Welcome to Wailua
Scenic waterfall paradise brimming with history
Cocooned amid the lush jungles and cascading waterfalls of the Coconut Coast, Wailua lies north of the sacred 20-mile river for which it was named. It’s a secluded, laid-back community with a bustling center of commerce for tourists on the coast.
Wailua is the site of Kauai's original settlement, though today it offers a diverse range of neighborhoods for different budgets. It is the most populated and central part of the island, so it makes a great jumping-off point for activities in the Wailua River, open-air boat tours to Fern Grotto, and idyllic escapes to the 30 acres of Smith's Tropical Paradise.
Wailua offers a mix of fine residential properties and tastefully furnished vacation rentals, be it a ranch-style home or oceanfront condo minutes away from the shopping treasures on the island. Hike up the Sleeping Giant (Nounou Mountain) or explore the remains of stone-walled ancient sites. Natural bliss, rich heritage, and cobalt blue waters await you in Wailua!
What to Love
- Water adventures on Wailua River
- A diverse range of neighborhoods
- Central location on the Island
- Wailua River Canyon
- Fine climate
- Easy access to shopping and dining
Wailua is an upcountry, suburban paradise cherished for its natural and man-made bounties. The variety of restaurants and coffee shops, as well as its convenient location to the Lihue Airport make Wailua not only a hotspot for tourists but also ideal for families and retirees looking to escape into tranquility and natural bliss.
The Wailua Golf Course is often ranked among the best in the state, and outdoor enthusiasts can't get enough of the possibilities on the three trailheads to the top of Nounou Mountain or water skiing and kayaking opportunities in Wailua River, which feeds into two popular waterfalls: Opaekaa and Wailua Falls.
Dining, Entertainment, and Shopping
Whether you’re a souvenir shopper or looking to bite into the best burger around town, try out The Shops at Wailua Kai! From a vegan restaurant with garden seating to the famous Street Burger locals can’t stop raving about, this quaint shopping mall has it all. Stop into Aloha Roastery for yummy pastries and grab a latte at Ha Coffee before popping into The Womb Bookstore for not just the books, but also a variety of crystals, gift items, and tarot card reading!
Come relish the taste of paradise at Smith Family Garden Luau, where amazing feasts are accompanied by transcendental fire shows, hula performances, and colorful ceremonies that will take your breath away. Stop into JO2 Restaurant for delicious scallop ravioli, banana cream pie, and carrot dumplings paired with refreshing cocktails. For the perfect waterside spot for a classy romantic dinner with live music, head to Oasis on the Beach. And don’t miss out on the inventive island flavors, fresh, local seafood, and assorted wines at the sophisticated Hukilau Lanai!
Things to Do
Lydgate State Park, with its tree-lined beach and jetty-enclosed swimming areas that protect the shore from large waves, is one of the most family-friendly destinations to enjoy a beach day. After you get done snorkeling, you can enjoy a picnic on the beach and take fun pictures to post on Instagram later!
Take a boat tour on the Wailua River to Fern Grotto, a massive lava cave draped in ferns and one of Kauai’s most popular attractions. Stretching 20 miles, the Wailua River is both the largest and one of the most navigable rivers in Hawaii. It’s regarded as a sacred body of water and positively brims with royal history. Just rent a kayak and paddle across the warm waters to discover this natural wonder for yourself!
Wailua is served by some of Hawaii's most prestigious schools renowned for their innovative and engaging curricula. Top educational choices include: