Boat Rides to the Fern Grotto

By Hawaii.com Team
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Photo: Smith’s Kauai Family Garden.

After a decade of neglect, one of Kauai’s best-known destinations has been restored to its original grandeur. The Fern Grotto is back. This lovely grotto draped with yard-long ferns and known for the acoustics in its natural amphitheater, has undergone a major facelift. Water has been restored to the grotto walls and the ferns are once again thriving.

The grotto is actually an overhanging cliff located at the base of Maunu Kapu (forbidden mountain), the legendary peak that overlooks the south bank of the Wailua River. It was popularized by Smith’s Motor Boat Service more than 50 years ago when the company began running river tours to the grotto.

Over the years, the river cruise to the grotto became a signature attraction, attracting people from throughout the world, many of them looking for a romantic spot for a wedding or a place to celebrate an anniversary.

The short cruise up the river in one of Smith’s vintage river boats is a scenic and historic journey told in legend and song. At the grotto, dancers and musicians will entertain in the lush greenery of this ancient place. Most likely, you’ll hear the “Hawaiian Wedding Song” echoing across the cavern as you leave to go back down the river. And when you leave, you’ll know what it is that makes Kauai, Kauai.

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