Kauai’s beautiful Hanalei region

Mar 29, 2020 | General Information

West of Princeville, on Kauai’s North shore, Hanalei and its surroundings offer one of the most unforgettable places to visit in Hawaii. Hanalei has fully recovered from the torrential rainfall and flooding it experienced in April 2018 and stores and restaurants are open for business.

The 2-mile long, wide, crescent-shaped beach on Hanalei Bay features the “Pine Trees” surf area at Waioli Beach Park. Shaded on its western edge by ironwoods, this is a very popular surfing spot. Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park in the center of the bay provides lifeguards, restrooms and showers.

Renowned for big surf in winter months (Sept–May), Hanalei provides gentle waves the rest of the year. Black Pot Beach Park, near the historic, 300-foot-long pier, is good for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and fishing. Kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders often arrive at the Bay from the mouth of the Hanalei River. The Hanalei Valley Lookout offers wonderful views of mountains and taro fields. Within the valley, Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for rare water birds.

Lumahai Beach is a long stretch of white sand made famous by the film South Pacific. As many people remember, Mitzi Gaynor spent time on this beach washing that man right out of her hair. The beach, however, can be dangerous. During the summer months conditions at Lumahai are calmer, but still require caution because the beach is exposed to open ocean and strong currents. Above the beach is a scenic lookout with excellent photo opportunities.

Year-round Hanalei River moves from the slopes of Mount Waialeale — one the wettest spots on earth – to Hanalei Bay. It’s a paddleboarders paradise along the stretch that winds through the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Small farms in the vicinity grow more than half of Hawaii’s taro. Gliding along green taro fields with mountain peaks in the foreground creates a very special feeling. Along the way, the river bank teems with hibiscus flowers and occasionally a few Nene, the Hawaiian goose, may make an appearance.

Before leaving Hanalei, the Waioli Mission House offers a step back in time. Back in the 1830s, it was the home of early Christian missionaries, Abner and Lucy Wilcox. Restored in 1921, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In front of the house is the old Waioli Huuia Church, founded in 1834, with its green shingles and stained glass windows.


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