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Tips About Kayaking In Kauai, Hawaii

Tips About Kayaking In Kauai, Hawaii

Tips About Kayaking In Kauai, Hawaii

Updated on 12/5/2023
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
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Of all the Hawaiian islands, kayaking in Kauai, sometimes referred to as the Garden Island, is the one that is located the farthest to the north. In addition, it is generally agreed that it is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. It is home to several rivers that flow at a leisurely pace, many stunning bays, and a rocky coastline that has not been developed, so there is a wide variety of paddling excursions to choose from. In addition, it is home to a rocky coast that has not been set.

We have developed a list of some of the best places to go kayaking in Kauai so that you may experience some of the most beautiful natural beauty on the island for yourself, and we hope you like it.

Kauai kayak

Because Kauai is home to the only rivers in Hawaii that can be paddled down, kayaking is an essential component of an authentic Kauai holiday. As you go down the Wailua River, kick back, relax, and take in the breathtaking views. On the island's east side, there is a river that runs through lush rainforests and is a popular place for kayakers to go. Other river courses include the Julia River, which begins at Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, and the Hanalei River, which starts on the North Shore and is the longest river on the island. Both of these rivers are located in Julia.

Kauai kayak

Kauai kayak

Ocean kayaking is a different way to see Kauai by the sea available during certain times of the year. If you are up for a more tough endeavor, this is the activity for you. On the South Shore, the Pop to Port Allen course, which includes a stop in Lawai Bay, is one you should try. Paddling along the 17-mile stretch of the Na pali Coast in a kayak while circumstances are calm makes for a beautiful experience. A National Geographic article says that kayaking along the Na pali Coast is the second-best thing to do in the country. Due to the potentially taxing nature of the exercise and the unpredictability of the waters, it is necessary to engage the services of a guide for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure like this one.

Top Spots For Kayaking In Kauai

​​1. Featured Kayaking Location: Wailua River

Because of its location in the east of the island, the Wailua River is one of the most popular spots on Kauai for kayaking. It is also the longest river on Kauai that can be navigated, making it one of the island's unique features. It travels through lush forest settings, bringing visitors up close to stunning waterfalls and ancient temples known as a heiau.

​​1. Wailua River

​​1. Wailua River

This river does not have any sections that feature rough waters. It is possible to paddle upstream and then climb and make a falls kayak tour to a waterfall known as Secret Falls, sometimes known as Uluwehi Falls, one of the most appealing aspects of the river. Visitors can swim and stand directly below the waterfall at this waterfall, making this one of the most appealing aspects of the river.

The Fern Grotto is another attraction you probably won't want to miss since it is a natural cave in the lava rock covered by overhanging ferns and can only be accessible by kayak or boat. That is another attraction that you probably won't want to miss.

​2. Na pali Coast

Paddling along the Na Pali Coast can be one of the most exhilarating and jaw-droppingly gorgeous experiences you can have anywhere in the world. Gliding along the Na pali Coast is a World Heritage Site. The distance between Haena Beach Park and Polihale State Park is around 17 miles, so not everyone may probably want to make the trip. There are occasions when the surf might be dangerous, and the conditions could be pretty severe.

​2. Napali Coast

​2. Napali Coast

Only during the summer, when the waves and currents are frequently gentler, is it firmly advised that you paddle along this course. Floating along this path during any different season might result in serious injury.

As you make your way along the road, underwater caverns for you to investigate and waterfalls to admire. Even though it may be in the higher part of Kauai, the Na pali Coast stands out for both the sheer height of its cliffs and the wildness of its surroundings. This region is not reachable by car at any time.

​3. Hanalei River

The Hanalei River is located on the island's northern coast and is well-known for having a very slow-moving current. You are welcome to put your canoe or kayak in the water at Hanalei Bay's shoreline and paddle upstream until you reach the location of the demolished Hanalei Bridge (the current bridge is a replica of the original that was built in 1912).

​3. Hanalei River

​3. Hanalei River

The road will bring you into the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, an essential habitat for various animals, including the largest population of endangered Hawaiian ducks that can be found anywhere in the world (Koloa maoli).

​4. Huleia River

A trip on the Huleia River, which travels through the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, is a beautiful chance to observe a wide range of creatures, including a few native bird species that are in danger of going extinct. You may do this by taking a boat along the river.

Paddling upstream on the calm river in Lihue, accessed from the Nawiliwili port in the city, will take you through some of the most stunningly beautiful natural landscapes you have ever seen. And if anything about it appears familiar, it's because popular films like "Jurassic Park" and "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" have been filmed along the Huleia River. The Huleia River has also been the backdrop for the blockbuster films "The Mummy: Tomb of the Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns."

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​5. Kalihiwai River

The Kalihiwai River, on the north shore of Kauai, is an excellent place for canoe or kayak outings for families since it has reasonably calm waters. Families may access this river via Kalihiwai Beach, located in Kalihi Bay on the island of Hawaii in the United States. This river is not particularly deep and travels exceptionally slowly due to its characteristics.

As the river makes its way more slowly downstream, you will find yourself traveling through a range of tropical rainforest landscapes. If you want to visit the waterfalls that are located along this river, you will require tours guide because the property where the waterfalls are is privately owned and is part of the Princeville Ranch.

kayaking in hawaii

kayaking in hawaii

There is a risk of molten lava flowing into the water from Kilauea, a volcano close to Kalihiwai Bay and visible from the coast. As a result, anyone who chooses to go kayaking in the area does so at their own risk because the volcano's molten lava may spill into the ocean.

Kayaking Tours

Most of the local kayaking trips are lengthy because they are intended to provide participants the best possible opportunity to experience the local beauty and wildlife. Additionally, these tours will take them to exotic sections of the island that would otherwise be difficult to explore.

There is a wide variety of kayaking trips that can run up to two hours or even longer that can be booked through local tour companies. These trips take place on some of the most breathtaking waterways imaginable. People of varying fitness levels have access to several various options to choose from. Your tour provider will brief you on what to anticipate in terms of the level of physical exertion required for each activity choice. You will travel through the rainforests, the carved cliffs, and the winding river beds on your way to your destination. They are also able to bring you close to some fantastic waterfalls and beautiful water bays, where the panorama in every direction is stunning. You have the option of going on trips that include activities such as swimming, hiking, cliff jumping, or zip lining. Depending on your degree of comfort and previous expertise with kayaking, you can participate in either self-directed or guided tours.

Kayaking Tours Kauai, Hawaii

Kayaking Tours Kauai, Hawaii

River kayaking and ocean kayaking are the two primary types of kayaking that can be done on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Wailua River, the Hule'ia River, and the Hanalei River are the most popular rivers for river kayaking on the island of Kauai. The Wailua River is one of the routes that see the greatest traffic and is well-liked due to its length and the tranquility of its waters. It will take you through the interior of the island, where you will find several other Kauai attractions along the way. You can find the Hule'ia river in the Lihue area, and it winds its way through the well-known Kipu Ranch. Kipu Ranch is home to numerous beautiful locales that have been used in filming famous Hollywood blockbuster movies. The last river is the Hanalei River, which is the river that sees the least amount of traffic and is, therefore, an attractive choice due to the low volume of people. It begins in the mesmerizing Hanalei Valley and winds its way down to the breathtaking Hanalei Bay, where it concludes.

Paddling a kayak through the ocean is a wholly unique experience. Because of the potential difficulty of the situation, participation is restricted to individuals at least 16 years old. Additionally, you will need to be physically fit to take part. For some of the tours, the majority of the currents run in one direction, and there is nowhere to land; as a result, you are required to finish the course in its entirety, and you must be in sufficient physical condition to do so. A few of the itineraries cover a distance of more than 16 kilometers. The breathtaking Na Pali Coast of Kauai is the most popular place to go sea kayaking, but other options are also available.

Where Can I Find Some Fun Ocean Kayak Tour?

​Wailua River Tour (Secret Falls Kayak)

The Wailua River Kayak Tour, which Kayak Wailua provides in Kapaa, has the potential to be an incredible adventure for parties that are comprised of members of the same family. They will provide you with life jackets appropriate for persons of any age or size, as well as kayaks that are either triple, tandem, or single configurations, depending on the number of people in your group.

The guides will be with you the entire time as you paddle up the Wailua River and as you climb to Secret Falls. Along the way, they will provide you with background information on the mythology and history of the area.

​Na pali Coast Tour

Na pali Kayak offers several different itineraries for journeys around the Na pali Coast that passengers can choose from when making their reservations. One of these excursions is a day trip that travels a distance of 27 kilometers, or approximately 17 miles, and goes from Haena Beach to Polihale Beach.

​Napali Coast Tour

​Napali Coast Tour

During the excursion, your guide will lead you along the rocky coastline, bringing you into sea caves and beneath or past waterfalls. There is also the option of taking a kayaking tours excursion in the region, complete with camping for the night.

​Hidden Valley Falls Kayak Tour

The route to Hidden Valley Falls begins with a trek down the Huleia River, where you will paddle through the forest before halting for a stroll into the bush to reach waterfalls and tranquil pools where you may swim and make a waterfall kayak tour. After this, you will continue your adventure to Hidden Valley Falls. 

​Hidden Valley Falls Tour

​Hidden Valley Falls Tour

The outing is catered to participants of varying ages and degrees of expertise, and it includes lunch as part of the overall cost of participation. You will travel by canoe equipped with a motor for the journey back, and this will be your means of transportation.

We have created a list of some of the best places to go kayaking in Kauai so that you can experience some of the most beautiful natural beauty on the island for yourself, and we hope you enjoy it. We have done this so that you can share some of the most beautiful natural beauty on the island.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Kayak In Kauai?

The Wailua River is this week's featured paddling spot. The Wailua River, which flows through the eastern part of the island, is one of the few rivers in all of Hawaii that is navigable, making it an ideal location for a kayaking excursion.

How Do I Get To The Secret Beach In Kauai?

The beach's name gives away the fact that getting there is not going to be easy, as there are no public roads that lead there. To get there, drive on the Kuhio Highway until you reach Kilauea, then make a right turn onto the Kalihiwai Road. After travelling approximately 50 yards along the road, take a right turn onto an unmarked road that is dirt. Drive all the way to the finish and park there.

What Is The Best Month To Go To Kauai?

The months of August through October and April through June are ideal times to visit Kauai because of the lovely weather and the lower prices for airline and hotel stays during those months.

How Many Days Do You Need In Kauai?

The question is, how many days will you need to spend on Kauai? If Kauai is the only island in the Hawaiian chain that you will be visiting, you should plan to spend at least seven to ten days touring the island. You'll have plenty of time to relax and unwind after that, as well as to take some day trips, go on some tours, check out the beaches, and so on.