Hiking on the trail of Kalalau Lookout in Kauai

Top 10 Things to Do in Lihue | Kauai Hawaii | Our 2024 Guide

At Hella Wanderlust, our mission is to provide you with insightful guides and honest reviews. To support this goal and keep our site ad-free, we participate in affiliate programs. This means that if you make a purchase through our links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps us continue delivering quality content and guides. See our Affiliate Disclosure for more info.

Embarking on your inaugural journey to Kauai promises an extraordinary adventure. This Hawaiian island, believed to be the oldest in the archipelago, boasts a rich history shaped by Polynesian settlers, European explorers, and sugarcane plantations.

As you traverse its lush landscapes and pristine beaches, you’ll immerse yourself in the legacy of ancient traditions and diverse cultures. Among its gems, Lihue shines as the island’s beating heart. This vibrant city, nestled at the crossroads of Kauai, exudes a unique blend of urban energy and island charm. Discover the bustling markets, explore historic sites, and savor local delicacies. With its central location and captivating blend of history and modernity, Lihue becomes an unmissable gateway to Kauai’s wonders for every first-time explorer. Keep reading below for our top recommendations for things to do in Lihue!

1. History of Lihue, Kauai

If you’re interested in the history of Lihue, Kauai, you can explore the Grove Farm Homestead Museum and take a step back into the 1800s. Located in Lihue, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the past.

As you walk through the 100-acre farm, you’ll encounter original plantation houses that were built by George N. Wilcox in 1864. It’s a truly immersive experience, connecting you to the area’s rich history.

The museum also offers a two-hour guided tour, providing even more insight into the lives of the people who lived and worked on the plantation. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or just curious about Lihue’s past, visiting the Grove Farm Homestead Museum is a must.

2. Take in the Beauty of Wailua Falls

To fully appreciate the beauty of Wailua Falls, you should head there early in the morning to avoid the crowds and witness the breathtaking cascade firsthand. As you stand in awe of this natural wonder, you’ll be captivated by the sheer power and elegance of the water as it plunges down into the pool below.

Here are a few things you can do while visiting Wailua Falls in Lihue, Hawaii:

  • Take stunning photos of the majestic waterfall.
  • Enjoy a peaceful picnic surrounded by the lush greenery and the soothing sound of the cascading water.
  • Embark on a hike along the nearby trails.

After exploring Wailua Falls, head to Kalapaki Beach, located nearby, and bask in the golden sands and crystal-clear waters, the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun.

Wailua Falls and Kalapaki Beach are just a few of the many incredible attractions that make Lihue a must-visit destination for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts alike.

3. Savor the Taste of Local Kauai Coffee

If you’re coffee lovers like us, we always have to bookmark a bunch of local coffee shops when visiting Hawaii! Before we embark on any adventure for that day, a caffeine fix is mandatory… bonus points if the shop is cute! So skip the Starbucks this time and check out some of our favorite coffee shops in Lihue:

If you are a next-level coffee fanatic be sure to visit the Kauai Coffee Plantation, located in Kalaheo (about 30 minutes west of Lihue). It is the largest coffee farm in the United States where you can learn about the coffee production process on one of their free walking tours.

Credit: itstartedoutdoors.com

4. Relax on the Stunning Beaches

Kalapaki Beach
Kalapaki Beach – Credit: Lonely Planet

Let’s talk about the stunning beaches in Lihue!

One of the most popular beaches is Kalapaki Beach, located near Nawiliwili Harbor. It’s known for its golden sand and calm waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Another beautiful beach is Lydgate Beach Park, which offers a protected swimming area and a playground for kids.

If you’re looking for a more secluded spot, head to Maha’ulepu Beach or Wailua Beach Park.

And for those who enjoy picnicking and beach activities, Hanamaulu Beach Park is the perfect choice.

These beaches offer a variety of options for sunbathing and fun in the sun.

Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach is a popular destination near Nawiliwili Harbor in Lihue. It’s a stunning beach that offers something for everyone. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the soft golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.

Once you’re settled, there are many activities for all ages. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced adventurer, there’s something for everyone. You can try your hand at paddleboarding or rent a kayak to explore the calm waters. For those seeking a bit more excitement, there are surf lessons available for all skill levels.

If you prefer to stay on land, you can take a leisurely stroll along the beach or rent a beach chair and umbrella for ultimate relaxation. There are also beachside restaurants and bars where you can grab a refreshing drink or enjoy a delicious meal with a view.

Kalapaki Beach truly offers a sense of belonging and community. It’s a place where people come together to enjoy the beauty of nature and create lasting memories.

Lydgate Beach Park

After enjoying the beautiful shores of Kalapaki Beach, we couldn’t resist exploring another stunning beach nearby – Lydgate Beach Park. This family-friendly park offers a little something for everyone.

The calm, protected waters are perfect for swimming, and the natural lava rock enclosed pools create a safe and serene environment for little ones to splash around.

As we strolled along the golden sand, we marveled at the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush mountains that surround the park.

The park also has a snorkeling area and a fascinating underwater coral garden for those seeking adventure.

If you’re looking for a place to relax, enjoy a picnic in the shaded pavilions or take a leisurely stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens.

Lydgate Beach Park truly embodies the spirit of community and mana, making it a must-visit destination in Lihue.

Maha’ulepu Beach

Located along the southern coast of Kauai, Maha’ulepu Beach offers us a secluded and picturesque setting to relax and soak in the beauty of the island.

As we step onto the soft golden sand, we are instantly captivated by the stunning panoramic views of the turquoise ocean and rugged cliffs. The gentle sea breeze whispers through the palm trees, inviting us to unwind and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden gem.

Maha’ulepu Beach is known for its pristine and uncrowded shores, making it the perfect spot for a peaceful beach day or a romantic sunset stroll. Nature enthusiasts will also appreciate the diverse marine life and native plants that call this beach home.

Whether you swim, snorkel, or bask in the warm Hawaiian sun, Maha’ulepu Beach is a place where you can feel a sense of belonging to this beautiful island paradise.

Waliua Beach Park

Waliua Beach Park offers a serene and scenic setting on the eastern coast of Kauai. It provides a tranquil escape for us to enjoy the beauty of the island.

As we step onto the soft golden sand, we are greeted by the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore. The crystal-clear waters invite us to take a refreshing dip, relax, and soak up the sun.

The park’s lush greenery and swaying palm trees create a picturesque backdrop. This makes it the perfect spot for a peaceful picnic or a leisurely stroll along the shore.

For those seeking adventure, Waliua Beach Park also offers hiking trails. These trails lead to stunning viewpoints overlooking the coastline.

Whether you’re looking for a moment of solitude or a place to connect with loved ones, Waliua Beach Park provides a sense of belonging in its tranquil atmosphere.

Hanamaulu Beach Park

After enjoying the beauty of Waliua Beach Park, we were excited to continue our exploration of Lihue and stumbled upon another stunning destination: Hanamaulu Beach Park.

Nestled along the eastern coast of Kauai, this hidden gem offers a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to immerse themselves in.

As we walked along the golden sands, we couldn’t help but be captivated by the panoramic views of the sparkling ocean and lush green mountains that surrounded us.

The park’s calm waters make it perfect for swimming and sunbathing, while the picnic areas provide a great spot for lunch.

And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some Hawaiian monk seals lounging on the beach! It truly is a place where you can feel a connection with nature.

Lae Nani Beach

As you continue your exploration of Lihue, you’ll be delighted to discover the beauty and tranquility of Lae Nani Beach. This hidden gem is a true paradise, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Lae Nani Beach is a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation with its soft golden sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The gentle ocean breeze whispers through the palm trees, creating a soothing melody that invites you to unwind and let go.

Whether you’re lounging on the beach, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore, or simply basking in the warm Hawaiian sun, this enchanting beach will make you feel like you belong.

Experience a true sense of belonging in the heart of Lihue by immersing yourself in the natural splendor of Lae Nani Beach.

5. Visit the Kilohana Plantation

Credit: Expedia

To visit the Kilohana Plantation, head to the outskirts of Lihue, where you can explore the historic landmark and its beautiful tropical gardens.

As you step onto the plantation, you’ll be transported back in time to the 1930s when it was the center of a thriving sugar plantation. The 105-acre estate is filled with lush gardens, offering a serene and picturesque atmosphere.

Don’t miss the grand Tudor-style mansion, a restored gem that now houses unique shops and a popular luau. Immerse yourself in the history of Kauai as you take the Train & Lunch Tour, learning about the plantation’s past and its significance to the island.

And when it’s time to dine, indulge in the delicious fare at the Plantation House by Gaylords Restaurant, where you can savor your meal amidst the open-air courtyard overlooking the plantation grounds and the majestic Mt. Waialeale.

A visit to the Kilohana Plantation is a must for those seeking a deeper connection to the rich heritage of Lihue.

6. Hike the Sleeping Giant Trail

Hiking the Sleeping Giant Trail is a challenging yet rewarding experience that offers stunning views and takes you through diverse landscapes on the island of Kauai.

As we ascend this 3.2 to 3.8-mile trail, we’ll journey through forested mountains and tropical rainforests, immersing ourselves in the island’s natural beauty.

The trail’s rapid elevation gain of approximately 1,000 feet provides a thrilling workout for our bodies, and the panoramic views of Kapa’a and the surrounding area at the summit make it all worthwhile.

You’ll be captivated by the sight of the ocean behind you as you make your way up. Many locals and visitors choose to hike this trail for sunrise, adding a touch of magic to the experience.

So let’s lace up your hiking boots and discover the hidden treasures of the Sleeping Giant Trail.

7. Visit the Kauai Museum

Credit: tripsavvy.com

Check out the Kauai Museum, a must-visit attraction on the island.

As soon as you step inside, you’ll feel a connection to the rich history and culture of Kauai. The museum showcases a diverse collection of artifacts, exhibits, and artwork that tell the story of the island’s past.

You’ll learn about the ancient Hawaiian civilization, the arrival of European explorers, and the impact of plantation life. The museum also offers interactive displays and educational programs that allow you to engage with the exhibits and gain a deeper understanding of the island’s heritage.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Kauai’s past, the Kauai Museum is a captivating destination that will make you feel like you truly belong to this beautiful island.

8. Go on a Zip Line Tour

Looking for an exhilarating adventure on Kauai? Let’s talk about going on a zip line tour! Get ready to soar through the lush landscapes of this beautiful island and experience an adrenaline rush like no other.

With multiple zip lines to choose from and breathtaking views at every turn, this is an activity that will surely leave you with unforgettable memories. So buckle up, hold on tight, and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime!

One of our favorite zipline excursions is Kauai’s thrilling zipline adventure with Shaka Zipline. You can glide over three unique valleys and enjoy sweeping ocean views. Imagine the exhilaration as you soar above Kauai’s untouched natural beauty, feeling the wind in your hair and taking in the treetop perspective.

With a running start and a plank launch, you’ll be soaring through the valley filled with native Hawaiian flora and fauna, all while minimizing disturbance to the environment. As you zip through the air, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the majestic mountains and the breathtaking views of the ocean from high above the trees.

This family-friendly activity is the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature and create lasting memories during your visit to Kauai.

9. Go on a Catamaran Tour

Let’s talk about the Napali Coast Sunset Sail, a must-do catamaran tour in Lihue. We had an incredible experience sailing along the stunning Napali Coastline while witnessing a breathtaking sunset. The tour provided an opportunity to admire the towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and pristine beaches from a unique perspective. We highly recommend this tour for anyone looking to create unforgettable memories in Lihue.

If you’re interested in experiencing the breathtaking views of the Napali Coast at sunset, you can set sail along the coast on a Kauai-made sailing catamaran while enjoying a locally-made dinner and delicious drinks.

As the sinking sun casts its golden light on the cliffs, valleys, waterfalls, and secluded beaches, you’ll be in awe of the natural beauty surrounding you. Keep your eyes peeled for manta rays, dolphins, turtles, seals, and, if you’re lucky, whales during their season.

The Kauai-made sailing catamaran provides a comfortable and smooth ride, allowing you to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery fully. Feel the trade winds on your face as you sail through the crystal-clear waters. It’s an experience that will make you feel a sense of belonging to this magnificent island paradise.

10. Learn to Surf

To learn to surf in Lihue, you can head to Kalapaki Beach, Poipu Beach, or other nearby surf spots. Poipu Beach is the perfect place for beginners to learn to how to surf, with its gentle waves and sandy bottom. You’ll feel a sense of excitement and anticipation as you paddle out into the turquoise waters.

The warm sun on your back and the sound of crashing waves create a soothing rhythm that puts you at ease. As you stand up on your board for the first time, you’ll experience a rush of exhilaration and a sense of accomplishment. The feeling of gliding across the water is like nothing else, and you’ll quickly become addicted to the thrill of catching a wave.

With the help of experienced instructors, you’ll learn the proper techniques and safety precautions to ensure a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to improve your skills, learning to surf in Lihue is an unforgettable adventure that will make you feel like you belong to the ocean.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular activities for visitors to do in Lihue, Kauai?

Some popular activities for visitors to do in Lihue, Kauai, include exploring Nawiliwili Harbor and its attractions, visiting the Grove Farm Homestead Museum, and kayaking on the Huleia River.

Are there any local markets or breweries in Lihue where visitors can experience the local culture?

Oh, you’re in for a treat! Lihue offers a delightful blend of local markets and breweries where visitors can immerse themselves in the island’s vibrant culture.

One must-visit brewery is Kauai Beer Company, located on Rice Street, offering a range of craft beers that capture the unique flavors of the island.

Grove Farm Market is a fantastic option for a taste of the local market scene, showcasing locally grown fruits, vegetables, and handmade products.

Make sure to try Aloha Ginger Beer, which is a refreshing local favorite that adds a tropical twist to your beverage experience.

Can you recommend some of the best places to eat in Lihue?

Sure! Some of the best places to eat in Lihue are Gaylords Restaurant, Hamura Saimin, Dukes Kauai, Robs Good Times Grill, and Fish Express. These local spots offer delicious food and a taste of the island’s flavors.

What are some accommodation options in Lihue for different budgets?

Looking for a place to stay in Lihue? We’ve got you covered! There’s something for every budget, from budget options like Kauai Inn to luxury beachfront resorts like Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort.

From budget-friendly to luxurious, Kauai offers an array of accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences. For those seeking affordability without compromising comfort, charming guesthouses and cozy inns dot the island, providing a cozy and economical stay. Mid-priced options encompass boutique hotels and beachside resorts, offering a balance between value and amenities like pools and onsite dining. If you’re looking to indulge, Kauai’s luxury scene boasts opulent oceanfront resorts with spa facilities, golf courses, and exquisite dining experiences, creating a lavish paradise. Whether you’re on a budget, aiming for mid-priced comfort, or seeking a lavish getaway, Kauai’s diverse range of accommodations guarantees a memorable Hawaiian retreat.

Budget Friendly Accommodations

Mid-Priced Accommodations

Luxury Accommodations

Our Thoughts

Lihue, Kauai, offers a multitude of activities and attractions that will captivate any visitor. From exploring the historic Nawiliwili Harbor and its charming yacht club to stepping back in time at the Grove Farm Homestead Museum, there is something for everyone.

Don’t forget to visit the ancient Menehune Fishpond and indulge in the local produce at the Kauai Community Market. And for those seeking adventure, zip lining and catamaran tours are a must.

With its rich history and stunning beauty, Lihue is an unforgettable destination. Fun Fact: Lihue receives over 300 days of sunshine annually, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy all it offers.

We hope you’ve found this blog helpful as you plan your vacation in Lihue, Kauai. Mahalo!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply