Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is nearly 3 miles long and set in one of the most picturesque locations in Hawaii with majestic mountains in the background. When the surfs just right it turns into Disney Land for water enthusiasts. Experienced surfers are offered large waves at a reef on the right hand side of the bay.

It is the largest bay on Kauai and is bordered by a white sand beach 125 feet wide. The beach is located between Hanalei River to the east and Waipa River to the west. Three rivers, Hanalei, Waioli, and Waipa, cross the beach, mixing some stream-carried sediment into the beach sand at the east and west ends. Most of the beach, however, is clean, white sand. The ocean bottom slopes gently to overhead depths. Several shallow sandbars are located in the center of the beach. Large coral reefs are found only at the ends of the bay, Pu’u Poa Reef to the east and Waikoko Reef to the west. Some smaller patch reefs are found in the center of the bay.

Three beach parks are located on Hanalei Bay: Black Pot Beach Park, Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, and Wai’oli Beach Park. Each of them has restrooms, showers, and parking. Several public rights-of-way are also located along the bay. Black Pot Beach Park borders the mouth of the Hanalei River and is also the site of a public boat ramp and a 300-foot-long pier, the former Hanalei Landing.

Closer in, at the pier, the waves lose energy and are perfect for beginners. Variably sized waves are served at the middle sections good for body boarding and intermediate level surfers. Hanalei Bay is never crowded and offers plenty of room to play. Unfortunately the weather and surf don’t always cooperate. Winter storms can bring chaotic ocean conditions, with run-off from rainfall sometimes dirtying the water. Storms and rainfall can also change the beach’s sand by littering it with debris and rocks.