You’ll be surprised with all the cool things to do in Lihue, Hawaii now

Lihue, the regional capital in Kauai always seems to be just a launching point from the island either from the airport or the harbor are for cruises coming into port. Being the government and commercial center of the island and is where most of the locals working directly in the city, most visitors think that there’s just a few things to do around Lihue.

But you’ll be surprised to learn that there are so many cool and fun things to do in Lihue, Hawaii and the surrounding area outside of the city. 

Even though the natural beauty and lush nature of the island is lacking from the city center, there is still beach areas, outdoor activities and recreation available in town and the surrounding area.

You can enjoy the outdoors and good life around Lihue and here are some of the best things to do in Lihue and areas close to town.

** Please note – during the Covid pandemic some of the Kauai attractions may be closed or opened with limited time frames to accommodate security or availability to visit those attractions. Check on the latest Covid travel to Hawaii information here.

Things to do in Lihue

Where is Lihue, Kauai located?

Located in the southeast region of Kauai, Lihue is only a six minute drive from the main airport down Ahukini Road to the downtown area. From Princeville, Lihue is about 29.2 miles. Poipu to Lihue is about 13 miles to downtown.

Where is Lihue located?
Visit Lihue and scene from above

Lihue’s history

The island was mostly a plantation town to the sugar cane industry which ruled the commerce of Kauai with the formation of the Lihue Sugar Plantation in 1849. The sugar industry continued but with intense competition started a slow decline in business. Many of the abandoned sugar mills have been converted into living museums for visitors to explore and see Kauai’s historic past.

Best things to see in Lihue

Best things to see in Lihue, Kauai

Visit the Kauai Museum

Visit the Kauai Museum

When you visit Lihue’s historic downtown district, check out the Kauai Museum. Located in town on Rice street, the Kauai Museum explores the islands indigenous past, Captain Cook’s visit to the island, missionary culture and assimilation into modern day Kauai. The museum also offers revolving shows and featuring local artists from the island and also Niihau at their galleries and special shows.

Koloa Rum Company tasting room

Koloa Rum Company

One of the cool places to visit in Lihue is the Koloa Rum Company has a fantastic tasting room in the company store. Less than an eight minute drive south from Lihue on Hwy 56 to Hwy 50 and follow directions to the distillery. There are tastings done every 30 minutes to enjoy rum spirits made from Hawaiian sugar cane distilled from large copper pots to impart a smooth flavor of rum.

Relax at Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach

Located about a 10 minute drive south from Lihue on Hwy 56 and left turn on Rice street, Kalapaki Beach is a popular local beach which is good for swimming, body surfing, SUP, surfing and walking along the nice expansive beach. Family friendly with relatively calm seas. Located at Kalapaki is the Marriott Resort and Beach Club along with a golf course in the area.

visit the Akeko Fish pond

Akeko Fish pond

A 1,000 year old aquaculture fish pond created and on the national register of historic places. Akeko Fish Pond was built as an aquaculture fish pond from the indigenous early Hawaiian people the fishpond has a mythical element that menehune (small ancient people) by legend hide from humans and created this pond in just one night. The fishpond can be seen from above at an overlook spot on Hulemalu Road.

Visit Kilohana Plantation

Visit Kilohana Plantation

A historic plantation home built in the 1930’s in the tudor style, Kilohana Plantation now host’s the island’s iconic Luau called Kalamaku, a tour of the home and a small plantation village you can visit and even tour on a small plantation railway train around the grounds and working farm.

Grove Farm Homestead

An old sugar cane plantation that gives a nice insight to Kauai’s plantation past with a 100 acre estate where you can tour the property including the old Wilcox home, the Grove Farm Plantation housekeepers home, tropical gardens, orchards and other places of interest around the plantation.

Visit Wailua Falls

Visit Wailua Falls

One of the iconic things to do in Lihue is to visit Wailua Falls. The double tiered falls drops down 80 feet from the top to pool area. Easy to access by visitors, Wailua Falls is about a 13 minutes drive north of Lihue on Hwy 583. You can easily see Wailua Falls from the road and if you visit in the morning, you might see some rainbows around the mist over the falls area.

Where to eat at Lihue

Where to eat at Lihue

The Fish Express – 3-3343 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue

Local food, sandwiches, fusion style dishes and seafood lunches

Marks Place – 1610 Haleukana St Ste A Puhi, Lihue

Local style Hawaiian and Polynesian fare and plate lunches to go

Konohiki – 3-4301 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue

Local style, poke bowls, Pupus and Hawaiian desserts

Kauai Beer Company – 4265 Rice St, Lihue

A fantastic brew pub that serves American bistro style, appetizers and yummy sandwiches

Smiley’s Local Grindz – 4100 Rice St., Lihue

Seafood, Hawaiian style foods, loco moco and other popular local comfort food

Where to stay in Lihue

Where to stay in Lihue

There’s a full range of condominium rentals, hotels to resorts around Lihue and nearby locations, check out these top rated places below.

The Kauai Inn – A popular inn that is family friendly with fantastic customer service and Hawaiian hospitality. Great value, good location, clean and generous continental breakfast

Marriott Kauai Beach club – Beach front property in a fantastic area with ocean and mountain view rooms in a bubble resort with friendly service.

Kauai Shores Hotel – A value rated hotel that is beach front with clean modern rooms, free bikes and morning yoga, pool and other beautiful public grounds and gardens.

Check out these other top rated hotel reviews on TripAdvisor here for more details, availability and current prices.

Check out these other posts to visiting Kauai

Beautiful Hanalei town

Fantastic hikes of Kauai

Visit Wailua Falls

Explore the beaches of Kauai

Did we miss anything?

Hope that this post showed you all the fun things to do around Lihue, but did we miss anything? Please share your tips or experiences in the comments below

Kalapaki Beach close to Lihue

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Would you stay in Lihue, Hawaii?

After reading the post would you stay or visit any of these attractions around Lihue? Please share on the comments below.

Conclusion to visiting Lihue, Hawaii

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2 Comments

  1. Denise Stacey Arakawa

    Kauai island is beautiful !
    I love the Island 🏝 will be there again soon!

    Reply
    • emorata

      Awesome, hope you get back to Kauai and Lihue again soon

      Reply

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.