Best Hanalei Attractions

Kauai North Shore Sights

Kauai’s enchanting north shore is a place of incomparable beauty, and the town of Hanalei certainly makes it even more so. Green taro fields, verdant mountains adorned with waterfalls, historic sites, unforgettable beaches, and charming shops and art galleries all beckon to be explored. Hanalei may have a small population (~450 in 2010), but its personality is enormous will delight everyone. Wondering what should be on your checklist when you visit? Then let’s take a look at our Top 5 Things to Do in Hanalei

Hanalei Beach

Located at what may be one of the most picturesque locations in the entire state, this crescent-shaped beach features a gorgeous backdrop of lush majestic mountains hugged by low-lying clouds. It is so beautiful, in fact, that it appeared in the classic film South Pacific. Take a stroll along the historic Hanalei Pier, relax, and enjoy the stunning vistas around you. 

Aerial view of Hanelei Bay on Kauai

Aerial view of Hanelei Bay on Kauai

Limahuli Garden and Preserve

This lush 17-acre botanical garden is nestled in an emerald valley and is framed by the Pacific Ocean and the gorgeous Makana Mountain in the background. It is filled with a wide variety of tropical plants at every turn; one of the most spectacular areas is the taro gardens which grow on ancient lava rock terraces. Proudly named the Best Natural Botanical Garden in the U.S. by the American Horticultural Society, this national treasure is a great place to take a tour and learn about the importance of soil, water, and rare plant conservation. It is most certainly a memorable experience. 

Hanalei Valley Lookout

This spectacular spot vies for first place among the ‘most photographed’, ‘most famous’, and even ‘most attractive’ locations on the entire island of Kauai. We do know it’s the most enchanting, though, with beautiful waterfalls, lush taro fields, and even a rainbow or two. The postcard-perfect view seems to change colors with the variations in cloud and weather conditions, making it seem even more magical (if that’s possible). Make more than one stop, if you can. 

Wai`oli Hui`ia Church

This picturesque church is the most photographed building in Hanalei. Founded in 1834 by American Christian Missionaries, the original structure was a pole and thatch meeting house. By 1841 a timber and plaster building was erected and the Mission Bell was added two years later. The present structure dates to 1912 and features American Gothic architecture and is on the National Register of Historic Places. This lovely green building with exquisite stained glass windows still has an active congregation whose choir sings hymns in the Hawaiian language. 

Wai`oli Hui`ia Church in Hanalei on Kauai

Wai`oli Hui`ia Church in Hanalei on Kauai's North Shore

Take a Tour

Whether by land, by sea, or by air, Hanalei is always sure to please. Head off-road on an ATV, go mountain biking, take a hike, snorkel with Hawaiian sea turtles, watch spinner dolphins, go kayaking, ride a zipline through the treetops, and even soar over the valleys in a helicopter. Hanalei and Kauai have some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world- get out there and explore them with one of our amazing travel packages!

Honorable Mention

Visit the art galleries and do some shopping- The picturesque center of Hanalei Town is filled with many historic buildings that are home to several local businesses. Wander through the art galleries featuring local artists, do some shopping for hand-made jewelry and other great gifts and souvenirs, then stop for a coffee, some ice cream, or a delicious lunch. Hanalei Town is the ideal place for a stroll. 

Hanalei Bay and Pier

Hanalei Bay and Pier

So there’s our take on the Top 5 Things to Do in Hanalei. This tiny town is a true gem on the island of Kauai; we know it will make for an unforgettable stop on your tropical journey.

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Article Edited/Contributed by: John C. Derrick & Michele Lopez
Published/Updated:

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