The Best Places to go Paddleboarding in Kauai

Kauai is one of the finest destinations for paddleboarding in Hawai because of its tropical scenery and breathtaking waters. From the seemingly endless Hanakapi falls to the beautiful Napali Coast, Kauai island is the perfect destination for your next paddling expedition.

There are several incredible places to go paddleboarding in Kauai. This is because the Island harbors several beautiful and calm rivers, ideal for Stand-Up paddleboarding (SUP). The pristine beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and clear blue skies make Kauai the dream destination for all outdoor sports enthusiasts.

5 of the Best Places to go Paddleboarding in Kauai

Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Kauai is one of the most enjoyable ways to get some exercise while taking in the scenery. We’ll go through some of the loveliest rivers on Kauai in this article, especially for people who are just getting into paddleboarding.

1. Wailua River

The Wailua River is one of the prominent rivers on the Island of Kauai. The river is about 23.4 kilometers long. Freshwater surrounds Wailua’s lush green valley and offers breathtaking views. Wailua is Hawaiian for “Two Rivers.” A name fitting for a territory bounded by rivers and the sea.

This ancient Hawaiian grandeur is now home to visitors who love adventures and would like to experience its sacred waterfall and swim in its pristine waters located at the base of the river. This river is calm and broad, making it an ideal location for newbies willing to learn how to paddleboard.

Pro Tip – If you’re visiting the Wailua River for the first time, you should not walk into the river via the boat ramp. The path is spiky and slippery, so we recommend that you make your way down the water edge and enter the river from the west of the ramp.

2. Hanalei Bay 

It is the biggest bay on the north shore of Kauai island. Hanalei Town is located in the middle of the bay, a two-mile stretch of beach surrounded by mountains. During winter, the swells are large, making the bay a favorite for kayakers and paddleboarders alike.

Hanalei Bay is 19.47 kilometers long and takes a couple of hours to complete. Because this bay is a popular destination for all outdoor sports lovers, and you’re likely to encounter other paddlers while exploring. The trail is open all year round, so you could visit anytime you want to kayak, see the Green Sea Turtles of Hawaii, and watch the beautiful sunset.

Hanalei Bay is the perfect site to attempt SUP if you’re visiting Kauai Island for the first time. You can rent a stand-up paddleboard for as little as $45 per day from Kayak Hanalei.

The weather condition here is constantly in flux. Although it is usually calm with occasional light waves, you should ensure to check the weather forecasts before heading out.


The famed Nawiliwili Harbor is very next to Kalapaki Beach. The broken walls shelter the beach from the vast ocean on all sides. Both the beach and the bay offer lovely views of mountains on the beachside. Newbies can sit and watch cruise ships from here as they are frequently docked in sight, while more experienced paddleboarders can enjoy the waves on the west side of the bay.

This underrated Hawaiian gem is a short drive from Lihue Airport. Its proximity to the airport makes Kalapaki island a highly frequented destination for visitors. Also, the Kauai Marriott Resort, which is close to the harbor, is ideal for those looking for a beach getaway and to relax before heading out to sea.

If you intend to spend a relaxing afternoon sunbathing with a stunning ocean view, Kalapaki Beach should be your next vacation destination. This beach is ideal for outdoor sports enthusiasts who want to enjoy the clear blue sea in a safe environment.


Anini Beach is located on Kauai’s north shore. This 2.5 mile-long beach is famed for its spectacular views of the Island’s marine life and is excellent for recreational activities due to its beautiful white sand beach and quiet waves.

The beach is considered one of the safer beaches on Kauai’s North Shore during the summer. It has the longest and widest fringing reef in the Hawaiian Islands.

If you’re new to stand-up paddleboarding, there is a lagoon at Anini Beach, a terrific spot to start your SUP journey. The water here is shallow, clean, and warm, making paddling a breeze for newbies. So if you’re looking to jump into the water for a quick warm swim, this is the best spot.


On the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, the Hanalei River flows north from Mount Waialeale’s eastern slopes. It flows for about 26.5 kilometers before reaching the Pacific Ocean as an estuary in Hanalei Bay. The bottom mile of the river, which runs alongside the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, is where most of the paddling occurs.

When heading downstream, a tiny river provides a gentle aid. The river’s waters are usually calm, suitable for newbies and enthusiasts with limited paddling expertise. It takes around 30 minutes to travel down the river to Hanalei Bay.

Paddling down the Hanalei River is a relaxing way to view the Island’s natural wonders. The ride up the river takes you past the famous Hanalei bridge and into the National Wildlife Refuge, a beautiful site teeming with native birds and surrounded by greenery.

Hawaii SUP Laws

SUP boarding has grown so much in popularity, and many newbies are trying to get their boards on the water for the first time. It’s a fantastic feeling, but you need to know the laws that govern these waters.

According to The United States Coast Guard (USCG), SUP boards used outside of surfing, swimming, or bathing areas have been ruled “vessels.” The following are the rules that govern paddling in the State.

Approved Life Jacket: The USCG-approved life jacket must be worn before setting out on the water. It could be type I, II, III, or type V.

Alcohol Law: The boating under the influence law (BUI) states that 0.08% BAL is considered boating under the influence of alcohol.

PDF Requirement:  Every individual on board should wear a life jacket that the USCG has approved. Boats, kayaks, and paddleboards are all affected.

Lights: All non-motorized vessels over 23 feet in length should have either red or green lights visible from 2 miles away. If that is not possible, a lamp or a lantern should be onboard.

Registration: Manually propelled vessels, such as kayaks, canoes, and SUPs, are exempt from registration under Hawaiian law.

Operating Licensing: There’s no age limitation or minimum education requirement in Hawaii. Unlike in other states, you can go kayaking in the United States when operating a non-motorized vessel.

Visual Distress Signaling Law: The US Coast Guard requires all vessels operating one mile offshore in Hawaii to possess night VDS systems.


Without a doubt, Kauai is a beautiful destination for outdoor sports fans who like the adrenaline rush of launching their boats into rivers. But choosing a place in Hawaii to go paddleboarding could be tricky due to the many exciting options available to visitors in the State. However, if you’re looking for a touch of paradise sprinkled with nature, you should visit the Island of Kauai.