Hanalei Bay picture
Hanalei Bay
1 of 4
M.M. Sweet/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Recreation, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Hanalei Bay is located about 4 miles southwest of Princeville, one of the island's premier resort areas. Hanalei Bay is composed of three different beaches: Waioli Beach Park, Hanalei Beach Park and Black Pot Beach, the latter of which is sandwiched between the historic Hanalei Pier and the mouth of the Hanalei River. Travelers say they didn't notice much of a difference between the three beaches, noting that unless there are signs posting otherwise, it's safe to swim. Lifeguards can be found at multiple points along the beach and bathroom facilities are also on-site. And just a few blocks south on Kuhio Highway, travelers will find many more amenities, including dining options, shopping, as well as various water sport rentals, including kayaks and catamarans. If you're looking to surf in Kauai, know that this spot is loved by locals.

It's important to note that while Hanalei is safe for swimming, conditions vary by season. Travelers who visited during winter said that the waves were a lot rougher, while those who came in the summer said the waters were calm. Always pay attention to signs posted by lifeguards and never swim at night. There are no set hours for Hanalei Bay and it is free to visit, even if you're not a guest at one of the bay's hotels. Because the beach is so big, visitors say the beach doesn't get too crowded, but warned that there isn't a whole lot of parking in the area, so be sure to get there early to score a spot. And even if you're not up for swimming, surfing or boating, travelers say the beach's unparalleled beauty  especially considering its sweeping views of the nearby mountains – are more than worth the journey. For more information on Hanalei Bay, visit the Hawaii tourism website

See all Hotels in Kauai »

More Best Things To Do in Kauai

Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park
Napali Coast
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 8
#1 Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park

Waimea Canyon, aptly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," should be at the top of every traveler's itinerary. This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is awash with spectacular scenery difficult to find elsewhere on the Hawaiian islands. Here, you'll find craggy red cliffsides and crested buttes blanketed in lush, evergreen vegetation as far as the eye can see, with waterfalls and rivers dotted in between. Most travelers who visit Waimea Canyon choose to take in the sight by car, as there are multiple lookout points situated along Koke'e Road, including the popular Waimea Canyon and Puu Hinahina lookout points. If you're hoping to explore outside your car, there are trails in the canyon that range from easy to difficult. Many trailheads can be found off of Koke'e Road, with some, including the Cliff Trail Lookout and the Waipo'o Falls Trail, accessible from the Pu'u Hinahina lookout point. 

While at Waimea Canyon, be sure to pop over to the equally stunning Koke'e State Park. What makes Koke'e Park so interesting is that despite being right next to Waimea Canyon, the park has a completely different makeup. Koke'e Park occupies thousands of acres of rainforest, and as such produces a different microclimate (the farther you drive up Koke'e, the colder it gets). Like Waimea, travelers commonly explore the park via car, as the main road through Koke'e cuts through the park. While here, be sure to visit the Kalalau Lookout and the Pu'u O Kila Lookout for stunning views of the Napali Cliffs. If you want to get even closer, consider taking the Awa'awapuhi Trail, which takes hikers to the edge of some of Napali's famous cliffs. Another trail worth trekking is the Alakai Swamp Trail, which spends more time going through the park's rainforest. Wherever you decide to hike, whether it's in Waimea Canyon or Koke'e, bring proper hiking shoes to avoid falling from the slippery mud often found on Kauai trails. 

Read more
maximkabb/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Kauai »

Explore More of Kauai

Recommended

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019

The 16 Best Seattle Tours

Explore the Emerald City's natural beauty and urban offerings with these guided excursions.

Lyn MettlerJune 12, 2019

The 24 Best London Tours

Whether it's your first time in London or you're a repeat visitor, you'll experience a side of the city you've never seen with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJune 6, 2019

The 21 Best Paris Tours

Enhance your visit to the City of Love with one of these top tours.

Claire LawtonJune 5, 2019

The 20 Best New York City Tours

These guided tours help make the most of your time in the Big Apple.

John RodwanJune 4, 2019

The 24 Best Rome Tours

Enjoy the efficiency of an organized tour led by experts who bring Rome's history to life.

Kyle McCarthyMay 31, 2019

The 8 Best Savannah Ghost Tours

Prove you're not afraid of the dark by taking one of these terrifying tours.

Gwen PratesiMay 31, 2019