Hanalei Pier

Hanalei Pier - Gorgeous Views and a Rich History
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

A gorgeous place with a rich history, Hanalei pier is not to be missed when visiting Kauai. Stroll to the end of the pier to see the amazing view and catch a sunrise or sunset, or stargaze. If visiting during the day, bring your bathing suit to spend time on the beach and splashing or surfing in the gorgeous water.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Hanalei Pier is a gorgeous attraction that should not be missed when visiting Kauai. It’s a beautiful spot to take photos, have a picnic, watch the sunset, and stargaze. The surrounding beach and water are also inviting for water sports, surfing, and beach play. This iconic landmark is located on the north side of the island in Hanalei Bay.

Visiting this pier not only allows you to take in the surrounding natural beauty but also allows you to experience a piece of history. Added to the National Register of Historic Places listing in Hawaii in 1979, the Hanalei Pier was originally built of wood around 1892. The pier was needed for the export of rice, which was a fast-growing industry in the area at the time. Iron railroad tracks and a freight storage warehouse were added to the pier in the early 1900s and in 1912, the pier was lengthened and reinforced with concrete to keep up with the demands on the pier. 

The tropical climate caused the wood deck to deteriorate, so a new and longer concrete deck, as well as a corral for shipping cattle, were added in the 1920s. In 1933, the pier was no longer needed for shipping rice, as cheaper rice was being grown in California. This is when the pier became a gathering place for the people of Hanalei. A roof was built at the far end of the pier in the 1940s. In 1957, Hanalei Pier was used in the classic film, South Pacific, paying homage to the important role the pier has played in Hanalei Bay history.

Unfortunately, Hanalei Pier became heavily damaged during Hurricane Iniki in 1992. It took some time, but funds were raised and the pier was restored. The canopy was finished in 2013. When you visit the pier, look closely at the end of it, as you will still see remnants of the original tracks.

Today, Hanalei Pier is still a place that brings people together. Locals and tourists enjoy spending time here. When you come to the pier, you might see fishermen dropping their lines in the water, families relaxing on the beach, and surfers riding the waves. Be sure to bring your bathing suits so that you can experience the water. It’s shallow, so you can wade out quite a ways and it’s also a good place for beginning surfers.  Pack a picnic, or be on the lookout for food trucks, as there are many picnic tables around the pier. You can also bring a blanket and have your meal on the beach. 

There is parking available near Hanalei Pier, and it’s not a long walk from the parking lot to the pier if you just want to stop by for a quick stroll. From the end of the pier, a gorgeous view awaits. You can see the north shore and surrounding mountains. You can even see waterfalls rushing down the mountains, a true treat. The sunrise and sunsets are gorgeous here and if you come at night, you can also enjoy gazing at thousands of stars.

Insider Tip:
Hanalei Pier is the most crowded on summer weekends. Consider visiting on a weekday or in the off-season if you would like a more peaceful experience.