Hawaii’s Fabled Island Near Hanalei

Frolic in the autumn mist at Hanalei Bay on Kauai!

Surrounded by emerald green mountains and silvery waterfalls, Hanalei Town is enchanting. The mountains, colossal spires rising straight up from lush valleys, tower over the quaint town shrouding it in misty mountain tops.

Driving into Hanalei Town, a feeling of vibrancy overcomes me. People riding bikes, walking and barefoot surfers carrying surfboards line the sidewalks. Cute little stores on either side of the road offer art, clothes and souvenirs. Enticing scents waft from restaurants inviting you in for lunch or dinner. Shave ice stands promise a sweet, cool down to the afternoon heat.

Hanalei Bay, where Puff the Magic Dragon lives, is the largest bay on the North Shore of Kauai. My folks and I had the great fortune to “frolic in the autumn mist” as the sun set over the fabled Bali Hai. Great waves thundered down casting spumes of white spray. The droplets, suspended in the air, made it seem foggy from a distance and magical in the bay.

Surfers from all over the world come to surf Hanalei Bay’s large surf in the winter; the day of our visit the waves had 20 foot faces. Princeville, a resort community, overlooks the Northeast entrance to the bay and the outrageous Laird Hammilton, known for pioneering big wave surfing, lives here in the winter.

The historic pier, built in 1892, is a favorite gathering place for residents to fish, swim and play music. In the center of the bay, a lifeguard station stands sentinel; the white sandy beach stretching in either direction. Picnic tables and park benches are spread over the manicured grass; huge ironwood trees shade bodies enjoying the serene setting.

Hanalei gets ample rain and sunshine making the mountains and fields a super saturated green and giving it a classic fantasy island look. Any time of year, the play of light dancing off the mountains, ocean, green fields and waterfalls is sure to calm your soul and ease your mind.

The best thing to do is plan a day snorkeling in the bay or watching the surfers play. Go into town and have some lunch, do some shopping and time it just right so you can get a shave ice and watch the sunset over Bali Hai.

Posted by: Bruce Fisher