After having a wonderful lunch and early afternoon exploring Lydgate Playground and Kamokila Hawaiian Village, we headed over to the Smith Family’s Wailua River Cruise. While there are several ways to explore the beautiful Wailua River, we felt that this was the best option for us while I was super pregnant and with two little ones.
It was a great tour! Tickets are $25 per adult and $12.50 for kids 2-12 and multiple take off times throughout the day are available. We opted for the 3:30pm cruise so that it would bring us back to the dock shortly before our Smith Family luau began.
The river cruise itself was fantastic and we really enjoyed listening to the stories and history of the area as we cruised up the river. It was perfect for our family and the girls had a blast taking everything in. It’s also only about 20-30 minutes one way before landing at the Fern Grotto (which is great if your little ones have a shorter attention span).
Once we arrived at the landing for the grotto, everyone got off the boat and walked along the paved path to the viewing point for the Fern Grotto. Awhile back, one could walk right up to the grotto, but after a couple different hurricanes and storms, it became too dangerous and fragile and an observation deck was opened to the public in 2007. Even still, it’s considered the most romantic spot on the island and can be rented out for weddings.
The river cruise provided entertainment on the observation deck and then we had plenty of time to also take lots of photos before walking back down to the boat.
On the boat ride back, there was music and dancing provided. Once we landed, we headed straight over to the Smith Family Garden Luau. Tickets to the luau are $98 per adult, $30 for 7-14 year olds, and $19 for 3-16 year olds. The luau opens at 5pm where guests are encouraged to take a tram ride or stroll around the beautiful gardens for a bit before the Imu Ceremony begins at 6pm. We actually missed the Imu Ceremony when taking the girls to the restroom, which was a bit of a bummer (fortunately we’ve seen ceremonies like this before), but we did really enjoy the tram ride. The gardens were beautiful and next time I’d love to actually walk around them and take a few photos.
Food is served buffet style at 6:30pm and was excellent! We especially loved the pork and chicken. There was also a great salad bar along with plenty of fresh fruit (Adeline’s favorite!). For dessert, there was a variety of options, including haupia, jello, and cake. During dinner, there was live music as well.
After dinner, guests are welcome to walk over to the stadium to view the night show. The show itself is beautifully done and shows the different cultures that have made their home in Hawaii (including Tahitian, Japanese, Filipino, and more). My personal favorite part was the fire dancer at the end! The stadium has a bit of a cover on it, unless you’re in the front row (like we were). These were definitely some of the best seats, but we did get rained on a bit (and got several bug bites- make sure to bring some lotion/spray if you go! If you’re ever in WA, we love buying all natural lavender bug spray from our local Lavender Farm).
It’s a bit of a late night for kids, but our girls both loved it and had a really great time. I would definitely recommend both the river cruise and the luau if you ever find yourself in Kauai. Both were incredibly family friendly and very well done! You can view more of our wonderful afternoon and evening in my Kauai Highlights on Instagram.
A special thank you to Smith’s Kauai for the discount tickets for both the cruise and the luau. 💛