Blackpot Beach is a family-oriented place and a popular hangout for as long as people have occupied Kauai. Usually, families gathered and camped out at the beach park, parking their vehicles along the beach to watch the surf and participate in tailgate parties that’d continue until dark. Beach fires and barbecues are still allowed, however after the Hanalei flood in 2018, vehicles cannot park or drive along the beach anymore since the sand washed away and reduced the beach to half of its size. Also, many trees have been cut down, camping is no longer allowed and new parking areas, showers and bathroom facilities have been built.
What's in a Name
“Blackpot” was named because of a large iron cooking pot once located in the park and used to cook meals for community events and gatherings.
Directions and Parking
Black Pot Beach Park is located on the Southern side of Hanalei bay at the end of Weke Road. When driving into Hanalei town turn right on Aku Road and go all the way until it ends in Weke Road (which runs parallel to the beach). Turn right on Weke until it dead-ends at Black Pot Beach Park by the river mouth.
The Hanalei Pier is an ideal surf spot for beginners, but there is no lifeguard tower and it can often get crowded with surf lessons on both sides of the pier. If you are an experienced surfer and can paddle out almost a quarter of a mile into the surf, you will find one of the best waves on the island called the Hanalei Bowl. At the bowl there are three main breaks, the Point, Flatrock and the Bowl. It is an expert only surf spot during wintertime and often crowded with skilled surfers where a nearly perfect long right wave peels and barrels.
During the summer months, it is great for longboarding and intermediate surfers, where two more mellow surf breaks appear called Summers and Futures paddling south towards the Saint Regis hotel. During the winter swells surfing the “Bowl” is exclusively for expert surfers. The conditions can be extremely dangerous since the waves can rise up to 30 feet with little warning, there has been a few drownings during big wave surf advisory days and the closest lifeguarded tower is at Pavillions Beach Park almost a mile away.
The Bowl is one of the home breaks of surfing legend Laid Hamilton who is a pioneer and innovator of newer sports like tow-in surfing, stand up paddling and hydrofoiling. Before paddling out, always check out the surf conditions with the Hanalei Bay Resort Webcam.
Casting a line from the Pier is a fun and beautiful experience. Waiting for fish to bite under the pier’s shade watching the breathtaking views of the bay’s green mountain ridges and perpetual waterfalls while the sun sets behind Mount Makana, commonly known as “Bali Hai” from the classic movie South Pacific.
Other popular activities include sailing, swimming, walking the bay and stand up paddling from the ocean and through the Hanalei River. During the summertime, the pier gets busy with boat tours that go to the Napali Coast, if you are lucky you may spot a pod of spinner dolphins jumping around or swimming through the bay. If you have small children or minimum swimming skills, you will find the calmest spots to play in the shallow sandy waves in between the Pier and the river mouth.
There is a large new parking lot area with clean restrooms, outdoor showers, trash cans and recyclable bins. The sheltered picnic areas are spread out through the extensive grassy fields and former campgrounds. During the weekends it is a popular meeting spot to surf, barbecue and it is allowed to have bonfires on the beach. Driving down towards the river there is a public boat ramp used to launch fishing boats and kayaks to paddle on the surf or at the Hanalei River.
A few trees hug the edge of the park and a half dozen picnic tables are sheltered under gazebo style roofs, also the pier has shade and a couple of picnic tables under its laminated ceiling.
If you are planning to spend the day at the Pier, bring food and plenty of water since the closest place to shop is Big Save Supermarket in Ching Young Village in Hanalei tow where there are many restaurants that offer take out services like Chicken in the Barrel, the Village Snack Shop & Bakery and the Aloha Juice Bar.
Did you know?
The Hanalei Pier is a historical landmark that was originally built of wood before 1892 to help Hanalei farmers move their crops to the market. On April 5, 1824, King Kamehameha II’s royal yacht, Pride of Hawaii, sank near the mouth of the Waiʻoli River after its crew struck a reef a hundred yards offshore. It is believed the captain and crew were drunk at the time. A large section of the ship’s hull washed ashore in 1844, but most of this historic wreck remains buried in silt in the bay. In 1995–2000, archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History recovered more than 1,200 artifacts. During this excavation, a 40-foot section of the stern was discovered, documented, and then re-buried where it was discovered.
The KORE’s Beach Days (Kauai Ocean Recreation Experience) get underway every first Saturday of the month. KORE was created by a passionate group of Kauai watermen, water women, firefighters and physical rehab therapists to help Kauai residents with family members with physical challenges or special needs to learn to surf with the assistance of trained professionals. KORE’s Beach Days have grown into a monthly event with over 400 participants and volunteers working together to make the beach and ocean accessible to all.