Hanapepe: Kauai’s Biggest Little Town

By Hawaii.com Team

Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz.

Hanapepe’s main drag looks like a clip out of an old Western movie. Someone counted more than 40 structures that have been standing long enough to be listed on state or national historic registers. Of course, the paperwork has never been done.

Fine Art Galleries


Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Hanapepe claims to be home to more fine art galleries than any other place on the island. There are at least eight galleries and a touring children’s theater listed among the gift shops and restaurants that make up the business section of this river town.

Each  Friday night, from 6 to 9 p.m., artists open their galleries to the public and put on a fine community open house.

Tenacious to Its Roots

hanapepe valley

The Hanapepe Valley as drawn by Alfred Thomas Agate.

Hanapepe is a town that has held tenaciously to its roots. It looks just as it did when Asian immigrant entrepreneurs developed it over a century ago. Moviemakers love this town. Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, for example, featured its historic buildings.

There is a garden honoring the late U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga, a peace advocate who grew up in Hanapepe. The Children’s Garden of Peace is adjacent to the Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe.

Hanapepe’s Famous Swinging Bridge


Photo courtesy of Steve.

If you’re interested in an informed walking tour of this teeny town, there are maps available from most merchants. Many people start their walk at the swinging bridge on the east side of the business district, but begin anywhere, you’re not likely to get lost.

To find Hanapepe, turn off Hwy. 50 at a sign that reads “Kauai’s Biggest Little Town.”


Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz.

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