fern grotto hawaii
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Smiths Fern Grotto Tour

Wailua River Cruise & Fern Grotto Tour

IF YOU ARE ATTENDING THE LUAU, you will be able to spend time strolling the garden before the luau and do not need to add the Garden Stroll to your purchase.  If you would like to go to the Garden in the morning or early mid-day and are attending the luau then you would need to purchase the Garden Stroll.

Enjoy a tranquil boat cruise on Kauai’s Wailua River, the only navigable river in all of Hawaii. The river is fed by Mt. Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest spots in the world. During the two-mile journey upstream you’ll hear songs and stories of the old Hawaii. You can also participate in a hula lesson.

The spacious, open-air boat provides excellent views from either side. Beautiful mangrove trees line the river’s banks. The highlight of the tour is Fern Grotto, a fern-covered lava cave. Once you reach the Fern Grotto landing, you’ll enjoy a short nature walk through a beautiful rainforest to the lush Fern Grotto.

The grotto is one of Kauai’s geological wonders. Formed millions of years ago, colorful tropical plants grow all over the cave, which is also known for its excellent interior acoustics.

Tour Highlights:

  • Enjoy Smith’s famous Wailua River boat cruise
  • Only river boat cruise in all of Hawaii
  • Spacious open-air boat provides excellent views from either side
  • Hear songs and stories of the old Hawaii
  • Participate in hula dancing
  • Enjoy a short nature walk through the rainforest to the lush Fern Grotto

Not planning on going to Smith's Luau but still want to see the amazing garden grounds?  Purchase a Garden Stroll admission by its self or add it on to your Fern Grotto Cruise.  The Tropical Paradise is open daily from 8:30 am to 3:00pm.  If you are attending the luau you will have time to go through the gardens and grounds once you check in for the luau.

Where and When:
Tour departure times:
9:30 am, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm
Check in 15 minutes prior to your tour time at Wailua Marina State Park, 3-5971 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa, HI 96746 View Map
The Garden Stroll (if you purchased this option) is available from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Driving directions:
From the North (Hanalei, Princeville, Kapaa): Take Hwy. 56 South through Kapaa to the Wailua River. Go past Kuamoo road, over the river, and take the first right into the Wailua Marina State Park.

From the South (Waimea, Poipu, Lihue): Take Hwy. 56 North from the Lihue airport. A mile after the Wailua Golf Course, watch for Marina signs and the beach on the right. Just before crossing the Wailua River bridge, turn left into the Wailua Marina State Park.
Vessel is not ADA accessible.
Special Notes:
Tip: If you are going to the luau after the boat tour, select the 3:30 pm boat tour time.
Operation Days:
1.5 hour boat tour round-trip
Garden open from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Smith's Tropical Paradise Luau
Spacious, open-air boat is powered by an ingenious rear-engine system invented by Walter Smith, Sr.