Feasting while enjoying traditional Hawaiian song and dance via a luau is a must for anyone visiting Hawaii. In fact, the question really isn’t whether to go but rather which luau to go to. On the island of Kauai, there are several fantastic outfits to choose from but if what you are looking for is a more natural setting with premium food, then the best choice for you and your party is the Smith Family Garden Luau.
Called “Best Luau on the Island” by The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, 5th Edition, there are a lot of things to love about the Smith Family Garden Luau — but let’s start with the backdrop. This luau takes place amidst the Smith’s Fern Grotto, a lush 30-acre garden park centrally located on the Kauai’s eastern shore and along the Wailua River. This is a verifiable tropical paradise within a tropical paradise and the stunning display of tropical flowers and fruit trees is a perfect setting for the Smith Family Garden Luau.
The second big reason why the Smith Family Garden Luau gets such rave reviews is the food. This group does not skimp on the good stuff. Access to the big pa’ina, or buffet feast, is a part of your entrance fee to the event. The feast’s main course is always a succulent Kalua pig roasted in the onsite earthen imu oven (and the festivities start out with an imu ceremony). Delicious side dishes include a family recipe for teriyaki beef, chicken adobo, ono mahi-mahi, and poi bowls.
Once full, guests are invited to find their theater seats as the big show gets underway. This show is also called the Rhythm of Aloha Show and combines authentic performances from an array of cultures, including Hawaii, Tahiti, China, Japan, and the Philippines. However, while some people love (again the Smith Family Garden Luau does get rated among the best in Kauai) this more modern cohesion of dance, with some describing it Disney-level in terms of quality and focus, other people dislike it for this same reason. This is a more overtly commercialized luau that does not follow a more storyline format. Families with young children are apt to most appreciate an evening at the Smith Family Garden Luau.
Guests who want to make this a longer affair, consider opting for the Fern Grotto Cruise Along the Wailua River upgrade. Priced at $30 for adults and $15 for children ages 2 to 12, this add-on event takes place an hour and a half before the luau. Here, you’ll be guided up the Wailua River aboard a spacious, open-air boat. The two-mile journey will take you to the Fern Grotto landing, a unique geological wonder in which ferns grow upside down.
The Smith Family Garden Luau is located just off of Kuhio Highway. You’ll find the entrance just across the street from Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay. Other nearby attractions include Lydgate Beach Park and the Kalepa Mountain Forest Reserve. In fact, there’s so much around here that it’s easy to spend a whole day or weekend within just this small part of Kauai.
-Reservations here are strict. You will not be subject to a refund if you have to cancel 48 hours in advance for small parties or 72 hours in advance for parties of six or more. Furthermore, canceling outside those times can hit you with a 10% service charge. So make sure you plan your day’s itinerary well before making the final event purchase.
-Parking at Smith’s is free, but there are also several transportation outfits if you choose not to drive. Most of the local Wailua hotels are connected with shuttle service to and from the luau. Additionally, its close location to Wailua Bay means that it might be walkable for some.
-We recommend arriving early to give you and the others in your party plenty of time to wander the beautiful grounds.