Small Hawaii Town Has it All – Beaches, Mountains, Family Activities and Night Life.

Hanalei town is nestled between the mountains and the sea on the north shore of Kauai. Amazing scenery, great dining and shopping, and a well-protected blue ocean bay make this a Hawaii vacation paradise. Hanalei is also home to interesting historic structures and cultural sites. There is  even a wildlife refuge where you can see rare native Hawaiian waterbirds in their natural setting.

See the Taro Patches from Hanalei Valley Lookout

Taro, Hanalei Valley

Many people get their first view of the area from the Hanalei Valley Lookout atop the hill across from the Princeville Shopping Center. From the Lookout you can gaze over Hanalei River and the green expanses of taro fields stretching all the way to the base of the mountains. When you head down the hill and over the Hanalei Bridge you will get a closer look at taro’s large heart-shaped leaves.

These taro leaves are used in the traditional Hawaiian luau to wrap the pork lau lau before it is cooked in the imu, an underground oven created with heated rocks. Another food you may see at a luau is poi which is made by mashing up the underground portion of the taro plant. Poi has been a staple food of Hawaiians for many centuries and today Hanalei is Hawaii’s taro capital!

Hanalei Shopping and Dining – From Ching Young to Tahiti Nui

The commercial center of Hanalei Town is relatively small yet there are lots of great shops, restaurants, art galleries and even a grocery store. You will find everything from boutiques selling bikinis to exceptional dining and fine art. The offices of Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty are on the right side of the road just as you enter town. Please feel free to stop in and say Hi!

There are many gems among the shops of Hanalei, including many eclectic offerings amidst the vintage storefronts and green and red tin roofs. Hanalei Strings offers an assortment of fine Hawaiian-made ukuleles as well as hand-dyed yarns. You’re also likely to see some of the local “fiber artists” knitting and sharing tips.

Grab a slice of pizza at Ching Young Shopping Center, or head across the street to Bar Acuda for tapas and wine. Having forged relationships with the local farmers and fisherman, Bar Acuda is known for its innovate cuisine using a variety of fresh, local ingredients.

Just down the road is the Tahiti Nui lounge, a local landmark where you can quench your thirst and often see live, local-style music. Tahiti Nui was the site of filming for George Clooney in The Descendants, a movie that also features scenes on Hanalei Bay. There are lots of places to dine in Hanalei town yet it’s small enough that you can just browse around and choose what matches your tastes.

Hanalei’s Historic Structures

Hanalei town has a rich past that is still reflected in its historic structures. Just past town on the left you will see the picturesque Waiʻoli Church built in 1912 and is notable for its unique architecture and fine stained glass windows. The original Waiʻoli Church dates to 1841 and is still standing behind the new church. Even further back on the property is the Waiʻoli Mission House built in the 1830s, also fully restored and now offering guided tours.

Hanalei Bridge and Hanalei Pier

Two more historic structures in Hanalei are the pier and the bridge. Hanalei Bridge was built in 1912 and still serves as the “gateway to Hanalei.” The bridge has been reinforced and restored several times yet still retains its original character. Since it is still a one-lane bridge, a bit of bridge etiquette is required when passing (you have to wait your turn).

Hanalei Pier was originally constructed in 1892 and since then has been modified or reconstructed various times. The pier and surrounding area serve as a popular community gathering place for  swimmers, picnickers, surfers, fishermen and sight seers. Today it is a great place to take a surfing or stand up paddle boarding lesson. When enjoying Hanalei Bay make sure to follow all Kauai Ocean Safety Tips.

At the foot of the Hanalei Pier is the beach park known as Black Pot which was named long ago after the pot used to cook the plentiful fish caught in these waters. Movie buffs will recall scenes of the Hanalei Pier and the bay in the 1957 film classic South Pacific.

The Hanalei Pier. It’s currently under restoration.

During the last year Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty has been very active in fundraising efforts to rebuild the shed structure at the end of the pier and this community-led project is currently underway.

Kauai Vacation Accommodations and Real Estate Services

If you are considering buying a home in Hanalei or on Kauai you can see some of the island’s best real estate deals by browsing through the Coldwell Banker Bali Hai Realty Kauai Real Estate Galleries, view Kauai Acreage for sale, or use the Map-Based Kauai Home Search.

For the finest quality Kauai vacation rentals including luxury estates, condos, cottages and beach villas, see our Kauai Vacation Rental Galleries or use our new Map-Based Vacation Rental Search feature.

Also please feel free to give us a call. The Bali Hai Realty staff will be happy to help you find the perfect Kauai property, home or vacation rental. We can also assist you in the process of buying or selling a Kauai home or land. We offer the highest level of personalized Concierge Services to help you plan your Kauai vacation activities.

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  • gil rocha


    just 4 more weeks and i will be there with my wife,, its been too long since we visited, can hardly wait, aloha.

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