A Sunset Visit to Hanalei Pier

Hanalei Pier at sunset
Hawaii Aloha Travel > Blog > A Sunset Visit to Hanalei Pier

Hanalei Bay Pier has become a popular and iconic Kauai hangout over the years. Teens cannonball into the waters below, fishermen cast out lures, and tourists chill under its pavilion.

It’s a favorite spot of mine whenever I’m on the island – I come to slow down and cool off with a mid-day plunge into the Pacific. The waters are always inviting and can be a crystal-clear turquoise dream in the summer. 

Dusk, though, is my favorite hour at the pier. Hanalei sunsets are floods of color. From the grayest blues to the whimsical purples to the fiercest oranges, the magical hues instantly enhance anyone who sees them. 

The History of Hanalei Pier

The pier itself goes back to the late 1800s, when Hawaii’s rice era sparked its construction. With Hanalei as one of the islands’ major rice-growing areas, the workers used the pier to unload goods that arrived by ship once a month. In order to meet the thriving rice industry, the pier eventually needed to be lengthened and reinforced with concrete in 1912.

Today, if you look closely, you’ll see remnants of iron railroad tracks at the base of the pier. These helped shuttle rice from one end to the other. A freight storage warehouse was once connected to the tracks on the beach – it stored farm and food supplies from steamer boats anchored offshore.

The canopy at the end of the pier was restored in 2013, thanks to a fundraising effort by The Hanalei Rotary Club. 

Hanalei Pier in Kauai

Black Pot Beach Park

While the warehouse no longer exists, the beach and the pier do. Black Pot Beach Park draws large crowds of locals and visitors almost every day. The name comes from a big, black iron pot once used for cooking fish caught during a hukilau. During such time, the community would gather in Hanalei’s waist-high waters and use their handmade nets to capture schools of meandering fish. 

Hanalei Pier: A Local Landmark and a Hollywood Star

The pier has since become an important landmark and is on both the Hawaii and National Registers of Historic Places. It’s also became a Hollywood icon after appearing in Bird of Paradise (1950) and South Pacific (1957). Luckily, this was all filmed before Hurricane Iniki damaged the 340-foot pier in 1992. It has since been fixed and continues to be a gathering place to be enjoyed by all.

HANALEI PIER • Hanalei, Kauai