Hanalei after the 2018 flood

The iconic Hawaiian town of Hanalei prevails through sun, storm and sweeping weather systems. Almost one year after the 2018 floods, Hanalei thrives as the heartbeat of Kauai’s North Shore. Pulsing to a relaxed rhythm of tropical splendor, this quaint town has barely skipped a beat.

In April of 2018 the North Shore of Kauai was dramatically affected by torrential downpours and flash floods. The intimate geography of Hanalei Valley proved as a bottleneck for nature’s power. In some cases, infrastructure buckled under nature’s pressure. Landslides covered roads. Water penetrated homes. Hanalei Bay swallowed debris. Yet, under the pressure of natural disaster, the Hanalei and greater community banned together. Despite the devastation, a strong sense of mana, ohana and aloha stood as the foundation upon which Hanalei has been rebuilt.

Hanalei today: Thriving as vibrantly as ever

Cruising through Hanalei, you would never guess that the April 2018 floods even happened. Streets are lined with cars looking for precious parking spaces. Sidewalks are strewn with smiling faces. And doors to stores, restaurants and tourism business are wide open. The town of Hanalei is as upbeat as ever— in it’s own lazy beach town kind of way.

Driving north from Princeville, The Hihimanu, Namolokama and Mamalahoa Mountains greet you as the gatekeepers to this magical valley. Waterfalls gush from their cascading slopes into Hanalei Bay, which captures your heart with its azure blue hue. At the bottom of the hill, the first establishment you reach is The Dolphin Restaurant, a renowned seafood eatery, respected as one of Hanalei’s oldest restaurants.

The Kauai Exclusive Dolphin Suites sit right behind The Dolphin Restaurant, skirting the serene Hanalei River. Conveniently located, these rare vacation rentals offer you an intimate and true North Shore experience.

Hanalei Town itself offers shopping at boutique and local businesses, ocean sports rentals, tour agencies, refreshments, shave ice, gourmet coffee, a range of restaurants and even a popular food truck zone. Just a few blocks from this epicenter of quintessential tropical indulgence, lies the world-famous Hanalei Bay.

  • Hanalei town

Hanalei remains one of the most beautiful places on Earth!

Touted as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, Hanalei holds its majestic appeal in rain or shine. Oftentimes, it is the mixture of these two elements that creates the picture-perfect rainbow, framing a view too good to be true.

Access to Hanalei Bay remains open and accessible. The only area that was damaged during the floods was Black Pots Beach park, which is still under construction and off-limits. While Black Pots offered direct access to the iconic Hanalei Pier, you can still reach it by parking at one of the other official parking lots and walking along the beach. Other Parking areas and beach parks along Hanalei Bay have been expanded to accommodate popular demand.

The only other noticeable change in Hanalei is the road closure north of town. Due to massive landslides, reconstruction is still underway to repair the road to code and safety. Only residents with official permits are allowed beyond Hanalei Town towards Waineha and Haena. Hence, Hanalei is the new “end of the road”. Which, perhaps, is appropriate, as it is indeed the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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