Lihue Guide

Lihue Guide
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Address , Lihue, HI
A guide to the city of Lihue on the island of Kauai.

• General: Educational • General: History

Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
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Lihue is the commercial city of Kauai with it's main harbor and airport for the state. Locals and tourists stock up here at the only mall with major stores. Although it's not the island's premiere tourist destination, there are a few places to check out in Lihue.

More than likely, you'll spend some time in Lihue during your trip to Kauai. It's located on the southern coast, and is the city that keeps the island running. It's the county seat for Kauai and is the second largest town after Kapaa. Most people enter Kauai at Lihue Airport (LIH) or at Nawiliwili Harbor, it's largest seaport.


Like many towns in Hawaii, Lihue once thrived with it's sugar mills during the mid 1800's. Immigrants from Asia found work on the plantations, and begat it's growth as a major Hawaiian city. As the era of the sugar mills declined, the area maintained an urbanized community where most of the locals on the island work. Industrial areas, restaurants, and common stores that locals frequent are in Lihue such as Costco, Walmart, and The Home Depot. Today approximately 7,000 residents live in Lihue.

Things To Do In Lihue

Lihue has a few sites for tourists to visit. Here are few to check out.

Kalapaki Beach is Lihue's popular beach, backing the Kauai Marriott Resort and next to Marriott's Kauai Lagoons Kalanipuu. The water is calm and protected by a large bay. It's ideal for families visiting the Marriott properties here. Great for kicking back on a beach chair, playing volleyball, swimming, windsurfing, or just watching your kids play in the ocean.

Hidden Ninini Beach has 2 sandy coves perfect for snorkeling when ocean conditions are calm. It’s located across the 13th green at the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club. This beach is not for children, but those that are looking for something a bit different to explore on Kauai while visiting Marriott's Kauai Lagoons Kalanipuu.

Niumalu Beach Park is a launching point for your kayak as you venture up the Hule'ia Stream. Most notably, the stream may be recognized by movie fans from Raiders of the Lost Arc. Camping is permitted her with permits purchased in advance.

Visit the Kauai Plantation Railway at Kilohana Plantation and take a step back in time. The Plantation has lovely gardens, picturesque views, orchards as well as farm animals. The vintage narrow gauge train takes you on a tour circling the plantation. It's a lot of fun for the family, especially children.

The Kauai Museum is home to the island's history from the ancient Alii through World War II.

Visit the dup Grove Farm Homestead Museum, one of the last preserved historic sugar cane plantations in Hawaii. Very interesting exploration of the island's rich agricultural history.

Just outside of Lihue, is one of Kauai's spectacular wonders. Waimea Canyon looks unlike anywhere in Hawaii with it's geographical location. The rainfall here has carved out what looks like a mini Grand Canyon with it's large ravine that descends 3,000 ft. Bring a camera to photograph the waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.

Drive up to Wailua Falls and overlook a 100 foot waterfall that cascades over a cliff sending thousands of gallons of water every minute onto beautiful pools below.

On your way Wailua Falls, check out the Menehune Fishpond, which is an ancient aquatic reservoir used by ancient Hawaiians as early as 1,000 years ago.

When visiting Kauai, it's always a good idea to stock up on sun tan lotion, bottled water, and snacks as you venture out to explore the islands. Lihue will most likely be your entry point to Kauai, so after picking up your rental car, keep your eyes peeled for places to stop and get your supplies.