©Cornell Schreiber. A perfect tropical paradise, Hanakapi'ai Falls is a popular day destination for swimmers and hikers.

Family Vacations in Hawaii: Hanakapi'ai Falls

Named for a Hawaiian princess, Hanakapi'ai Falls on the northwestern side of the island of Kauai is the picture of tropical paradise. The beautiful, 300-foot ribbon of water delicately cascades down a rugged volcanic wall, tumbling into an idyllic pool. There are many waterfalls and pools on Kauai, but this is perhaps the most sublime; perfect for swimming, and set amidst a thick rain forest that's teeming with life.

The falls are a popular destination for experienced hikers. The Kalalua Trail, which leads to the falls, begins at Ke'e Beach. This strenuous hike is about four miles long. Be prepared to spend a full day hiking to the falls and back, and be sure to wear sturdy hiking boots and to bring water, food, insect repellent, and sunscreen. From Ke'e Beach, follow the trail upslope to the Hanakapi'ai Valley, a lush cradle of greenery dotted with a vibrant array of wildflowers. From there the trail continues down to the secluded Hanakapi'ai Beach and the start of the final two-mile leg to Hanakapi'ai Falls.

The first leg of the trail from Ke'e Beach is a necessity -- the only other ways to get to Hanakapi'ai Falls involve parachutes or boats. But once you reach the falls, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views and a relaxing swim in its tranquil pools.

Hanakapi'ai Falls Information

Address: Crater Rd. and HI-378

Makawao, HI

Telephone: 808/572-4400

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

Admission: $10 per vehicle or $5 per person

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Hawaii State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Hawaii, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.