Hanalei is famous not only for its laid back atmosphere but also for its incredibly beautiful bay. The bay is half-moon-shaped and ideal for swimming. Waves are by far not as high and potentially dangerous as further up north. The beach is spectacular, the sand soft, the beach itself wide and around a mile long. The bay also has a pier which is very popular with locals (and tourists) around sunset. If you want to enjoy the beach, it might be wise to bring an umbrella which you can get at most vacation rentals. There is absolutely no shade except in a small corner at the end of the beach.