Hanalei Pier and Black Pot Beach Kauai Hawaii

Hanalei Pier (Black Pot Beach Park), Kauai: Complete 2024 Guide!

Hanalei Pier, or Black Pot Beach Park, is one of the most popular beaches on Kauai’s scenic north shore, and both visitors and locals flock to this beach on weekends.

One of three beach parks on the large Hanalei Bay, Black Pot Beach Park is located on the eastern side of the bay, with easy access to the lovely Hanalei Pier.

The Hanalei River flows into the ocean on the east end of the beach.

Black Pot Beach is among the very few beaches on Kauai that don’t have a Hawaiian name. It is reported to have got its name from a large black pot on the beach that was used to cook during gatherings.

Black Pot Beach Park in Kauai, Hawaii
Black Pot Beach Park in Kauai

With golden sands and views of the mountains to the west, Black Pot Beach and the Hanalei Pier are a must-visit beach for your Kauai itinerary.

We spend a few hours here on every summer trip to Kauai. It’s a convenient beach to visit, very near the town of Hanalei, and offers a variety of activities.

Let’s get started discovering how to visit Hanalei Pier and Black Pot Beach in Kauai, Hawaii!

Visiting Kauai? The only way to get a real feel for the rugged beauty of this incredible island is through a helicopter tour!

The Hanalei River at Black Pot Beach Park in Kauai, Hawaii
The Hanalei River at Black Pot Beach

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Black Pot Beach and Hanalei Pier Directions

Black Pot Beach Park and the Hanalei Pier are on the northern shore of Kauai, near the town of Hanalei.

Coming up from Lihue, take the Kuhio Highway (Hwy 56 and Hwy 560) past Princeville. Make a right on Aku Road and a right on Weke Road.

Parking for Black Pot Beach is at the end of the road, and the Hanalei Pier is a short walk (you can see it).

Use “Black Pot Beach Parking, 4997 Weke Rd, Hanalei, HI 96714” for Google maps or GPS.

Black Pot Beach Parking

There is a decent-sized parking lot on Weke Road where you can park, and limited parking on the side of the street.

There is quite a bit of parking here compared to many other Kauai north shore beaches, but even so, it will usually get full on the weekends, so arrive early.

Black Pot Beach and Hanalei Pier Map

The Black Pot Beach map below shows the location of Black Pot Beach, Hanalei Pier, and the main attractions nearby.

Black Pot Beach Access

It’s just a few steps from the parking lot at Black Pot Beach Park to the sand.

Black Pot Beach Reservations

No reservations are required to visit Hanalei Pier or Black Pot Beach Park.

Black Pot Beach Amenities / Facilities

Location: Hanalei Bay, north shore of Kauai
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grass areas, walkway, BBQ pits, covered pavilion, drinking water
Food Nearby: Pat’s Taqueria, a food truck by Hanalei Pier, or restaurants in the town of Hanalei
Parking: Free public parking lot
Directions: Highway 560 (Kuhio Highway) west from Princeville, right on Aku Road, right on Weke Road

Best Things to Do at Hanalei Pier and Black Pot Beach

Black Pot Beach Swimming

Black Pot Beach and Hanalei Pier are popular swimming areas in the summer and you’ll see lots of folks in the water on nice weather days.

But you’ll ideally want to swim away from the river mouth, where the waters can be murky at times from the Hanalei River emptying into the bay.

You can bring floaties and float on the calm waters of the bay as well.

Note that like other parts of Kauai’s north shore, the surf can get high and dangerous in the winter. Although the waters near Hanalei Pier are relatively more sheltered, it can still be too rough to enter the water.

There is no lifeguard at Black Pot Beach Park, so exercise abundant caution.

Enjoying Black Pot Beach is one of the best things to do in Hanalei, Kauai
People swimming at Black Pot Beach

Surf Hanalei Pier

The area by Hanalei Pier features relatively smaller waves in the summer and is the place where beginner surfing lessons are usually held.

In the winter, though, the surf is much rougher, and Hanalei Bay attracts experienced surfers at that time of the year.

Kayak or Paddleboard the Hanalei River

The Hanalei River is a popular place for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Rentals are available in Hanalei or sometimes even by the river at the beach.

Paddling the Hanalei River in Kauai, Hawaii
Paddling the Hanalei River

On this popular guided Hanalei Bay kayak and snorkel tour, you will kayak along the Hanalei River before heading out into the bay to enjoy the scenery and look for sea turtles.

You’ll end up at a snorkeling spot, where you can look for marine life underwater before heading back up for lunch on the beach.

>>> Check price and availability for this kayak + snorkel tour now!

Stroll Hanalei Pier

Historic Hanalei Pier dates back to the early 1890s, when it was originally built of wood. The current version, made from concrete, dates back to 1922.

Hanalei Pier was a filming location for the 1958 classic South Pacific, and more recently, The Descendants.

The pier is just 340 feet long, but it’s nice to walk to the covered canopy at the end and take in the views.

Hanalei Pier is a popular photo subject, especially at sunrise and sunset.

Stay Back for Spectacular Sunsets

Black Pot Beach Park and the Hanalei Pier are popular sunset viewing spots on Kauai’s north shore.

You’ll find both the beach and the pier crowded in the evenings, so arrive a little early to snag parking and find a spot from where to watch the sun go down over the water.

Sunset at Hanalei Pier in Kauai, Hawaii
Sunset at Hanalei Pier

Watch locals jump from Hanalei Pier

You’ll see local kids jump from Hanalei Pier into the calm waters of Hanalei Bay below, scrambling back up via a ladder bolted to the side.

We do not advise trying this, as the depth of the water is variable and people have been injured. Leave the backflips to the locals and enjoy watching the action.

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.
  • Check advisories regarding water quality at various beaches here.
Black Pot Beach Park at Hanalei Bay in Kauai, Hawaii
Black Pot Beach Park

Best Kauai Tours

Have you booked these top Kauai guided adventures yet?

Sunset catamaran tour of the Na Pali Coast (relatively more stable ride, insane views on good weather days!)

Doors-off helicopter tour of Kauai (unobstructed views, chance to see more of the island than you can by land, no middle seats!)

Kayak on the Wailua River plus hike to a waterfall (a super fun activity for active travelers, albeit a little muddy sometimes!)

Raft trip to the Na Pali Coast plus snorkeling (prepare to get wet on this exhilarating adventure!)

Eurocopter ECO-Star helicopter tour over Kauai (the most booked Kauai helicopter tour on Viator with close to 2K reviews and a 5-star rating!)

Entire Kauai Island Air Tour (super popular, less expensive than a heli tour, large bubble windows for flightseeing!)

Renting a Car in Kauai

The best things to do in Kauai are scattered all over the island.

Public transport options on Kauai aren’t great, so if you want to explore the island beyond your base, you’ll want to book a rental car for your Kauai trip.

We always use Discover Cars to book Kauai car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Kauai car rentals now!

Lihue Airport-Hotel Shuttle

Not planning to pick up a rental car at Lihue airport? Pre-arrange round trip transfer from the airport to your hotel and back!

This shared shuttle serves hotels or vacation rentals in Princeville, Kahala, Poipu, Kapaa, or Lihue, and then back again. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Kauai now!

Where to Stay in Kauai

Depending on whether you want a vacation rental with more room and the option to cook some of your meals, or you want a resort or hotel experience, and depending on which part of Kauai you want to choose as your base, you have a variety of options.

Since you’ll likely want to base in a couple places on your trip to Kauai, we suggest starting your search for Kauai accommodations by browsing vacation rentals on VRBO.

We have stayed in VRBO rentals in both Poipu and Princeville and find that the choice and quality are generally great.

>> Look for a Kauai vacation rental on VRBO now!

Want detailed recommendations for accommodations in Kauai? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best places to stay in Kauai!

Black Pot Beach Hanalei Bay Kauai Hawaii
Beautiful Black Pot Beach

More Kauai Travel Inspiration

Considering a trip to the Garden Isle in Hawaii? You’ll definitely want to check out some of our other comprehensive Kauai travel and attraction guides!

If you are a first-time visitor to Kauai, start by discovering the best things to do in Kauai! From beaches and botanical gardens to cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls, Kauai has it all, and our round-up lists all of Kauai’s must-experience activities and attractions.

Planning to split a week between Kauai and another island? We have a 3 days in Kauai itinerary article you must read to help flesh out what you would like to see and do!

Learn about the best things to do in Hanalei and Kauai’s scenic north shore, the best things to do in Poipu and Kauai’s south shore, and the most exciting things to do on Kauai’s Coconut Side or east side.

Read our in-depth guide to visiting the Na Pali Coast of Kauai. We give you the full scoop on the best ways to visit this stunning coast in the remote northwest of the island.

Discover our round-up of the nine spectacular state parks in Kauai, which house some of Kauai’s most treasured natural wonders.

We also have visitor’s guides to popular parks like Waimea Canyon State Park, which protects the namesake canyon, nearby Kokee State Park, and the remote but beautiful Polihale State Park.

Also check out the ultimate guide to visiting Haena State Park on Kauai’s north shore, and a full guide to hiking the epic Kalalau Trail.

Check out our round-up of the most beautiful waterfalls in Kauai, from waterfalls you can view from the road to falls that require hiking and falls that are best seen from a helicopter or sightseeing flight. We also have an article on everything you need to know to visit Secret Falls Kauai on an exciting kayaking and hiking tour.

Read our guide to Wailua River State Park to discover two easy-to-access Kauai waterfalls, and our trail guide for the easy hike to Ho’opi’i Falls. We also have an article on the best Kauai waterfall hikes.

And if a helicopter tour is part of your plans for Kauai, read our article on the top-rated helicopter tours in Kauai!

Hiking enthusiasts will want to read our article on the best hikes in Koke’e State Park: the trails here are some of the best hikes in Kauai!

We have detailed trail guides for the most popular Koke’e hikes, from the scenic Canyon Trail to the top of Waipo’o Falls, to the epic Awa’awapuhi Trail, challenging but very rewarding!

Also discover the best hikes in Waimea Canyon State Park, and the best hikes on Kauai’s north shore.

We also have a trail guide for the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail on Kauai’s scenic south shore, an article on how to hike the Sleeping Giant Trail, and a guide to the Kuilau Ridge Trail, one of the easy hikes on Kauai.

Get the scoop on the best botanical gardens in Kauai, from Limahuli Garden on the north shore to McBryde and Allerton Gardens on the south shore.

Read our guide to the best swimming beaches on Kauai, from Hanalei Bay on the north shore to Poipu Beach on the south shore!

We also have a guide to the best snorkeling beaches on Kauai, a round-up of the best Kauai north shore beaches, and an article on the best Kauai south shore beaches!

And if you love watching the sun go down in a burst of color, be sure to read our article on where to go for the best sunsets on Kauai!

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Discover the complete guide to the Hanalei Pier and Black Pot Beach Park on the north shore of Kauai. How to get here + things to do!

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