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Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park Tours

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13 Reviews
Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park
Evidence of a little-remembered attempt by Russians to gain a foothold in Hawaii between 1815 and 1817 can still be found in the remnants of an old fort alongside the mouth of the Waimea River. Though today the site is little more than jumbled red rock walls hinting at its former layout, an irregular octagon guarding entrance into Kauai via the waterway, it once was the site of grand plans to use Kauai as a permanent provisioning and trading station for the state-sponsored Russian American Company. With outer rock walls constructed from ancient heiau (Hawaiian temples), the fort once included residences, a chapel, gardens, a trading center and the main fort building. Visitors can explore what’s left via a self-guided interpretive tour following signage with drawings of how the area once appeared.

Here, Dr. Georg Anton Schäffer, sent to retrieve lost cargo from a wrecked Russian American Company ship, overstepped the orders of his mission. Schäffer instead built the fort complex, befriended Kauai’s chief, set him against the newly instated Hawaiian King Kamehameha and secured a sandalwood monopoly for the company. When Mother Russia learned of Schäffer’s actions, however, she disapproved. Russia didn’t want to become embroiled in the already complicated politics of the islands; they just wanted their cargo back. So, Russia summoned Dr. Schäffer home, leaving the fort to be claimed by the Hawaiians, and, later, after the dismantling in 1864, the elements.

Practical Info

The remains of the fort—within the larger Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park—are located off Kaumualii Highway (named for Kauai’s last king and the man Dr. Schäffer befriended) on the river’s eastern bank about a mile south of Waimea proper. The site has a small parking lot and is open daily during daylight hours. If visiting during peak sun, bring sunscreen and a hat; the area is exposed with little shade.
Address: Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, Hawaii 96796, USA
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5 Tours and Activities to Experience Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park

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Private Waimea Canyon TourDay Trips

Private Waimea Canyon Tour

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Experience the best of Kauai on a full-day private tour through the island’s scenic landscape, highlights and historic landmarks. Sample locally-grown beans at the Kauai Coffee Company, and visit old-fashioned Hanapepe; see the last Russian outpost on Hawaii, follow the footsteps of Captain Cook and take in stunning views of Waimea Canyon. Feel the mist off Waipo’o Falls, watch the Spouting Horn lava tube erupt with towering surf and watch for sea turtles in a sheltered cove before finishing your tour with a visit to stunning Wailua Falls. *Price displayed is based on a party of four to six passengers
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$231.74 
Price varies by group size
From  
US$231.74 
Price varies by group size
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Kauai Tour Bundle: Get 4 Kauai Audio ToursMulti-day Tours

Kauai Tour Bundle: Get 4 Kauai Audio Tours

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Explore Kauai at your own pace with this audio tour app that uses GPS to guide you to and around some of the island's top attractions. Skip paying for a bus tour and make the most of your vacation time with the freedom to stop and go as you please. Along the way, the app provides narration, stories, and fun facts. The tours can be downloaded and used offline so you don't have to worry about service around the island.
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$21.32 
per group
From  
US$21.32 
per group
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation

Kauai: Waimea Canyon TourDay Trips

Kauai: Waimea Canyon Tour

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Experience the majesty of ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ on this full-day tour of the Waimea Canyon and highlights of Kauai’s southern shore. Peer into the cavernous red expanse from the best vantage points, and learn how the canyon was formed by thousands of years of erosion. Along the way, see other natural and cultural attractions including the Spouting Horn blowhole, Waimea Town, the Hanapepe Valley Lookout, Fort Elizabeth and old Koloa Town.
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  • 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$85.00 
From  
US$85.00 
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  • 7 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Kauai: Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto KauaiNature and Wildlife

Kauai: Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto Kauai

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Discover some of the Garden Isle’s most enchanting landscapes and cultural attractions on a full-day Kauai sightseeing tour by coach. Peer into the majestic, multicolored expanse of Waimea Canyon, be surrounded by the lush tropical paradise of the Fern Grotto and learn about sacred Hawaiian legends on a cruise down the Wailua River. See many of the island’s south shore highlights along the way, including old Koloa Town, the Spouting Horn natural blowhole, Captain Cook’s Landing and Coco Palms Grove.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$129.00 
From  
US$129.00 
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Kauai Shore Excursion: Journey to Waimea CanyonHalf-day Tours

Kauai Shore Excursion: Journey to Waimea Canyon

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While in port in Kauai, take a half-day tour to Waimea Canyon, known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the Pacific'.  In stark contrast to Kauai’s lushness is Waimea Canyon State Park. The canyon offers one of the best views of the island's western coast.  Ddrive through Hawaii’s first sugarcane plantation and to the town of Waimea, made famous by Captain Cook hundreds of years ago. Before concluding your tour back at your original departure point, stop to see the water fly high at Po’ipu’s Spouting Horn on the island's southern side.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$73.60 
From  
US$73.60 
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Frequently Asked Questions

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What's the best way to experience Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park?

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