Pavillion Beach Park, What to Expect

Pavillion Beach Park, What to Expect

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Mary Winnick

Mary Winnick is a writer, editor and web project manager based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She operates on two simple assumptions: Everyone has a story to tell. And a story well-told will always find an audience. Her work is characterized by exceptional clarity, depth and insight – no matter the topic covered. Haiken writes for AFAR, Forbes, Via, Yoga Journal and many other national magazines and websites. To view other articles on Hawaii by Mary click here.

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Pavillion Beach Park is located on Kauai’s North Shore right in the center of Hanalei Bay. The bay is the largest on the island, stretching out for nearly two miles of sandy beach with the gorgeous backdrop of the Hanalei Mountain ridge and it’s perpetual waterfalls. During the winter, it is one of the best places to surf in Kauai with over 10 surf breaks to choose from for all level of surfers. After May, when the waves go to the South side, the bay gets glassy and calm. It is a popular place for swimming and canoe paddling where sailboats from around the world moor in the bay for the entire summertime. Pavillion’s is a perfect spot for beginner surfing enthusiasts, swimming and boogie boarding. There is a lifeguarded tower, places to barbecue and bonfires on the beach are allowed. The Hanalei Pavillion is available for public use scheduling ahead of time through Parks and Recreation.

What’s in a Name: Hanalei means “lei making” or “crescent bay” in Hawaiian, the name suits the bay because of its bow shape.

Directions and Parking: Pavillions Beach Park is located on Weke Road, in the center of Hanalei Bay.  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 heading towards the Hanalei Pier  and you will find Pavillion’s beach park on the left side.

Beach and Watersports: The surf break across Pavillions beach park, is a sandy beach break ideal beginner surf and bodyboarding enthusiasts and a popular spot for surfing lessons year-round.  In the winter months, be aware of rapid changing surf conditions and dangerous waves closing out over shallow spots. During the summer, it is great for swimming, watching the sunset or beach walking along the beautiful bay and it’s breathtaking views.

Facilities: Pavillions Beach Park is a family-oriented place with public parking, payphone, clean restrooms, outdoor showers, lifeguarded towers, water fountains, barbecue areas, groomed grassy areas, sheltered picnic tables and benches with trash cans and recyclable bins.

Shade: There is a large shaded area under the Pavillion’s roof with a few picnic tables and benches. There are a few trees scattered around the park with a couple of picnic tables spread out across the large grassy areas. There is no shade at the beach, it is recommended to bring a beach umbrella.

Food: There are freshwater fountains in the park, but if you are planning to spend the day at Pavillions bring food since the closest place to shop is Big Save Supermarket in Ching Young Village in Hanalei town.  There are many restaurants in Ching Young that offer take out service, like Chicken in the Barrel, the Village Snack Shop & Bakery and the Hanalei Bay Pizzeria.

Historical Fact: Every year, the students at Hanalei Elementary School celebrate the Makahiki Games at Pavillions. The Makahiki games were the ancient Hawaiian version of the Olympics, contestants included trained athletes, Ali’i (Royalty) and commoners. The appearance of the star Makalii, also known as the Pleiades, in the eastern sky would mark the Hawaiian New Year and the start of the Makahiki season. The contests helped warriors to stay active and prepare for wartime, and like at the Olympics, the games encouraged good sportsmanship, friendly rivalries and gave people the opportunity to bring honor to their family and hometowns.

Annual Events: Every year at Pavillions, the Lifeguards run the Keiki and Junior Lifeguard free program. A fun weeklong event where local kids from 8-17 pre-register to learn about ocean safety awareness and valuable life-saving skills.

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