Hanalei is possibly the most scenic place on the planet! Pictures simply do not do its splendor justice. One of our favorite activities on Kauai is kayaking in Hanalei. If you are new to either kayaking or paddle boarding this is a great place to give it a try or to perfect your skills.
Unlike the river, the waters in nearby Hanalei Bay can be quite rough. This is especially true during the winter months. The river is perfect if you aren’t quite up for the challenge. However, if you are and the waters are safe, you can go out into the bay for a unique and incredible view inland.
The Hanalei River flows by Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and several taro farms. The river is fed by Mount Wai’ale’ale which averages over 452 inches of rain a year. With that much rain, it’s considered one of the rainiest places on the planet.
As you paddle along, you will come to the bridge. Don’t turn around there, keep going, the best is still ahead. You’ll see various species of birds and plants and maybe even some turtles sunbathing. But, how far you can go really depends on the water levels. We went as far as we could until we bottomed out. Depending on the water levels, the excursion takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
This river is very scenic with views lush vegetation and majestic green mountains in the background. It can be very peaceful if you head out early in the morning. As the day progresses, it can become very crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons.
We typically rent our kayaks from Kayak Hanalei. They are located in the heart of Hanalei and have a private dock with direct river access. So far, we have always done our own thing, but they do offer some guided tours.
Definitely wear clothing that you can get wet in because you will get wet. Workout shorts and a sleeveless top over a swimsuit worked well. Also, don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen and a towel.
Also, if you have a water proof camera, definitely bring it along. Pack water to stay hydrated and you might want to bring a snack. If you have something of value that you want to bring along like a phone or a wallet, bring them. They will lend you a dry bag to help you protect your valuable. Safety first so you will need to wear a life jacket during the excursion.
In our opinion, this is a must do activity on Kauai! And, the best part, it’s very budget friendly. Currently, rates are between $35 and $75 per day depending on if you want a single, double or triple kayak. Best part, you don’t need to reserve in advance. If you wake up and the sun is shining you can hear right on over.
Finally, if you are looking for more Kauai activities click here to read all about our favorite budget friendly options.