As the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, Kaua`i has been nature’s canvas and through millions of years of geological transformation, the Garden Island has been painted with more rivers than any other island. Home to one of the wettest spots on earth, the top of Mount Waialeale, it’s no surprise that there’s an abundance of always flowing rivers from the center of the island down through beaches.
While there may be nothing more refreshing than a dip in the salty waters surrounding Kaua`i, time spent in the cold fresh water of Kaua`i’s lush mountains should not go un-experienced while on the island. So here’s a collection of rivers that shouldn’t be missed.
Kalihiwai River – Located in the Kilauea area on Kaua`i’s lush North Shore, Kalihiwai Beach is home to a great surfing wave and an awesome river perfect for swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddling. The mouth of the river can be intense with the waves of the bay breaking right there, so it’s best to stay a little way up for swimming.
Lumahai River – Deeper into the North Shore and past Hanalei is Lumahai, known for it’s reputation as one of the most treacherous beaches for swimming on Kaua`i, but the river is a popular, relaxing, and refreshing places to spent time in the water. Bordering the west end of the beach, the river is a favorite for local families to get comfortable on the river bank and swim and play in the sand. But stay far away from the river mouth, the ocean here is always crazy.
Waimea River – Out in Kaua`i’s version of the wild west the Waimea River breaks through the dry terrain of the west side. It’s not a great river for swimming as it’s a little murky from the area’s famous red dirt, but it’s a perfect river for stand-up paddle boarding thanks to it’s calm demeanor and width. You can rent from and get lessons from them too, or for experienced paddlers bring your own.