Hanalei, Hawaii

Hanalei, Hawaii

Hanalei is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kauai County, Hawaii, United States. The population was 478 at the 2000 census. Hanalei means "lei making" in Hawaiian. Alternatively, the name Hanalei also means crescent bay, and may be indicative of the shape of the bay..


Hanalei is located at (22.206653, -159.500713), near the mouth of the Hanalei River on the north shore of the island of Kauai.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km²), of which, 0.6 square miles (1.7 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it is water. The total area is 20.73% water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 478 people, 193 households, and 115 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 736.7 people per square mile (283.9/km²). There were 303 housing units at an average density of 467.0/sq mi (180.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 57.11% White, 18.41% Asian, 2.93% Pacific Islander, 0.42% from other races, and 21.13% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.81% of the population.

There were 193 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size is 3.10.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 30.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $34,375, and the median income for a family was $55,750. Males had a median income of $31,500 versus $28,500 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $21,241. About 21.9% of families and 25.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.1% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.


  • Hanalei was the backdrop of the 1958 musical film South Pacific. Scenes were filmed in the town itself and at a beach to the west.
  • Those who explain the Peter Paul & Mary song "Puff, the Magic Dragon" as a marijuana metaphor explain that Puff's homeland "Hanah Lee" is actually the town of Hanalei, which, according to them, is renowned for its marijuana. (This interpretation has been rejected by the song's authors). The cliffs on the side of the beach are said to look like a dragon.
  • The town in Lilo & Stitch is based on Hanalei.


Hanalei is served by the Hawaii Department of Education. Hanalei Elementary School is located in the community.


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