The 7+ Best Easy-to-View Waterfalls in Kauai (With Map)

In Eastside Things To Do, North Shore Things To Do, Things To Do: Makana Charters Blog, West Side by Makana Charters

Short distance to see beautiful Waterfalls in Kauai if you are limited on time.

One of the first things that you will notice are spectacular waterfalls in Kauai that seem to be everywhere.  Most people agree that viewing waterfalls in Kauai is one of the highlights of their vacation.

But many of the waterfalls you see in the postcards, videos, and brochures are very difficult to get to.  Some of them can be a full-day adventure.  Which is no problem if you are up to the challenge, but many times there is simply not enough time in the day to see them all.

We put together a list of waterfalls in Kauai that are within a 10-minute walk of your car, so that you can get the perfect shot of these special natural wonders with minimal travel time.  These waterfalls make a great pit stop on an around – the island journey, or you could make an entire day of trying to see all the falls on this list.  Whatever method you choose, we are confident you will appreciate the beauty of Kauai’s waterfalls without the strain of a day-long hike to get there.

Wailua Falls – This double-waterfall has a stunning backdrop of the Wailua valley behind, and can be viewed right from the road.  It’s an easy 4 mile drive up a country road before you reach the falls.  Just past the viewing area is a parking area, but it can get quite crowded at times and you may need to park on the road.  But from the viewpoint you get an ideal shot looking down at the twin sreams of Wailua Falls.

Opaekaa Falls – On the other side of the Wailua Valley from Wailua Falls is the beautiful Opaekaa Falls.  This waterfall also has two streams side-by-side, cascading down hundreds of feet below you.  The viewing area has safe railings, bathrooms, and ample parking, making this spot a great place to bring small children.  Just across the road is a beautiful viewing area of the majestic Wailua River and the surrounding peaks.  Both viewpoints will create fantastic photo memories to take back home.

Opaekaa Falls

Opaekaa Falls

Kipu Falls – This waterfall is actually on private land, but has been a local spot for years.  However it is also a dangerous spot, as several people have died in recent years from jumping off the falls.  While swimming is not recommended, you will find the power of the falls to be amazing, and it is definitely worth a look, especially since the walk into the falls is only about five minutes long.

Sample Itinerary Kauai

Ho’opi Falls – This area actually hosts two waterfalls, although the second waterfall doesn’t fall under the “10 minutes” rule of this post.  But FYI, it’s there in case you do have the extra time and energy to check it out.  The first falls is a real treat, and a favorite spot for young locals to cool off.  You can get up close and personal with the waterfall, even plunging into the splash pool if you want (swim at your own risk).  This waterfall is not recommended for small children, however due to the fact that you can fall into the pool below.

The second falls at Ho'opi Waterfalls in Kauai

The second falls at Ho’opi Waterfalls in Kauai

Waipo’o Falls – This 800m towering falls is set amongst the colorful backdrop of Waimea Canyon.  The best viewing area is from the Waimea Canyon lookout, where you will see the falls faintly on the far side of the canyon.  It may not look like much from that distance, but that is just a sign of how massive the scenery really is.  You will hopefully be visiting Waimea Canyon on your trip to Kauai, so be sure to look out for this Waipo’o Falls when there.

Waterfalls of the Napali Coast – OK, we broke the rules a bit for this one.  One is that it is not a short distance from your car, but since you do not have to hike and can relax on a boat, we thought we would throw it in.  The other fib we told is that it’s not a single waterfall – it’s dozens – maybe even hundreds.

na pali waterfall

na pali waterfall

The Napali coast is one of the most concentrated places anywhere to see waterfalls in Kauai.  The steep, jagged mountainsides are perfect terrain for spectacular cascading waterfalls.   Consistent rain in the highlands above at Alakai Swamp mean that this coastline is always blessed with a stunning amount of beautiful waterfalls.

You simply cannot say that you have been to Kaua’i without viewing the spectacular Na Pali Coast.  If you would like to see it in comfort for an excellent value, please consider going with a native-hawaiian family owned boat, Makana – You will be happy that you did!

The Map:

View Easy-access waterfalls on Kauai in a larger map


This guide is brought to you by Makana Charters, a local Hawaiian family owned tour boat based out of Waimea on Kauai’s West side.   We offer daily trips to the spectacular Na Pali coast, a natural wonder not to be missed.  We are providing this guide to give our guests the best possible experience while visiting our island paradise.  

Experience the stunning Napali Coast in the most enjoyable way. Book your Napali coast boat tours today!

Easy-to-view Waterfalls in Kauai [Infographic]

Easy-to-view Waterfalls in Kauai [Infographic]

Note: This post was first published on Oct 2, 2013. It has since been updated regularly for freshness and relevance.