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Located approximately four miles west of Princeville on Kauai’s North Shore. Hanalei is a beautiful, peaceful town known for its timeless beauty. Hanalei means “let making” in native Hawaiian, and is filled with many things to see and do, from art galleries and ukulele concerts to tours of private taro farms. After spending a day taking in the town’s history and culture, kick back and relax while enjoying one of the stunning Hanalei sunsets over Hanalei Bay.
Things to Do in Hanalei
One of the most popular gathering spots in Hanalei is the historic Hanalei Pier, which was built in 1892 and is a place where locals go swimming, fishing, and play music. The pier also has some Hollywood history, thanks to being featured in the 1957 film “South Pacific.” At the foot of Hanalei’s green mounts are vast taro fields, which are used to make poi – a signature Hawaiian dish featured at luaus. Ho’opulapila Haraguchi Rice Mill is a non-profit agrarian museum located in the wetland taro fields of Hanalei that was purchased by the Haraguchi family in 1924 and offers exclusive guided tours. During the tour, visitors learn about Hawaii’s agriculture and cultural history, observe endangered native water birds, and explore the different uses of taro in food. The visit ends with a picnic lunch featuring unique dishes made from taro. Hanalei is also home to many art galleries, featuring the works of its community of artists, artisans and craftsmen. Hanalei has numerous handcrafted gifts and specialty art shops, offering a variety of goods such as glassware, paintings, and woodwork made from rare koa wood. Take in a ukulele concert at the Hanalei Community Center, then visit the Waioli Mission House to learn more about missionary life in the 19th century.
Day Trips Near Hanalei
If you’re looking to check out more art galleries, Hanapepe Town is the art capital of Kauai. The rustic, plantation-style village is an hour drive to the south of the island and has more fine art galleries than any other place on the island. On Fridays the town celebrates Art Night, which is when local studios and galleries open their doors for the public to enjoy art. Princeville, which is just an 11-minute drive north, is another popular spot on Kauai to visit and relax. Kapaa over on the East Side of the island is another great place for shopping and a 40-minute drive by car. Lihue is just an hour away and is Kauai’s capital city, which is where the airport is located. It also has a variety of beaches and natural wonders to see, and is the island’s major commercial center.
There are many private homes ranging from one to three bedrooms located right on the beach in Hanalei, and they are conveniently located walking distance to the town. The family-oriented neighborhood of Hanalei Palms is located at the heart of Hanalei Beach, and just two-minutes from the Hanalei Beach Pavilion Park. Kilauea is close to Hanalei and the North Shore with two nearby beaches, and is a quiet and laidback town with a few convenience and natural food stores that are easily accessible.
Transportation in Hanalei
The most convenient way to get around the island at your own leisure is by renting a car, which can be done when you arrive at Lihue Airport. Taxis are also available, but they are limited when it comes to travel convenience. Many locals use the Kauai Bus, which services the island from Kehaka to Hanalei, and two of the bus routes stop daily at Lihue Airport.