Kayaking on Kauai

Kauai’s Rivers

Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii: Hanalei River, Huleia River, and Wailua River. For those wanting to try some paddle boarding and kayaking, Kauai’s rivers offer a less strenuous and safer alternative to paddling out against unfamiliar ocean currents. This makes for a great activity for the kids, older individuals, or other inexperienced paddlers.

Hanalei River is located on the north Shore and runs right through large patches of taro fields and vegetation, until finally entering into Hanalei Bay; a perfect spot to recover after a 16 mile paddle down the river. From Hanalei, if you head down to the east side of Kauai, towards Kapaa, you’ll discover the Wailua River. It features two waterfalls: Wailua Falls and Opaekaa Falls. Wailua Falls drops from 85 feet high while Opaekaa Falls towers above at 150 feet high. As always, take proper precautions when venturing here. At the end of the river, you’ll come to the Fern Grotto, a historic cave filled with tropical plants and ferns that extend all the way from the ceiling. It is also a popular site for wedding ceremonies. If you are looking to dock here, do so before or after the arrival of the tour boats that make their regular stops throughout the day. Add 20 miles of paddling to that and the Wailua River provides more than enough to plan your water adventure. The next river down is the Huleia River, located in Lihue by the Nawiliwili Boat Harbor. It is home to the Menehune Fish Pond, which is over a thousand years old, and you’ll have the best seat to the Ha’upu Mountain Range. The river may be most notable for being one of the filming sites for Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, so if you want to capture a little bit of Hollywood, this may be your chance.

Whether you’re looking for a fun family activity or a simple cruise on the water, Kauai’s rivers are worth checking out. Keep in mind, you can’t navigate on any other river in Hawaii except those on Kauai, so it is definitely something to think about doing while you’re here; not a lot of people can say they have.