Mention “Hawaii” and “kayaking” and most minds immediately dip into the ocean. But add Kauai to the mix and the possibilities really start flowing. With its shorter waterways, the Garden Isle has the distinction of being the only Hawaiian island with navigable rivers. Coupled with easy-going waters and gorgeous scenery that huddles right up to the shores, this makes for prime kayaking territory. And you don’t have to be a pro paddler to take to the course–Hanalai River is ideal even for those as green as the foliage lining it. Here, mist-kissed mountains provide the backdrop for a glide set to a soundtrack of lapping water, wind in palm fronds, and birdsong. For an adventure extending beyond the river, head to the Wailua, where water voyages are often precursors to scenic hikes and swims in waterfall-fed pools. More advanced marine navigators have an even greater bounty. The full extent of the Napali Coast’s staggering beauty is an exclusive privilege of those in air or on water–and in summer months, its waters are calm enough to yield safe passage. The region’s abundant wildlife, sea caves, secluded beaches, and famous cliffs bestow the ultimate payoff for the journey.
Relax and take in the exquisite scenery as you paddle down the Wailua River. This popular river for kayaking weaves by lush, jungle landscapes along with island’s East Side. Other river routes include the Huleia River from Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue, as well as the Hanalei River on the North Shore, the longest on the island.
Kayaking and More Nearby