ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls, a waterfall located on the ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream in Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of the island of Kauai, Hawaii, United States.; Shutterstock ID 1378671545; purchase_order: 65050; job: ; client: ; other:

Shutterstock / Abbie Warnock-Matthews

Wailua River State Park


To ancient Hawaiians, the Wailua River was among the most sacred places across the islands. The river basin, near its mouth, was one of the island’s two royal centers (the other was Waimea) and home to the high chiefs. Here you can find the remains of many important heiau (ancient stone temples); together they now form a national historic landmark.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Wailua attractions

2. Poliʻahu Heiau

0.18 MILES

Perched high on a hill overlooking the meandering Wailua River, well-preserved Poliʻahu Heiau, a luakini (temple dedicated to war god Ku), is named after…

3. ʻOpaekaʻa Falls Lookout

0.22 MILES

While not a showstopper, these 150ft-high waterfalls make for an easy roadside stop, less than 2 miles up Kuamoʻo Rd. For the best photographs, go in the…

4. Kamokila Hawaiian Village

0.26 MILES

This 4-acre site along the Wailua River has reproductions of traditional Hawaiian structures amid thriving gardens of guava, mango and banana trees. While…

5. Smith's Tropical Paradise

0.79 MILES

Other gardens might have fancier landscaping, but you can’t beat Smith’s for value. Take a leisurely stroll along a mile-long loop trail past a serene…

6. Holoholoku Heiau

1.16 MILES

Thought to be the oldest luakini (temple dedicated to the war god Ku, often a place for human sacrifice) on the island, Holoholoku Heiau is located a…

7. Hikina'akala Heiau


In the sacred Waimea River Valley, the Hikinaʻakala Heiau sits south of the Wailua River mouth, which is today the north end of Lydgate Beach Park. In its…

8. Coco Palms Resort

1.36 MILES

In decades past, it was Kauaʻi's most iconic beachfront resort hotel.