Lush tropical jungle and Hawaii’s only navigable river.


Welcome to Wailua

Located directly south of Kapaa midway along Kauai’s east coast, Wailua is one of the island’s larger and more populated communities. Vacation rentals and hotels line its coastal stretch, while most permanent residents live inland. Wailua is known for its wild palm groves and plentiful outdoor pursuits, with hiking trails rising into forested mountainsides and water-based activities on Hawaii’s only navigable river.

Wailua is more affordable than many Kauai communities. Despite this, oceanfront condos enjoy incredible waterfront views, while the inland area contains many charming single-family homes.

What to Love

  • Hawaii’s only navigable river
  • Waterfalls & Hiking Trails
  • Traditional entertainment
  • Ancient Heiau temples
  • Smith Family Luau

People & Lifestyle

Wailua, especially the Homesteads and House Lots are laidback and local. The House Lots are a coastal community behind Wailua Beach and the Homesteads are located at 360' above sea level in an elevated valley where it's a bit cooler. Wailua is a great place to live - it feels like the North Shore in the Homesteads, but is much more affordable and many of the residences are on larger parcels, definitely a rural feel with outstanding mountain views, especially Mount Wai’ale’ale on a clear day, Kauai's second-highest peak and one of the wettest spots on the planet, it translates to overflowing water and lives up to its moniker. The House Lots are within walking distance of the beaches and shops that fringe the coastline, smaller lots and vintage homes prevail here, super convenient location.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Wailua is a predominantly residential community with no commercial district within the community itself. However, Wailua’s proximity to Kapaa puts residents within easy reach of one of Kauai’s main areas for dining and retail.

Things to Do

The 20-mile Wailua River is a major attraction, with its calm waters taking in beautiful waterfalls, fern-draped lava rock caves, and enthralling jungle scenery. River-based activities include kayaking, canoeing, and boat tours. The river feeds into Opaekaa and Wailua Falls, two of the island’s most spectacular cascading waterfalls. Poliahu Park is located close to Opaekaa Falls on the Wailua riverbank, and its lush tropical greenery is home to an ancient Hawaiian heiau.

On the opposite side of the river, Smith Family Garden Luau has provided traditional Hawaiian entertainment and delicious home-cooked food since 1946. Four generations of the Smith family run the festivities, as visitors watch enthralling Tahitian drum, Samoan fire, and Hawaiian hula dances--all while dining on a feast of succulent roast pork and other island treats. The Luau’s lush tropical setting includes 30 acres of botanical and cultural gardens, with bamboo and fruit forests as well as a Japanese garden island.

River cruises depart from here to the Wailua River’s captivating Fern Grotto, a lava-formed grotto bedecked with upside-down plant life. Kauai’s Hindu Monastery is just as enchanting, with two temples constructed from stone brought in from southern India amid dense tropical vegetation. These incredible attractions together comprise Wailua River State Park, a breathtakingly beautiful expanse of tropical rainforest and ancient heiau temple complexes.

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