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The narrow one-lane bridge is like a gateway to the enchanted coast of Hanalei. Hanalei has a lot to offer for such a small place. If you blink twice, you would be in and out of the town that fast! yet, you'll find a small shopping center, some terrific restaurants, beach and ocean activities, historical sites, and a cultural art center.

Some sites you'll want to scope out:

* overlooking the bay on a tall bluff are the remains of an old russian fort. It's difficult to find, but knowing it's there adds a lot to your visit.

* Hanalei museum, one of hawaii's funkiest museums, is on the left at you enter the town. (be sure to go around back and check out the little outhouse-like shed that holds a few items. Purely a cultural experience!)

* Native hawaiian trading and cultural center is home to some authentic hawaiian crafts. But beware; don't get caught up with the touristy junk items available here. Upstairs is a fine co-op where local artists display and sell their arts and crafts.

* Waioli mission house museum is located on the way out of town. This is a must stop! you'll learn an unbelievable amount of history and anecdotes, not only about the mission house, but about the entire area and hawaii in general. If you're there on a sunday morning, do yourself a favor and go to the 10 a.m.. Service where you will be uplifted by a choir of rich voices singing enchanting hymns in Hawaiian.

Beaches in Hanalei

* Hanalei bay is known as one of the pacific's most perfect anchorages as it is still a favorite port of call for world-class yachts. It's a gorgeous bay and the hanalei river empties into it. The bay provides excellent sailing, surfing, and swimming.

* Lumahai beach, "twist of fingers, " is a beautiful beach but the riptides here are fierce. A word of caution - don't enter the beach unless the waters are very calm. Visiting hanalei will not only give you a truly magnificent bay, but it will provide the epitome of a north shore laid-back village. If you were forced to choose the most beautiful bay in all of Hawaii, Hanalei would definitely be one of your finalists.