. The water is too shallow to be great for swimming but the snorkeling can be good here. Wailoili Beach Park is very dangerous for swimming. Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park has some facilities for beach users and has a lifeguard on hand. It is great for surfers and boogie boarders but is not the best place for swimming. Black Pot is at the mouth of the Hanalei River. People can go kayaking up the river from this point. Black Pot has facilities and a very attractive pier.

Hanalei itself is a charming, picturesque town populated by an interesting and diverse mix of people. Hippies, locals, sailors, celebrities and surfing obsessives can all be found here. Hanalei has avoided being overly developed and still retains its old island charm. There is enough shopping and dining here for visitors to keep visitors occupied and it is an interesting place to spend a few hours in its own right. There are plenty of restaurants in the Hanalei area serving burgers, steaks, excellent seafood, Mexican, Italian, Thai, and of course local Hawaiian cuisine. For the health conscious there is even a restaurant that specializes in vegetarian food made with organic ingredients. Accommodation ranges from beach villas and basic condos to the very plush Princeville Hotel at the top end of the market. Independent, self contained accommodation away from the resorts is a really good way of enjoying the abundant nature and wildlife in this region. Sailing and surfing are popular sports in this area. The surfing here is pretty challenging in winter and should only be undertaken by experienced surfers. Although the water is often too rough for swimming, the bay is a very scenic.

The Hanalei Bay area has access to the two championship golf courses at Princeville, a tourist development up on the cliffs to the east of the bay area. Hiking is a popular activity along the north coast with its areas of outstanding natural beauty. The Okolehao Trail starts near the Hanalei River inland from the Bay. Although this trail is hard work, it offers spectacular views over the island if you make it to the plateau. Nearby resorts allow visitors to the area use of their amenities, such as swimming pools and tennis courts. Helicopter tours over the island leave from Princeville airport these are a fantastic way of seeing the island.