Swim And Watch The Sunset At This Stretch Of Hawaiian Coastline With Views Beyond Belief

When you picture a tropical paradise in your head, it very likely looks like the postcard-worthy stretch of beach, and the pier that welcomes exploration, at Hanalei Bay. Located on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai, it helps explain why Kauai is just one of those islands that feels exotic, and it's the perfect place to embrace that vibe with long walks on the beach, an ocean swim, and playtime for the kids.


The "Garden Isle" is known for many things, but Kauai is an especially great destination for travelers who seek outdoor adventure and immense natural beauty. Of course there's the iconic waterfall used as a backdrop in the filming of Jurassic Park, or thrilling helicopter rides that offer the best views of the Nā Pali Coast and "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific," Waimea Canyon. Then there's tubing on the river, storybook landscapes, ziplining, and sunset cruises. You can take tours, cram in a multitude of stops as you traverse the island, and make reservations for the most popular restaurants. On the other hand, you can keep it simple with a visit to a lovely beach with a view.

Hanalei Bay Beach and Pier

In every direction, Hanalei Bay offers views. To the west, the bay is the largest on Kauai, and the ocean extends to the horizon. To the north and south, the breathtaking, golden Hanalei Beach stretches on for around two miles. The beach is deep, too, providing around 125 feet for beachgoers to stretch out with blankets, take a stroll, or play frisbee. Looking inland, or mauka (towards the mountains), visitors can take in views of the lush landscape and mountain peaks.


Adding to the quintessential vibe of the landscape, the Hanalei Pier juts 340-ft onto the water, with a pavilion covering the furthest section. Originally covered in wood planks, the rotting surface was replaced in 1922 and made to ensure resilience against the elements with a concrete deck. Originally used as a launching point for ships taking rice from Hanalei to Honolulu, the pier has remained as a historical relic for the locals and tourists to enjoy.

Amenities and activities in Hanalei Bay

As with most popular locations on the Hawaiian islands, parking can be an issue during peak times. There are three separate beaches that make up the area of Hanalei Bay (Hanalei Beach, Black Pot Beach, and Wai'oli Beach), each with their own parking areas. There are also amenities for a sunset picnic, such as picnic tables, barbecue grills, and covered areas. Each beach features restrooms and showers, too — which you might need after an afternoon of water activities.


Hanalei Bay offers more than an idyllic crescent-shaped beach and a pretty view. The bay actually provides calm swimming areas for the family to enjoy. Wai'oli Beach is known as a surfer's beach and is a bit rougher than the other two. Speaking of which, it's a choice place to fine tune your surfing moves or do some bodyboarding at sunset. Then again, you might just want to stand in the ocean or take in a few yoga moves on a SUP board while you watch the sun go down. Whatever your style, Hanalei Bay provides the ideal location.