Hanalei Bay Beach is located at the base of cliffs. These cliffs reflect into the glass-like water of the bay. Surrounding the bay are 1,000- to 4,000-foot-high (305 m to 1,219 m) mountains covered with mist. Behind it, waterfalls provide a breathtaking backdrop. The bay is so beautiful that the enamored Japanese author Haruki Murakami wrote a short story about it called “Hanalei Bay.”
Coral reefs grow at both ends of the bay – Pu‘u Poa Reef at the left end and Waikoko Reef at the right end – while the middle part is scattered with shallow sandbars and tiny patches of coral. In the summer, boats and yachts anchor at Hanalei Landing, a pier located in the middle of the bay.
Though Hanalei Bay is generally good for a wide range of activities, from swimming to kayaking to windsurfing to yachting, it is subject to high surf and strong currents in the winter months. High surf from mid-October through March creates strong rip currents and pounding shorebreaks. Waves of 20 feet (6 m) and more are not uncommon. For surfers, the biggest waves are at a spot called "Pinetrees," which is near the center of the bay.
Swimmers should go to the northernmost part of the bay where the water remains calmer. But during very high surf conditions, the beach is closed to swimming. On the west end of the bay, the Waioli Stream flows into the bay, filled with chilly water that it collected high up in the mountains.
Hanalei Bay Beach is well-known for its beauty, yet it never gets too crowded. At 125 feet (38 m) wide and 2 miles (3.2 km) long, the white-sand beach has enough room for everyone.
Hanalei Bay Beach Kauai