There are changes afoot at exquisite Hanalei Bay, previously named one of the best beaches in America by Dr. Beach. The bay still rocks with its sparkling blue clear water and spectacular mountain backdrop. Visitors flock to where The Descendants was filmed looking for the beachfront house in the movie. A new canopy has been placed over the pier thanks to a community effort spearheaded by the Rotary Club. A park extension near Black Pot Beach is in the works and a master plan is now due to be completed any time.
Summer Guide to Hanalei Bay
1. Best Tips for Avoiding Crowds
Drive to the end of the road near the river and park close to the pier at Black Pot Beach with its iconic view. There also side street park if the lot is full. Walk between there and the middle beach where the crowds are far fewer. Look behind you and you may spot the house and hedge featured in The Descendants. As you look down the broad stretch of white sand you’ll see many people congregating close to the pavilion. There’s no need to be one of them. Enjoy your space and put down your towel.
Tip: A lot of families hang out at Black Pot Beach and there is camping by permit on weekends. This is a good place to picnic and for the kids to have fun when they get tired of the beach. We don’t suggest actually swimming at Black Pot because it borders the Hanalei river and the water is usually murky.
2. Superb photo opportunities are had at the rebuilt pier.
The amazing mountain backdrop makes this location the perfect spot. You’ll also get a chance to see kids (and adults) jump from the pier into the water. Sunset is most popular for photography at Hanalei Bay and you’ll often see informal beach weddings.
3. Surf can pick up between the pavilion and the second lifeguard station.
Between Hanalei Pavilion and Pine Trees further down, the surf tends to pick up a bit and you need to watch for rip currents. Use caution depending on conditions.
4. Picnic tables, BBQ’s and restrooms at Wai`oli Beach (known here as Pine Trees) score high with us.
This is close to the lifeguard station and is normally quieter than Black Pot beach near the pier. Even though you don’t have quite the mountain view, it’s still spectacular looking out to the vast ocean.
5. Kauai Snorkeling at Waikoko Beach.
Located on the highway between mile markers 4 and 5, this area is great for snorkeling when calm. It has a protected reef and is shallow.
6. Brace yourself seriously for the restrooms – either just a bit, or a lot longer.
Unfortunately, the best beach in the USA still has the worst restrooms you’ll find anywhere, especially those at Black Pot as well as those at the pavilion and at pine trees. Beat of Hawaii couldn’t be more disappointed in the County of Kauai for this deplorable situation. We brought friends there last week and even with our forewarning, they were utterly appalled by the situation.
7. Summer Activities at Hanalei Bay.
Numerous activities take place throughout the summer that you won’t want to miss. Two coming up tomorrow are:
Luau at Hanalei Bay Canoe Club. July 29, 2017. Includes food, hula, fire dancing, canoe rides and live music.
Hanalei Swim Challenge. July 29, 2017. Includes a race course for kids and also the 1K and 3K event. Named one of America’s Top 100 Open Water Swims by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
If you have anything new to share about Hanalei Bay Beach, please add your comments. And if you see us swimming at Hanalei be sure to yell, Beat of Hawaii! We’re regular long-distance swimmers each summer. You won’t be the first to see us there, and we’ll be glad to meet you.