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Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Kayaking at Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Wailua Falls picture in Kauai
Opaekaa Falls picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Kayaking at Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Wailua Falls picture in Kauai
Opaekaa Falls picture in Kauai

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  • Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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If you want to experience Kauai's majestic rainforests without breaking too much of a sweat, then you'll want to add Wailua River State Park to your itinerary. This park is home to the only navigable river in Hawaii, allowing visitors to get an eyeful of the lush valley on a boat tour. Other popular points of interest in the park include Opaekaa Falls and Wailua Falls, both of which travelers can drive to. Wailua Falls is unique in that that the rocky terrain of the river above forms two separate streams that create two waterfalls in one spot. Meanwhile, the water of Opaekaa Falls glides down a jagged cliffside. From its vantage point, you can't see the source of the falls nor its end point; the area is completely shrouded in jungle vegetation. However, it is one of the most accessible waterfalls in Hawaii, with its vista point located right off of Kuamoo Road.

In addition to housing notable natural attractions, Wailua River State Park is known for its historical significance. Ancient Hawaiians used to consider this river sacred. As such, several temples and royal sites were located here. If you have time, stop at the Wailua Complex of Heiau, a National Historic Landmark that houses remnants of this era, including ruins, ancient birthing stones and stone carvings with petroglyphs.

Many travelers come to Wailua River State Park to see Wailua Falls, considered a top attraction in Kauai. If you plan a visit, heed the advice of reviewers and arrive early in the day to secure a parking spot. Others who visited the park ended up there thanks to tours or cruise excursions. Some suggested skipping a tour entirely (especially to the underwhelming fern grotto) and renting kayaks or paddleboards to enjoy the scenery at your own pace (nearby outfitters Kayak Kauai and Alii Kayaks offers rentals, paddleboard rentals and kayaking tours of the river).

Wailua River State Park is located on the east coast of Kauai in Wailua. The park is open to visitors during daylight hours; there are no admission fees. For more information on Wailua River State Park, visit the park's website.

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#1 Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Park Waimea Canyon, aptly nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific," should be at the top of every traveler's itinerary. This 14-mile-long, mile-wide and approximately 3,600-feet deep gorge is ... Read more » maximkabb / Getty Images

#2 Napali Coast The Napali coast is a 17-mile expanse of rocky, steep, but oh-so-gorgeous series of cliffs that stretch along Kauai's northwest shore. Travelers agree there's no better way to ... Read more » MartinM303 / Getty Images

#3 Polihale State Park Located on Kauai's west coast, Polihale State Park is the last beach before the Napali Coast begins. On the northern tip of the beach, you can enjoy an eyeful ... Read more » wallix / Getty Images

#4 Ke'e Beach Along with Polihale State Park, Ke'e Beach is the safest beach to access for prime Napali views. Ke'e Beach is conveniently situated at the Kalalau trailhead, offering beachgoers ... Read more » M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

#5 Tunnels Beach If you're looking for a great place to snorkel in Kauai, head to Tunnels Beach. Tunnels Beach is located on the north shore of Kauai in Wainiha, about 2 ... Read more » Kicka Witte / Getty Images

#6 Kalapaki Beach Despite its close proximity to the airport, cruise port and multiple hotels, travelers maintain Kalapaki Beach is a relaxing spot. The beach is located on the west side of the ... Read more » jorgemir / Flickr

#7 Po'ipu Beach Po'ipu Beach is considered one of the most popular beaches in Kauai. This small shoreline situated on the southern shore of the island appeals to many types of beachgoers ... Read more » EllenSmile / Getty Images

#8 Hanalei Bay Hanalei Bay is located about 4 miles southwest of Princeville, one of the island's premier resort areas. Hanalei Bay is composed of three different beaches: Waioli Beach Park, Hanalei ... Read more » M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

#9 Wailua River State Park If you want to experience Kauai's majestic rainforests without breaking too much of a sweat, then you'll want to add Wailua River State Park to your itinerary. This ... Read more » Michael Runkel / Getty Images

Waimea Canyon picture in Kauai
Napali Coast picture in Kauai
Polihale State Park picture in Kauai
Ke'e Beach picture in Kauai
Tunnels Beach picture in Kauai
Kalapaki Beach picture in Kauai
Po'ipu Beach picture in Kauai
Hanalei Bay picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai
Waimea Canyon picture in Kauai
Napali Coast picture in Kauai
Polihale State Park picture in Kauai
Ke'e Beach picture in Kauai
Tunnels Beach picture in Kauai
Kalapaki Beach picture in Kauai
Po'ipu Beach picture in Kauai
Hanalei Bay picture in Kauai
Wailua River State Park picture in Kauai

Waimea Canyon features several scenic lookout points throughout the park.  maximkabb / Getty Images

The Napali Coast is easily Kauai's biggest attraction. To view the Napali Coast, you can hike the Kalalau Trail, take a boat tour, or if you can swing it, a helicopter tour.  MartinM303 / Getty Images

Polihale State Park is located at the tail end of the Napali Coast, giving travelers a glance of the famous cliffs from the northern end of the beach.    wallix / Getty Images

From the Kalalau Trail, you can enjoy great aerial views of Ke'e Beach. M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

Tunnels Beach is favored by travelers for its scenic setting and snorkeling opportunities.   Kicka Witte / Getty Images

This beach on the southside is recommended for sunning and swimming, but you can also rent a sailboat, kayak or take a catamaran cruise. jorgemir / Flickr

Po'ipu Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Kauai.  EllenSmile / Getty Images

Hanalei Bay is one of the most popular shores in Kauai. Swimming isn't always advised, but travelers say a trip here is worth it for the incredible views alone.  M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

Wailua River State Park is billed as the only navigable river in Hawaii. A popular means of exploring the river is via boat tour, which can be arranged on-site. Michael Runkel / Getty Images

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