Destination Guide to Hanalei, Hawaii

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GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINI GUIDE

Hanalei, Hawaii
By Monk Media

WHY GO

Paradise found. Hanalei — not to be confused with Hanalee, home of that stoned, overgrown lizard, Puff the Magic Dragon — is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beach towns. Located on Kauai’s spectacular north shore and sandwiched between steep, green mountains and a turquoise bay, this place could take the edge off a razor.

WHEN TO GO?

It seems like a bit of an exaggeration to call this “weather.” Average high temperatures range from 79 in January to 82 in August. Cloudbursts are frequent in the winter, but after it rains you can often see more than a dozen waterfalls from town. Crowds peak during the summer, winter holidays and around spring break.

GETTING THERE AND AROUND
Kauai’s major airport is at Lihue. From there, catch the Kauai Bus, grab a rental car or hitchhike (legal on Kauai) north to Hanalei.

BEST ATTRACTION
When you’re born on a surfboard and you grow up in Hawaii, you learn to rip. After kindergarten gets out for the day, go watch the grommets ride 10-foot waves at the mouth of Hanalei Bay.

MOST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION
The Blue Room is one of the strangest and most amazing places in Hawaii. Less than a mile before Road’s End, west of Hanalei, a dirt turnout marks the beginning of a short trail. The trail leads up through the jungle to a gaping cave filled with mineral water that has leached through its porous basalt ceiling. At the back of the cave is a chamber which, during the day, is illuminated by bright blue light passing through the water below. Don’t let the “Biohazard” sign at the cave’s entrance deter you.

Hawaii sunset. photo:robandcindy.net

Hawaii sunset. photo:robandcindy.net

BEST ACTIVITIES
Catch a wave in Hanalei Bay, take a zodiac ride (800-422-7824) along the coast, paddle the Hanalei River or take a hike in the rain — not necessarily in that order.

BEST LODGINGS

  • Mahikoa’s Hanalei Bay Inn
    Tel: 808-826-9333
    Located on the west side of town across from the school, is laid back, relatively inexpensive and just two blocks from the beach.
  • Bed, Breakfast and Beach
    Tel: 808-826-6111
    More expensive but definitely lives up to its name.
  • There is also good camping up the coast from town. However, to avoid being harassed by the fuzz, you must first get a camping permit back at the Division of State Parks (Tel: 808-241-3444) in Lihue. The permit office is only open from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday. So plan ahead.

BEST EATS

  • The Hanalei Wake-Up Café offers great breakfasts in a mellow, local atmosphere.
  • Carnivores shouldn’t miss Bubba Burger, which serves huge slabs of beef at suspiciously low prices.
  • Shave Ice Paradise serves 17 flavors of traditional shave ice and is a must-visit on a hot Hawaiian afternoon.

BEST RESOURCES

hiohwy.com/h/hanalei.htm

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