Travel Guide
Ke Ala Hele Makalae East Shore Beach Path showing general coastal views and hiking or walking as well as a couple
With towering waterfalls, perfect beaches and the state’s only navigable river, this eastern Kauaʻi town is a top destination for adventurers and dreamers alike.

Located on the east coast of Kauaʻi, Wailuā is famous for its close proximity to some of the island’s most popular outdoor attractions. The town is divided into two sections, separated by Nounou Mountain, nicknamed the "Sleeping Giant" because of its distinctive shape. Take the Nounou Trail up to the peak to enjoy panoramic views of Wailuā and the surrounding landscape, before exploring the area’s many other outdoor attractions.

Much of the area’s outdoor fun revolves around the Wailuā River, the only navigable river in Hawaiʻi. Rent a kayak and paddle along a shoreline dotted with ruins and archaeological sites that provide a glimpse into Hawaii’s ancient past. Take a boat tour to explore Fern Grotto. With ferns hanging overhead and waterfall mist hanging in the air, it’s easy to see why this lava cave is a popular filming location. 

Nearby are Wailuā Falls, a towering 80-foot (25-meter) high triple waterfall that creates a dramatic effect in its heavily forested setting. Adventurous visitors can walk down a short trail to the base of the falls. If you’re traveling by car, admire the view from an overlook along the road. Pack a picnic lunch and head to Opaekaʻa Falls, another natural wonder that sits along the Wailuā River. 

After exploring the lush rain forest landscapes of the inland, head to the coast to enjoy the attractions of the Pacific. Lydgate Beach Park features clean shores and prime oceanfront access. The calm waters make it a popular snorkeling spot for beginners. Head a little bit further out to surf the area’s waves. Rock walls were built into the beach, creating small swimming pools that are ideal for children. 

After enjoying the sun for the afternoon, ride along the bike path to coastal Wailuā, where you can enjoy a fresh-caught seafood dinner. Bars often feature live music and offer a relaxed nightlife setting. 

Wailuā is about a 10-minute drive north of Lihue Airport. Public transportation is limited, so renting a car or motorbike will ensure you get the most from your visit.

Where to stay in Wailua

Kauai Shores Hotel
Kauai Shores Hotel
3.5 out of 5
420 Papaloa Rd, Kapaa, HI
The price is CA $352 per night from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31
CA $352
per night
Oct. 30 - Oct. 31
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in Kapaa. Enjoy free valet parking, 2 outdoor pools, and a beach locale. Our guests praise the pool and the restaurant in our ...
8.8/10 Excellent! (1,000 reviews)

Reviewed on Sep. 24, 2023

Kauai Shores Hotel
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
4 out of 5
650 Aleka Loop, Kapaa, HI
The price is CA $520 per night from Oct. 16 to Oct. 17
CA $520
per night
Oct. 16 - Oct. 17
Stay at this 4-star beach hotel in Kapaa. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 restaurants. Our guests praise the pool and the property condition in our reviews. ...
8.6/10 Excellent! (481 reviews)
"The facility has many great amenities."

Reviewed on Oct. 1, 2023

Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
Aston Islander on the Beach
Aston Islander on the Beach
3 out of 5
440 Aleka Place, Kapaa, HI
The price is CA $355 per night from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3
CA $355
per night
Nov. 2 - Nov. 3
Stay at this 3-star beach hotel in Kapaa. Enjoy a beach locale, laundry facilities, and an in-room DVD player. Our guests praise the property condition in our ...
8.4/10 Very Good! (999 reviews)
"Loved the ocean view and quick walk to Lava Lava. Loved the fact they had a nice bar by the pool and it was quiet."

Reviewed on Sep. 25, 2023

Aston Islander on the Beach
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit

Cities near Wailua