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Exploring the Wailua River by Kayak

Introduction

The Wailua River is one of the most beautiful and majestic waterways in Hawaii. It is located on the eastern side of Kauai and is the only navigable river in the Hawaiian Islands. With its lush tropical vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters, the Wailua River is a paradise for kayakers. From the upper reaches of the river to its mouth, there are countless opportunities to explore this natural wonder. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful paddle down the river or an adrenaline-pumping journey, kayaking the Wailua River is an adventure you won’t soon forget.

What to Bring

Before you embark on your kayaking adventure, there are a few essential items you’ll want to bring along.

  • A kayak
  • Life jackets
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • A hat and sunglasses
  • Anchor and rope
  • A waterproof camera
  • Snacks and drinks

It is also important to check the weather before you go. The Wailua River can get very choppy during times of high winds and rain, so it’s important to be prepared for any potential weather conditions.

Where to Launch

The Wailua River is divided into two sections: the upper section and the lower section. The upper section is located between the town of Wailua and the Wailua River State Park. The lower section is located downstream of the State Park.

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For the upper section, the best place to launch is from the boat ramp at the Wailua River State Park. The boat ramp is located near the end of the park road and is accessible to any size kayak. There is also plenty of parking and a restroom nearby.

For the lower section, the best place to launch is from the boat ramp at the mouth of the Wailua River. The boat ramp is located on the east side of the river, just downstream of the bridge. There is plenty of parking and the boat ramp is accessible to any size kayak.

Kayaking the Upper Section

The upper section of the Wailua River is a great place to explore. Here you will find lush tropical vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters. This section of the river is relatively calm and perfect for a peaceful paddle.

As you make your way up the river, keep an eye out for the many native birds that call the Wailua River home. You may even spot a few Hawaiian monk seals basking in the sun.

When you reach the end of the upper section, you’ll come to a cascading waterfall. This is a great spot to take a break and enjoy the view.

Kayaking the Lower Section

The lower section of the Wailua River is a great place for those looking for an adrenaline rush. This section of the river is full of rapids and whirlpools, making it perfect for whitewater kayaking.

The best way to explore the rapids is to scout them first. This will allow you to plan your route and avoid any potential hazards. Once you’re ready, you can make your way down the rapids and enjoy the thrill of the ride.

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If you’re feeling daring, you can also take on the “Big Drop”. The Big Drop is a large section of rapids located near the end of the river. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, it is a great way to end your kayaking adventure.

Sightseeing Along the Way

In addition to the rapids, the Wailua River is also home to many breathtaking sights. As you make your way down the river, keep an eye out for the many cascading waterfalls, lush vegetation, and secluded beaches. You may even spot a few wild horses or exotic birds.

The Wailua River is also home to many ancient Hawaiian sites. As you paddle down the river, you may come across some of these sites, including ancient temples and petroglyphs.

Safety Tips

When kayaking the Wailua River, it is important to stay safe. Be sure to wear a life jacket at all times and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re paddling in the lower section, be sure to scout the rapids before you make your way down.

It is also important to be aware of the tide. The Wailua River can get very shallow during low tide, so it’s important to plan your trip accordingly.

Where to Rent a Kayak

If you don’t have your own kayak, there are plenty of places to rent one. The Wailua Marina offers kayak rentals, as well as guided tours of the river. You can also rent kayaks from local outfitters, such as Kauai Kayak Adventures and Kipu Kayaks.

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Where to Stay

If you’re looking for a place to stay during your kayaking adventure, there are plenty of options. The Wailua Marina offers camping and RV sites, as well as cabins and cottages. You can also stay at one of the many hotels and resorts located near the river.

Conclusion

Kayaking the Wailua River is an adventure you won’t soon forget. From the upper reaches of the river to its mouth, there are countless opportunities to explore this natural wonder. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful paddle down the river or an adrenaline-pumping journey, kayaking the Wailua River is an experience you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to bring the necessary items, check the weather, and stay safe. With its lush tropical vegetation, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters, the Wailua River is a paradise for kayakers. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore the Wailua River!