Fern Grotto Tours
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Kauai’s Fern Grotto is a fern-covered lava cave on the south fork of the Wailua River. Once off-limits to all but Hawaiian royalty, the Fern Grotto is now accessible to visitors, but only by boat. The grotto acts like an amphitheatre, and musicians are drawn to the site for its incredible natural acoustics.
A visit to Fern Grotto is included on most cruises on the Wailua River; enjoy a peaceful ride up the river, then take a short hike to the grotto. You can also combine a river cruise with a tour of Waimea Canyon, which may include south shore highlights like Koloa Town, the Spouting Horn, and the Cook Landing Site. Alternatively, you can rent a kayak and paddle to the Fern Grotto on your own.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear good walking shoes as the trail to Fern Grotto can be slippery when wet.
- Visitors are no longer allowed to walk into the cave itself and must view the grotto from a viewing platform.
- Some Fern Grotto tours may be wheelchair accessible; inquire about accessibility in advance.
How to Get There
The only way to get to the Fern Grotto is by boat or kayak. The grotto is located about two miles (2.3 kilometers) up the Wailua River on the eastern side of Kauai, just outside of Lihue. The easiest way to visit is on a guided river cruise.
When to Get There
Fern Grotto tours are offered all year round. The weather in Kauai is warm throughout the year, making it a great place to visit in any season. You’ll find the biggest crowds from December through March, so the spring and fall are the best times to visit. Kauai is wetter than the other Hawaiian Islands; the rainest weather from November through March.
Fern Grotto Weddings
This fern-covered volcanic cathedral is incredibly romantic, so it is no wonder the Fern Grotto is a popular wedding venue. Many couples get married at this spot each year, often while being serenaded by local musicians’ renditions of the “Hawaiian Wedding Song.” This is also a popular spot for engagements and vow renewal ceremonies.
Address: Highway 56, Lihue 96766, USA
3 Tours and Activities to Experience Fern Grotto
Discover the stunning beauty and fascinating history of Kauai on this full-day tour of the island’s natural attractions. See the breathtaking expanse of Waimea Canyon and float through tropical paradise with a Wailua River cruise. Relax in a comfortable air-conditioned coach as your local guide narrates the passing sites and shares tales from Kauai’s rich history. Keep your camera ready for many vista points and photos stops along the way!
Taking safety measures
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
Spend a whole day exploring the best of Kauai’s beauty and culture on a tour combining land, water, and aerial sightseeing. Skip the car rental and let a local driver and guide show you the Garden Isle’s top sights, from romantic Hanalei Bay and the Kilauea Lighthouse to a bird sanctuary and historic sugar cane plantations. Catch a boat up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto for a traditional hula show, and upgrade to soar over the entire island on a fixed-wing airplane tour.
Spend a delightful day exploring the natural and cultural wonders of Kauai on this shore excursion featuring the magnificent Waimea Canyon. Hike to the summit of this ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ for spectacular views, and see many attractions along Kauai’s southern coast, including the Spouting Horn natural blowhole and historic Old Koloa Town. Cruise down the sacred Wailua River and soak up the serene beauty of Fern Grotto and Opaekaa Falls.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Fern Grotto?
The best ways to experience Fern Grotto are:
- Kauai Waimea Canyon and Wailua River
- Best of Kauai Tour by Land, River and Optional Air
- Kauai Shore Excursion: Waimea Canyon and River