While in Kauai, one of my favourite places we visited was the town of Hanalei. This laid back old surf town felt like home, like it was a place I should have been born in. It is by far one of the number one places I would re-visit in my life. Situated amongst the mountains and not too far of a drive to the beach, the town is the perfect mix of all of the beauty of Hawaii. To get there, there are a lot of one way bridges which, to a local may seem completely reasonable and safe, but to a tourist can seem absolutely danger ridden. With no stop signs or lights, the bridges have ‘unspoken’ rules for drivers to follow and let me tell you, in the dark they’re damn near impossible. I’d recommend visiting the town in the day and staying over a night- not only because of the tourist driving difficulty but because of the fun bars! Here is a list of fun places to stop in on while you are traveling Hanalei. I loved them all and took away the best memories!
Hanalei For the Yogis:
Hanalei is a small town on the north shore with plenty of history, shopping, dining and old surf vibes that you can’t pass up when traveling Hawaii. Its got a hippie- artsy feel to it which I absolutely LOVED. The first place I was enamored with seeing was Yoga Hanalei Studio & Boutique. It sits in this open air shopping complex in front of huge mountains with waterfalls in the distance. The whole trip I was curious about teacher trainings on the islands. In the future, I’d love to complete my 300 hour teacher training and I’ve been scoping out places to do just that. For anyone visiting, this studio excited me more than most I’ve seen. They had a bunch of drop in classes at multiple levels and multiple teacher trainings that look really in depth & fabulous. I grabbed all the brochures I could and they now are living in my ‘dream box’. Check it out if you’re in town!
Hanalei For the Nature Lovers:
We came to the town originally to meet up with Andrew’s family for some drinks. We ended up pulling over on the side of the muddy road just outside of town because a beautiful rainbow appeared over the mountains. It was something out of a movie. Just incredible. Below that rainbow are taro fields (we were clearly slightly trespassing). Taro is an important staple to (traditional) Hawaiian meals (it is used to make Poi) and the fields are revered and absolutely beautiful. When we were finished gawking at the beauty and surely trespassing on someones property to take pictures, we carried on into the town.
Hanalei For the Fun-Lover
One of the first places we stopped into was Tahiti Nui-that famous George Clooney tiki bar. It looked like walking into a history of happy people drinking and celebrating together. Its a really cozy old tiki bar where many famous people have stopped by and where the movie The Descendents had scenes filmed (with George Clooney in them). Opened in 1963, the bar has kept its 60s/70s surf vibe feel and is a true original tiki bar.
By far one of the best favours you can do yourself is getting a Mai Tai at the Tahiti Nui. On their menu this is what it says:
“FOUNDER OF TAHITI NUI, AUNTY LOUISE MARSTON CREATED THIS SECRET ORIGINAL RECIPE. TAHITIAN FRIENDS WOULD SIP THIS COCKTAIL AND SAY “MAI TAI ROA AE” – TAHITIAN FOR “OUT OF THIS WORLD, THE BEST!”
Let me tell you, this is the best drink I’ve ever had. It was amazing. They also serve Hawaiian beer (which Andrew loved) and a bunch of great food.
Probably one of the best parts about Tahiti Nui is that they have live Hawaiian music every night. I love Hawaiian music- you can’t hear it without smiling and feeling at peace with everything.
Hanalei For the Shopper
If you love Billabong, Roxy, Volcom and Quicksilver- go to Hawaii, now. I swear every shop I went to, I could’ve bought everything. Hanalei was no exception. Not only is the shopping fantastic- the stores look fantastic. Keeping with the old surf town vibe, the shops look sort of artsy, each with its own character. There are lights strung up between shops giving it a calm twinkly look. One of our favourites were Hanalei Strings which had a podium for live music and tons of ukeleles and small instruments. There was also a dog in there which is mainly what I was focused on.
Hanalei For the Food/Ice Cream Lover
Now, I’m no expert, but Hawaiian ice cream is the best ice cream ever. Seriously, they do it right. I had a waffle cone with chocolate ice cream and it was AMAZINGLY fantastic. The only downfall is that you are in Hanalei on an island so you have to eat it quick otherwise you just have a mess. Shave ice in Hanalei is also incredible- my favourite is with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom and banana shave ice on top. YUM.
One of the coolest places which I didn’t have a chance to eat in was the Hanalei Bread Co & Coffee Shop. It was a cute little bakery with a seating area and porch. It smelled like fresh bread and pastries. Let me tell you, I will be returning there. It was perfect for anyone who loves sitting in coffee shops!
Hanalei was the coolest little surf town and I recommend everyone go, at least once!!
If you have any other suggestions for when I return please let me know!!