Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The north shore of Kauai is not necessarily known for its touristy white-sand beaches, but Hanalei Beach might be the best exception. The crescent bay is a well-known attraction for both locals and tourists, and it has plenty of soft, fine sand and space to spread out. The waters are azure and calm in the summer months, and the the bay is frequently speckled with sailboats moored offshore. When the winter wave swells arrive, Hanalei Bay becomes a favorite location for surfers. Kayak, surf, and paddleboard rentals are offered by the pier at the eastern end of the bay, while the beach park is primarily located at the opposite western side. Most of the crowds gather around Wai'oli Beach Park, but just walking further down the beach opens up plenty of space with no crowds. There are also beach access paths located along Weke Road between quaint cottages in a sleepy neighborhood. Any of these paths lead to even quieter portions of the beach toward the middle. 

The wetlands around Hanalei were once used by ancient Hawaiians to grow crops such as taro, with the pier at Hanalei Bay helping farmers export their crops to other islands. Today the beach and pier are a favorite gathering place for fishermen, beachgoers, swimmers, and watersport enthusiasts. Take a look out into the bay to see locals rowing in traditional canoes. Behind the beach is a phenomenal view of the jagged high peaks such as Mount Mamalahoa and Namolokama, with their towering waterfalls visible from miles away. Hanalei Bay may be one of the most picturesque beaches in Hawaii with its amazing views both landward and seaward. After hitting the beach, enjoy a stroll through the touristy shops in Hanalei town, grab a freshly opened coconut, or sip a mai tai on the lanai of restaurant as the sun sets.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Broad sandy beach. Soft sandy bottom. Plenty of space.


Large winter swell.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions


Picnic tables
Family friendly
Flushing toilets



Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.