What You Need to Know about Hanalei
Check out why Hanalei should be in your must-visit list | Photo by Ganapathy Kumar
If you’re looking to escape the resort vibe of the neighboring Princeville township, you might consider Hanalei, located about 10 minutes away. Whether you’re looking to spend a day or your entire vacation there, Hanalei has some great offerings from excellent lodging to wonderful restaurants and attractions. And, for even more guidance on Hanalei and the surrounding area, check out our North Shore Driving Tour!
Places to Stay in Hanalei
There are several awesome places to stay in Hanalei, most of which are upscale resorts. If you’re looking for a resort experience, Hanalei Colony Resort is a mostly open-air establishment, which is excellent since you’d hate to feel cut off from paradise in a stuffy hotel.
For a traditional resort experience, you can try Hanalei Bay Resort on the east end of town across the Hanalei Bridge. If you’re looking for somewhere with a more beachy vibe, look into Hanalei Surfboard House. For a more affordable cottage experience, you might check out Hanalei Dolphin Cottages.
Nothing but the beach and the sky | Photo by Jason Weingardt
Places to Eat in Hanalei
There are plenty of awesome places to eat in Hanalei, where prices are also more affordable than in neighboring Princeville. You’ll find almost any cuisine you could hope for in the downtown and surrounding area from Mexican to Italian to a variety of Asian foods. Here is a list of available eateries:
- The Dolphin Restaurant
- Post Cards Cafe
- Cafe Tumeric
- Trucking Delicious
- Tahiti Nui
- Hanalei Wake Up Cafe
- Kalypso Island Bar & Grill
- Chicken in a Barrel
- NorthSide Grill & Sushi
- Hanalei Bay Pizzaria
- The Hanalei Gourmet
- Federico’s Fresh Mex Cuisine
- Hanalei Poke
- Pat’s Taqueria
- Bar Acuda
- AMA Restaurant
- Hanalei Bread Company
Have you tried the famous Coconut Shrimp in Hanalei | Photo by Jeffreyw
Getting Around Hanalei
For a few months at the end of 2018, Hanalei was somewhat difficult to reach from certain areas following a landslide that covered several sections of Kuhio Highway, however, the town is now fully accessible once again.
For getting around town, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are able to get you from point A to point B without any trouble. However, if you’ll be leaving town, you might consider a car rental, since you might not be able to get an uber back into Hanalei once you’re dropped off. Kauai also has a public bus system that costs $2 per ride.
There’s plenty to do in Hanalei and the surrounding area. In this section, we’ll cover all the attractions you might want to stop by during your stay in Hanalei.
Hanalei Bay is a great place to spend some time. Waioli Beach Park takes up most of the bay’s shore and features two miles of beach and coastal lava rock ridges. The swimming at Hanalei Bay is usually excellent since the crescent shape helps calm the waters. However, during the winter, swells do increase to the point of being dangerous causing strong riptides and currents to form.
Hanalei Bay at dawn | Photo by Jarred Decker
Kauai’s North Shore, where Hanalei is located, is full of outstanding beaches. Keep in mind that most of these beaches are not swimmable during the winter when swells create dangerous conditions. You can find the aforementioned Waioli Beach Park right in the center of town. Across the Hanalei Bridge on the east end of town, you might consider Hideaway’s Beach, which has excellent snorkeling.
Waikoko Beach just west of town isn’t as long as others, but it’s also not as crowded. Just west of Waikoko, Lumaha’i Beach is absolutely gorgeous, but conditions are rough year-round. Even further west you’ll find Tunnels Beach, named for the underwater lava tubes that protect tropical fish for some of the best snorkeling on the island.
Surf's up at Hanalei | Photo by Frank Kovalchek
During the summer, Hanalei Bay is a great place to learn to surf, since the bay’s crescent shape protects it from larger waves. During the winter, the bay becomes a favorite surf spot for more experienced surfers since even the crescent shape cannot hold back the roaring winter swells.
If you’re looking for a great place to take a walk, the views from Hanalei Pier are breathtaking. You can sit beneath the pavilion and take in the coastal ridges or even jump in for a swim when the conditions are right.
Visit Hanalei Pier and share your best photos and experience | Photo by Jawed Karim
Hanalei Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ markets have become a huge part of Hawaii’s culture, and the Hanalei Farmers’ Market is an excellent example. You’ll find a large array of locally grown foods and handmade crafts from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm every Saturday.
In general, Hawaii has two seasons: a rainy winter and a dry summer. The winter occurs from November to March and the summer lasts from April to October. Average high temperatures during the winter range from 78 to 80 degrees and from 82 to 84 degrees during the summer. You’ll want to keep in mind that the northern part of the, where Hanalei resides, is quite a bit rainier than southern areas like Koloa or Poipu.
Lush green Hanalei Valley | Photo by Janine Sprout