Hanalei Vacation Rentals
The Beauty of Contrast
One of the most adored areas on Kauai is the two mile crescent beach of Hanalei Bay. The idyllic town of Hanalei is surrounded by a stunning backdrop of 4,000 foot verdant cliffs that are frequently shrouded by rain clouds and draped with a myriad of waterfalls. The bay itself has silky smooth white sand beaches that seem to go on for ever. Hanalei Bay is home to some of the best swimming, surfing and paddle boarding on the island.
A Patchwork Valley of Taro
Hanalei town once the location for rice plantations has evolved to a Taro crop today that produces more Taro than any other place in the Hawaiian Islands. Taro is used to make poi and numerous other food products that were and still are the mainstay of many Hawaiian’s diet. The largest taro acreage in the district is within the boundary of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and consists of approximately 125 acres. The fields are constantly irrigated with water and are grown in patches giving the valley floor the impression of a patchwork quilt.
The Hanalei River meanders along the only road that leads to Hanalei, passing below the one lane Hanalei bridge, the iconic entry way to this quaint island town. One of the area’s favorite eateries, a fixture in Hanalei since the 1970’s, is the Hanalei Dolphin restaurant and Fish Market which rests at the rivers edge as one enters Hanalei. Patrons of the restaurant and fish market can relax on the outdoor patio while enjoying island favorites like fresh fish ceviche or the Dolphin’s famous stuffed mushrooms while watching the local canoe club paddlers, kayakers and paddle boarders cruise the river.
During the summer months sailboats make their way from all over the world to drop anchor in picturesque Hanalei Bay. The historic Hanalei Pier reaches into the pristine waters of the bay providing a gathering place for visitors, fisherman, artists and photographers. Not a day goes by without a pack of local children and “young at heart adults” poised for their jump off this famous Kauai landmark.
Love to Surf or Want to Learn?
Due to the sandy bottom and gentle waves Hanalei Bay is also the perfect place to learn how to surf. Surfing instructors and outfitters can be found near the pier. In contrast to the idyllic summer conditions, winter time brings a transformation from pristine and calm ocean conditions to huge and dangerous surf that attract big wave riders.
Romance is in the Air
An evening stroll along the soft warm sands of the Bay while the sun slowly sets behind “Bali Hai” provides the perfect ending to an epic day spent in Hanalei. While Hanalei Bay has the reputation for being one of the most romantic settings on the Island and attracts many desiring simple beach weddings, the town of Hanalei also provides another option for picture-perfect weddings at the historic landmark, the Waioli Mission church built in 1912.
Hanalei: An Eclectic Mix
The town itself is an eclectic mix of salt of the earth farmers, new age artists, camera-toting vacationers, laid-back locals, surfers, shop keepers and even an occasional resident movie star. Shopping in Hanalei is as varied as the populace itself. Surrounding Ching Young Village, the center of commerce in Hanalei since 1906 and the adjacent Hanalei Town Center, one will find everything from classy eateries to Taco stands, t-shirt shops to high-end boutiques, local grocery to health food stores, Hawaiian variety stores to fine art galleries as well as local real estate and vacation rental offices and the ever-present beach rental and activity huts.
Don’t Forget the Shave Ice
The town center provides sidewalk tables where visitors can take a break and enjoy a refreshing local favorite “shave ice” in a rainbow of delectable flavors. Exotic tropical fruit and locally grown produce are featured at the Hanalei farmers market at the far end of town every Tuesday afternoon at 2pm and Saturdays at 9am.
Getting to some of the beaches beyond Hanalei can require a little more effort. Lumahai Beach for example can be found at the end of a short, steep hike where Mitzi Gaynor washed that man right out of her hair in the movie “South Pacific”. In the summer, Lumahai Beach offers tide pools, a large white sand beach for beach combing and great swimming and coastal views, however it can be treacherous during the winter months due to high surf and rip currents.