Located on the island of Kauai, the city of Lihue is a port city with plenty going on. Considered by many to be the gateway to Kauai, this fascinating city has a rich culture and heritage, which is evident throughout. The city is home to a range of museums where visitors can learn about the fascinating heritage of this intriguing island through a series of exhibits and artefacts. Lihue is also host to a number of festivals throughout the year where locals celebrate their heritage through traditional Hawaiian music and hula performances. Lihue city is quite the metropolis, home to a range of excellent shops and boutiques as well as the Kukui Shopping Centre – perfect for a little retail therapy. The beach is a major attraction too, unsurprisingly!
A 4x4 would be ideal for negotiating the road conditions on the islands and suitable for off-road driving excursions, especially towards the centre of the island.
Driving in Lihue
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Most of the island can be explored by car. However, there are some areas that are only accessible by air, and can only be toured by taking a trip on a small plane.
Most roads are only two lanes with little or no hard shoulder, so it’s advisable to drive slower than you would normally. Looking out for cyclists and pedestrians is important too.
On the north shore of the island, between Hanalei to Haena, there are several one-lane bridges. Locals tend to allow between five and seven cars to cross the bridge before then giving way to vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.
Highlights & Hotspots
Take a trip to the stunning Waimea Canyon, where you’re greeted with panoramic views of the valley. The canyon is over 3,000ft deep, offering amazing views of the gorges. Along the main road, you’ll find several lookout points and places to park if you want to follow one of the hiking trails.
The Grove Farm Homestead was once an 80-acre sugar plantation, but is now an excellent tourist site where you can discover the way the plantation owners and workers used to live. There is also an excellent museum as well as an array of unique shops, and open-air restaurant.
Discover more of the island’s natural beauty on a trip to the fantastic Wailua River and Fern Grotto. The Grotto has impressive acoustics, demonstrated by the local band. You can either take a boat trip along the river or take a kayak for a more active way to explore this tropical location.
Kalapaki beach is the ideal place to visit both for those who want to relax in the sun and for those who want to hit the surf, snorkel or boogie board. There are a whole host of restaurants and shops only a stone’s throw from the beach.
Lihue Airport is located approximately two miles from the centre of Lihue and is accessible via Ahukini Road.
The airport has one main terminal and mainly serves the island during the summer when tourists are more likely to come.