Two Kauai rivers are unequaled in Hawaii and a third one takes you past an ancient fish pond. There are many ways to enjoy the rich history of each river on your Kauai vacation and surround yourself in majestic beauty. You can drive to each one by car and admire the view, walk along the shores and take advantage of popular Kauai activities including Kauai kayaking.
Wailua River – Hawaii’s Only Navigable River
The Ali`i (Chiefs) cultivated the area at the mouth of this 20 mile river that flows from Mount Waialeale to the Pacific. In the hills above King’s Highway (Route 580) which goes inland along the north side of the river, there are deserted heiaus, sacred birthing stones and meditative views of the river below. If you’re looking for a Kauai adventure, plan to kayak the river or take a boat tour to Fern Grotto.
Wailua Kayak Adventures offers rentals and tours. Our best recommendation is to go early in the day depending on the Kauai weather forecast. While the current is usually not strong, there can be windy conditions in the afternoon making for a challenging return. One of their most popular tours includes kayaking and a 45 minute hike to Secret Falls where you can dip in the water. When you take advantage of our Kauai deals this fall, be sure to ask our guest concierge for exclusive rates.
If you’re not looking for a physical activity like kayaking, you can take a boat tour to Fern Grotto that departs from the south bank. The huge rock amphitheater has wonderful acoustics and its misty walls offer the best conditions for ferns to grow. Smith’s has been offering these tours since 1946 that include live Hawaiian music and hula on the two mile journey up the river.
Hanalei River – Hawaii’s only American Heritage River
From our Princeville Resort rentals, you’ll cross the river on the century old Hanalei Bridge which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Turn left and follow the river past taro fields and the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.
At the entrance to Hanalei town you’ll find Kayak Kauai. There you can rent kayaks for a 24 hour period and enjoy the calm river on your own. The river banks are lined with Native Hawaiian Hibiscus and a great spot for bird watching. From the river you can paddle into Hanalei Bay past our Hanalei rentals and admire views of Makana Peak, also known as Bali Hai.
Hule`ia River – Visit Menehune Fish Pond
The Hule`ia River starts from Nawiliwili Harbor where kayak rentals are available from Outfitters Kauai. You’ll have sweeping views of the Ha`upu Mountain range in the background. Located only 20 minutes away from our Poipu rentals, this historical fish pond is over a thousand years old and a fine example of Hawaiian aquaculture. According to popular legend, the Menehune built this natural wonder in just one night. You can also view the Menehune Fish Pond at the overlook on the Puhi Bypass.
Have you toured Kauai rivers or plan to? We’d enjoy hearing from you!