Hawaii December 19, 2015
Why Everyone In Hawaii Should Visit This One Tiny Town
With a population of little more than 470, Hanalei has got it all: a charming small town vibe, pristine white sand beaches, magnificent, lush surroundings, a plethora of shopping and restaurant options, as well as an impressive dedication to the spirit of Hawaii and cultural preservation. There is no doubt about it – this serene Kauai town is perhaps the coolest small town in all of Hawaii, and is a must-visit for anyone who wants a uniquely Hawaiian experience.
Located on Kauai’s north shore, visitors must cross the single lane Hanalei River Bridge to enter the charming town.
While in Hanalei, you will be surrounded on all sides by luxurious valleys…
…rugged cliff faces…
and the most stunning white sand beaches on the island.
Oh, and the sunsets over the bay are second to none.
One of the town's most famous landmarks is the Hanalei Pier.
Built in 1892, the iconic pier has been a popular gathering place for residents to fish, swim and even play music.
In town, you are sure to find a unique mix of shopping; stores include country stores, clothing boutiques, and even mysticism retailers.
You can browse the town’s many art galleries to find local art, as well as carvings made from native Hawaiian woods.
The restaurant scene is surprisingly robust for such a small town.
Visitors and residents alike can enjoy greek fare at Mediterranean Gourmet, upscale tapas and drinks at Bar Acuda, and deli sandwiches at The Hanalei Gourmet. You can also find the best ice cream around at Pink’s Creamery.
If you are interested in Hawaiian culture, be sure to visit the Waioli Mission House and Church.
The church’s landmark green shingles and stained glass windows have become synonymous with Hanalei. In 1837, the house was the home of early Christian missionaries, and was restored in the 1920s. Inside, the clock, which was installed in 1866, still keeps perfect time.
Adventurers will love renting surfboards, paddleboards, snorkel gear, or kayaks from any of the town’s adventure outfitters.
The picturesque town is also home to much of Hawaii’s taro production, and is a National Wildlife Refuge for endangered waterbird species, including the koloa (Hawaiian duck), and the ‘alae ‘ula (moorhen).
While many people choose to stay at a resort in neighboring Princeville, the best way to experience all that Hanalei has to offer is to stay in one of the town’s peaceful bed and breakfasts, or any number of vacation rentals.
Bonus Fun Movie Fact: Hanalei has also been the backdrop for several film productions, including the 1958 musical, South Pacific, which filmed scenes in the town itself as well as neighboring Lumahai Beach.
Many scenes from The Descendants, starring George Clooney, were filmed near Hanalei, and on the beach at Hanalei Bay.
Hanalei was also mentioned in “Twin Peaks” as the residence for the town psychiatrist and his wife.
Have you been to Hanalei? Or is there another small town in Hawaii we have got to profile next? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.