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Wailua River – Kauai

Kauai is the only island in Hawaii that has navigable rivers, and of the several that are on Kauai; the Wailua River is by far the most popular. Grab a kayak and treat yourself to one of the best river adventures around. Enjoy lush rainforest, waterfalls, amazing wildlife and extraordinary scenery.

 

Where to Find Wailua River

 

Located around15 minutes north of Lihue, on Kauai’s East Side, this 20-mile long scenic river will takes the kayaker through a number of amazing sites and settings. Some of these include seven different heiau (temples), two very unique and popular waterfalls: Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls, and much more. The river can be best enjoyed by kayak or outrigger canoe. For those who just want to sit back and enjoy everything without paddling themselves boat tours are available.

 

Open Air Boat Tours

 

As mentioned above, there are open air boat tours available for you to enjoy on the Wailua River. There are a few different tours to choose from, including one that explores the Fern Grotto, which is a natural lava rock cave sheltered by draping ferns, which is a popular wedding spot on Kauai. Also, make sure you don’t miss the Nounou Mountains (Sleeping Giant), which is a formation on a mountain ridge between Wailua and Kapaa that looks like a human figure lying on its back. This is truly a spectacular experience.

 

By Car

 

Believe it or not, the Wailua River can also be enjoyed by car ride, although maybe not to the fullest. If you are interested in enjoying the river by car, then take Kuamoo Road (Hwy. 580) and that will be the best route to take you along the river. Make sure to stop at all the historical and scenic sites while driving through the Wailua River area.

 

There are other navigable rivers on Kauai, all of which offer a unique experience of the island. However, none are as popular or as majestic as the Wailua River. This is a “must do” activity when you find yourself on Kauai. The river is 20-miles long, so if you are going to kayak yourself make sure you set plenty of time aside to get all the site seeing you want to accomplish in.

 

It may even be best to park two cars, one on each end of the Wailua River so that you can take the river route and end up at your second car. Otherwise is will be a forty mile kayak journey.

Hawaii Tourism