Best Beaches in Hanalei, Kaua‘i

The best beaches in Hanalei are along Hanalei Bay & Waikoko Beach, all excellent for sun, sand, and surf. Hanalei Bay is big, popular, and full of conveniences, while Waikoko is smaller and less-crowded but still located close to the main area’s amenities.

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay is a crescent-moon-shaped, nearly two-mile long stretch of unbroken white sand beach consisting of several different spots that make up the heavenly stretch. The bay was used as one of Kaua‘i’s three main ports until recently and is still visited by large yachts. Constructed in 1912 for rice transportation, the pier on the right side of the beach is now utilized mostly by children, who love to jump off of it, and by fishers, who enjoy lazing on it with a pole.

Rocks jut out of the sand at Hanalei Bay on Kauai's northern shore.
Hanalei Bay on Kaua‘i’s northern shore. Photo © Stephen Minkler/123rf.

To the left of the pier is Queen Reef, and to the right is King Reef. Surfing for both experts and beginners takes place here, along with body-boarding, sailing, swimming, and stand-up paddling. At the end of Weke Road between the pier and river is Black Pot. The name refers to the days when a large black pot was always cooking over a fire on the beach here with a big meal for everyone to share. Nearby and mauka (on the mountain side) of Weke Road is the headquarters of the Hanalei Canoe Club. You will see the sign when driving in, along with the sign for a shave ice wagon.

West of that is Hanalei Pavilion by the pier, recognizable of course by the large pavilion on the side of the road. Farther west and roughly in the center of the bay is Pine Trees, a popular surf spot for local children and families. Access to Pine Trees is at the end of He‘e, Ama‘ama, and Ana‘e Roads. It’s a good place to watch locals surf or take surfing lessons yourself. More access is available nearing the west end of the bay before the bridge. Hanalei Pavilion and Pine Trees both have lifeguards, and all of these spots are county-maintained and have showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and grills. When in Hanalei, turn off of Highway 560 onto Aku Road right before Ching Young Village. Turn right on Weke Street, and near the end you’ll see the beach where the pier is. Turn left onto Weke and then right onto He‘e, Ama‘ama, or Ana‘e Road to reach Pine Trees.

Waikoko Beach

Located at the west end of Hanalei Bay is Waikoko Beach and surf break. Another white-sand beach with black rocks dotting the area in the water and on the beach, it can be a less-crowded place to hang out, perhaps because the number of visitors here is limited by the roadside parking. To get here, look for the small parking area on the side of the road after the bridge and mile marker 4. If a spot is available, look for the short trail through the trees.

Travel map of Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

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