What to do and see in Lihue, United States: The Best Places and Tips

February 12, 2018 Russell Mellin

Lihue, Kauai's capital city, is also served by the island's only airport, making it the most popular port of entry to Kauai and a hub of industry on this small island. However, Lihue retains its island charm and emerald beauty despite its urbanization. Spend the day sunbathing and dipping into the temperate waters at Kalapaki Beach before enjoying a luau at Kilohana Plantation. Step out of town to witness breathtaking Wailua Falls cascading over tiered stone to a drop of 80 feet.
Restaurants in Lihue

1. Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Highway 56, Hanamaulu, Kauai, HI 96715
Excellent
85%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 6 reviews

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Reviewed By Pamela W - El Cerrito, California

My family heard about this from a friend. We decided to go and had a wonderful time. They give you instructions before you head up and safety instruction before you get in the water. It was a wonderful experience and would highly recommend this. Our group had 5 adults and everyone laughed and twirled in the intertubes. Afterwards we were provided a small lunch.

2. Duke's Kayak Adventures

3-4684 Kuhio Hwy, Hanamaulu, Kauai, HI 96766-9150
Excellent
88%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 173 reviews

Duke's Kayak Adventures

Reviewed By Lizzie K - New York City, New York

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3. Koloa Rum Company

3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766-9505 +1 808-246-8900
Excellent
72%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 589 reviews

Koloa Rum Company

For the first time in history, Rum is being distilled legally on the island of Kauai. Visit Koloa Rum's Premier Tasting Room and Company Store at Kilohana Plantation in Puhi, Kaua`i where our award winning Premium Hawaiian Rums are available. Also popular are our rum cakes, rum fudge sauce, Kukui Brand Mai Tai Mix, jams, jellies, syrups, Koloa Rum logo wear and other unique Hawaiian made products. Open daily at 9:30am. All tastings and alcohol sales require a valid photo ID and all individuals must be 21 years or older to enter the tasting room. Please enjoy responsibly!

Reviewed By dixiedorena - Athens, Georgia

This is not the distillery; it is a small store within a larger touristy complex that includes other stores and a restaurant. The muddy parking lot will be full (including tour buses) and there might be a long wait list for the rum tasting (which...MoreAloha dixiedorena, We appreciate your review of Koloa Rum. We have become very popular and apologize you had to wait. We are happy to hear you were able to participate in a Tasting and enjoyed the rum!

4. Kauai Plantation Railway

3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766-9505
Excellent
57%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 589 reviews

Kauai Plantation Railway

Reviewed By Mike W - Portland, Oregon

This is fun for everybody, and I can see where it would be ideal for families, and the smallest travelers. An hour or so, trainride, through cool orchards, with animals to feed, and all sorts of Hawaii history. There's also a nature walk and train ride, where you can sample the exotic fruits, next time we'll try that. Had a great time, and reasonably priced.

5. Kauai Museum

4428 Rice St, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766-1338 +1 808-245-6931
Excellent
52%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 482 reviews

Kauai Museum

A natural history museum in Kaua'i.

Reviewed By dixiedorena - Athens, Georgia

The Kauai Museum was hopping-busy during a rainy week in March but the place was so interesting I didn't mind the crowds. The displays are evenly split between cultural history of the Hawaiian natives and that of the European colonizers. The grass-roots nature of these displays is evident in the crowded walls and yellowing photographs that convey a wealth of information--perhaps too much because the effect is overwhelming. But through it all the pride of local Kauai residents shines through.

My guess is that many of the staff are volunteers because they were not very tuned in to the questions and needs of a tourist. The reception area inside the door is just for show; sign the guest registry if you wish but move on into the gift shop to pay the admission fee. That building contains native Hawaiian history; there are no signs for the other building but look for a door directly opposite the gift shop to get to the building with European history. There were no docents (tour guides) when we were there but a guided tour could be very helpful in pointing out which artifacts were most important and discussing the broader history that brings all these facts together. We were fortunate in that the museum director was giving talks in the main room on the day of our visit (perhaps due to the large crowds who came because of the rain) and he spoke briefly about the native Hawaiian kings and queens whose pictures were on the walls.

I'd seen mention of a documentary movie in the second building but was very disappointed. There are three DVDs, each about an hour long, showing on a small TV in front of a dozen plastic lawn chairs while people file past looking at other displays on the walls. There is no scheduled start time so you stumble upon the movie without knowing what's playing or when it started. I saw the last 20 minutes of an excellent film but when it ended someone thrust in a different DVD so I couldn't watch the beginning that I'd missed. This is better than nothing but I hope a generous benefactor helps build a separate theater space and sponsors someone to edit the films into shorter pieces with a posted, scheduled timeline. Alternately, the museum could make the films available online behind a password protected firewall that visitors could access with a code from their admission ticket. Could someone please underwrite this?!!

Overall this museum is worth your time. There's easy parking in the back. Pay the admission ($15/adult) knowing that your money is supporting a worthy cause.

6. Kalapaki Beach

Shoreline Access, Off Highway 56, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766 +1 808-464-0840
Excellent
57%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 756 reviews

Kalapaki Beach

Reviewed By Brent W - Stowe, Vermont

It's lovely how the cliffs rise up so sharply right next to the beach. Seeing such majesty makes you feel more in awe of the fact that you're on yet another unique Hawaii beach.

I think Kalapaki Beach is somewhat ignored as a must-visit beach, as the city of Lihue itself is nothing very special, although there are great places to visit. You have to drive through some unremarkable areas to get to this jewel in its quiet cove.

Nice for swimming and relaxing. No rough surf or rocks to contend with, like at many other Kauai beaches. And you can walk from the beach and do some cheap or expensive shopping, eat lots of crazy good food, get gelato or ice cream or get your luxury resort face on.

7. Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls)

21.988204, -159.524912, Hanapepe, Kauai, HI
Excellent
78%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 40 reviews

Manawaiopuna Falls (Jurassic Park Falls)

Reviewed By John B - Toronto, Canada

The Manawaiopuna Falls were made famous in the original Jurassic Park movie in the opening scene when a helicopter carrying the "star" visitors lands at the base (the helicopter pad built for the movie has since been washed away). There's no way to see the falls except by helicopter - one of the tour companies actually lands nearby while the others give you a great aerial view.

8. Wailua Falls

Maalo Rd, off Hwy 580, Lihue, Kauai, HI +1 808-464-0840
Excellent
52%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Wailua Falls

A popular waterfall attraction.

Reviewed By Juma B - Rolling Hills, California

Part of day tour purchased. Stopped there at about 11 am. It was hot and crowded from tourist buses and private tourist cars. Photography was therefore a challenge. The site itself is breathtaking although far away from the vantage point to truly appreciate its majesty.

9. Ninini Point Lighthouse

Ninini Point St., Lihue, Kauai, HI
Excellent
46%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 221 reviews

Ninini Point Lighthouse

Reviewed By WorldTravelers34 - Chicago

Ninini is an 86-foot-tall lighthouse originally built in 1906, then rebuilt and upgraded in 1932. The inside is closed to the public due to no full time light keeper. Sadly, the lighthouse isn't open to visitors and someone had sprayed painted parts of it. Still there was a stark beauty to the weathered artifact. Steel and salt water merged into a layer of rust. Long abandoned windows still let light into abandoned structure. Would recommend if you love seeing old lighthouses like we do.

10. Kilohana Plantation Estate

3-2087 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766-9505 +1 808-245-5608
Excellent
49%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 692 reviews

Kilohana Plantation Estate

Built in the 1930's, Kilohana Plantation is a historic landmark and premier visitor attraction offering visitors and locals a glimpse into Kauai's past combined with assorted island-style activities, dining and shopping. Ride on our Kauai Plantation Railway, winding its way through the plantation's working farms and orchards. Learn about Kauai's history, enjoy the beautiful views and stop to feed the pigs! Take the afternoon to stroll the grounds and explore the 16,000 sq. foot plantation home. Stop in at Koloa Rum Co. for a rum tasting or for a full "Rum & Dining Experience." Visit the various artisan shops located around the grounds and both upstairs and downstairs in the home. Established in 1986, Gaylord's restaurant is a Kauai tradition. Set in the courtyard of the estate, it offers fresh, island-inspired food and beverages for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Make lunch a part of your fun afternoon on the estate or make reservations for a romantic dinner. Memorable by day, unforgettable by night. Or check out Happy Hour in the new Mahiko Lounge. Luau Kalamaku is Kauai's only theatrical luau telling the story of the original Tahitian voyage to the Hawaiian islands. An interactive experience, it offers all the exciting luau features including an imu ceremony, torch lighting, Polynesian knife dance and of course traditional music & hula. Choose one or all of the features that Kilohana Plantation has to offer. Open daily, you'll love the chance to see a piece of Kauai's history while experiencing the best of the island today!

Reviewed By Autumn M - Stamford, Connecticut

They have a train that goes around the property. There is also a place to eat. We really enjoyed the koloa rum on site. They do tastings every 30 mins.

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