Loved to death Hanalei Bay Kauai gets unnecessary exposure

Loved to death Hanalei Bay Kauai gets unnecessary exposure

No one loves Hanalei Bay Kauai more than the three editors at Beat of Hawaii. This is our local home beach in the summer and a place we return to again and again. Recently, the national press also praised Hanalei.

Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice places the beach at number 4 on their list of the 25 best beaches in the US. The only other beach in Hawaii with a higher score is Kaanapali on Maui, which is in first place. Travel and Leisure magazine also wrote about Hanalei this week, calling it the “jewel in the crown” of Kauai.

But things are changing from our perspective. We still think of Hanalei Bay as quintessential Kauai, if not Hawaii, and it was easy to see why. The laid-back surf town of Hanalei is an example of a local community that endures by sticking to its roots.

Hanalei, loved to death I was not it looks like this during spring break.

Hanalei Bay Kauai - Beat of Hawaii Photo

Your editors spent time over spring break and took day trips to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. What we found was nothing short of amazing, as in our featured photo above. We had never seen so many people in Hanalei Bay. Although we weren’t Pollyanna, expecting the beach to be empty, it felt more like Waikiki Beach than Hanalei Bay. Our memories go back to another time, like the photo above that we took before COVID.

The first indication of trouble was on arrival at Black Pot Beach Park, where we couldn’t find parking in either the front parking lot or the big new spillway. We ended up parking along Weke Road, which is a good option if you don’t block a driveway.

If you’re planning to visit Hanalei in the summer, here are tips on how to avoid those crowds.

  1. Drive to the end of Weke Road near the river and park near Hanalei Pier at Black Pot Beach Park with its iconic view. This is still the best choice for parking. And as mentioned, off-street parking is another option if the lot is full.
  2. Walk between the pier and the first lifeguard station to the middle beach where the crowds are much less. We see most people congregating closer to the pier (including surf lessons) or the lifeguard station, leaving the sandbar between the two less congested. This has always worked for us. This is also the case in the area between the Savior and the Pines.
  3. There is a new grassy area at the Black Pot which is a good place for a picnic and to keep the kids entertained when they get tired of the beach. It is usually not overcrowded and has shade trees.
  4. Refer to the Hanalei Bay Regatta schedule for outrigger canoe teams competing. It’s definitely more crowded then and not easy or safe to swim around. The dates for 2023 are June 10, 17, 24 and July 8 and 22.
  5. Plan your visit early in the day or late in the afternoon.

More about Hanalei Bay Kauai.

Yet these indescribably beautiful views are seen in every direction, from the bay to Bali Hai (Makana) in the distance and the mountains behind. At nearly two miles long, Hanalei Bay is the largest on Kauai and is up to 125 feet wide at some points. The bay begins at the mouth of the Hanalei River, which borders Princeville on the east side. It goes to Waipa Stream from the other end.

It wasn’t just these latecomers who noticed the beauty of Hanalei Bay. Dr. Beach has featured it as one of the best beaches in America countless times.

We will say that the bay features sparkling blue water and on a good day the visibility can be incredible.

The new bathrooms work but are a big disappointment. As a result, temporarily or seemingly indefinitely, they will be supplemented by many portable devices.

Hanalei is popular not only on the beach, but also in the water with surfers, bay and river kayakers, and stand-up paddlers.

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