Hanalei Bay, on Kauai’s North Shore, is a 2-mile half moon bay whose sandy shorelines are set beneath a majestic mountain range and rushing waterfalls. The beach is a favorite to many, especially since the bay is a canvas for endless ocean activity and play. In total, there are 8 public access points to the bay, which fall along both Weke Road and Kuhio Hwy. In this post, we will cover the main 4.
Black Pot Beach Park
What some may consider ‘The Pier,’ this beach is a favorite among locals and kids. It earned its name by the legendary big black pot that once resided in the park. It was used amongst the community to gather, cook, and celebrate the traditional hukilau catch (an ancient Hawaiian practice of net fishing). Even in the high surf months of winter, this part of the bay is usually safe for swimming, although always err on the side of caution. Camping is allowed in the grassy lawn to the right of the pier on weekends, and with a permit. The Hanalei river mouth borders the park, so when you tire of the ocean, you can take a paddle upstream. Surf and paddle board rentals are available in the boat yard behind the parking lot. On Tuesday-Saturday, Pat parks his food truck in the lot and dishes up some of the best tacos on the island. The end of the pier is a popular spot for simple in-shore fishing and has a constant flow of kids jumping off its pillars into the turquoise water below. The west side of the pier offers small and gentle waves, perfect for beginner surfers or those just wanting an easy ride.
Facilities: showers, restrooms, boat ramp, parking
Hanalei Pavilion Park
This beautiful beach, just west of Black Pot, has a large grassy field between the beach and the parking lot and a covered pavilion with tables. There is also a lifeguard tower here, which makes it popular for families with young children. It is a great beach for little ones and older family members, especially in the summer months, as the water tends to be calmer than Waioli Beach Park and is ideal for watching sunsets. Parking here is limited, so the recommendation is to arrive early to guarantee a spot. Parking is not allowed along Weke Road.
Facilities: showers, restrooms, parking, picnic pavilion, water fountain, bbq area
Waioli Beach Park
Located in the middle of the bay, this beach is fronted by a long stretch of green grass and looming Ironwood trees. There are three parking lots for this beach, all accessed along Weke Road. From East to West, the lots are broken down as Pine Trees, Bathroom's, and Grandpa’s. The lifeguard station and the 2-stall restrooms (hence the name) are located off the small Bathroom’s parking lot. Pine Trees is one of the better surf breaks along the 2 mile stretch of sand and the preferred break amongst experienced local surfers. This is not the place for swimming in the winter months and can even boost waves in the summertime. So be mindful of the water conditions and be sure to follow the posted signs. There is a river mouth here as well that often meanders down towards Grandpa’s, which makes for a perfect wading pool for the keiki. There is plenty of shade up in the grassy area if you wish to escape from the sun and a handful of picnic tables to enjoy your lunch at.
Facilities: showers, restrooms, parking, picnic tables, volleyball courts
Tucked in and discreet, this beach is off the highway towards the most western part of the bay. Due to very limited access and parking, Waikokos is almost always guaranteed to be relatively empty. Best to go in the morning and early afternoon due to the path of the sun, this summertime beach offers lots of shade and a beautiful alternative view of Hanalei’s crescent shaped bay. Although not ideal for swimming, the rocky lagoon’s crystal clear waters are the perfect place for wading in. Parking is off the highway just before you turn the corner to leave the bay and there are a few trails along the roadside. The trails tend to be steep and slippery when wet, so it is recommended that you keep your load light here; a water bottle and towel will do you just fine. The nearest restroom is located in Hanalei town so keep that in mind. This beach is perfect for some quiet time with a book and for small humans that want to splash around in shallow water.
Beachfront Living at Hanalei Bay
Living on the beach in the bay is something that most of us can only dream of. With only 54 houses that line the shores of Hanalei Bay, front row is hard to come by. But beachfront living can become a reality with the purchase of Hanalei Bay Villa.
5514 Weke Rd, Hanalei Bay (MLS# 296864)
Located on the western end of Waioli Beach Park, this 5BD/5BA estate was architecturally designed to provide the perfect views of the multiple world-class surf breaks and beaches of Hanalei Bay.