Places to Explore in Lihue, Kauai
As with all areas in Kauai, you have lots of places to discover in Lihue and the surrounding areas of Kalapaki and Wailua. Naturally, you have the scenic beaches for some sand and surf. You can also take a nature trip to the state park and see the waterfalls for some memorable photos. And if you want to know Lihue in depth, there are several cultural and historical locations that can teach you the unique identity of Lihue, aside from it being a heavenly vacation spot. For golf aficionados, having fun on one of the best greens in the country is very much possible in Lihue. So, bring your swim gear, cameras, and golf clubs, and have a blast in the neighborhood of Lihue.
Here, we outline the places that you must see and visit in Lihue. Take your pick, or visit them all to have a grand time in the area. So, you can be choosy or you can be greedy; it doesn’t matter. All of them are there waiting for you in Lihue.
This beach is perfect for swimming and sailing. It also has the Kauai Lagoons, a lagoon of 40 acres which is also home to the local wildlife. So, if you want a nature trip, you can head on to this beach. It also has a luxury accommodation in the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club.
Also great for swimming, this beach can also give visitors a great view of the passing ships, mountain ranges, and coastline. Bring the family along for some fun on the beach or for picnics.
Niumalu Beach Park
This place is perfect for bringing the family along as its coconut tree-lined beaches give shade for picnics and just lounging on the beach. Other interesting activities are sailboarding, kayaking, and camping on the grounds. When camping, one needs to get a county permit first.
Hanama'ulu Beach Park
This is another place that’s great for family activities. The beach park has tables, barbecue grills, and showers for swimming and picnics. Camping is also allowed given one has secured the necessary permit. As such, the Hanamaulu Beach Park is a great place to stay in for backpackers and for vacationers with a limited budget.
This harbor presents a good place to check out the cruise ships and the port views in Lihue. You can also find several ancient temples or heiaus in the area since it was previously a settlement for native Hawaiians. So, you can also get some history and culture aside from the great view.
Grove Farm Homestead
To know how life was during the sugar plantation heydays, you can visit the Grove Farm. It also houses a museum where you can see images of the sugar plantation during the 19th century. This is a great place to bring the kids along for a historical and educational experience.
Huleia National Wildlife Refuge
To see the natural beauty of the wildlife and the tropical jungle, head on over to the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge. Learn more about the local ecosystem and the folklore surrounding the area. One of the best things to do here is to go kayaking on the Huleia River to explore the area and be immersed in its natural beauty. This is also the place where the opening scene of the Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed.
Lydgate State Park
Also near the beach, the park is great for swimming and other water activities. You can also bring the family here for picnics, and there is a playground in the area for the kids. It also has a coconut grove, which in olden times served as a place of refuge for people who broke the law or committed a taboo.
Hauola Place of Refuge
This is the sanctuary that was mentioned just a while ago. Here, ancient Hawaiians go to be safe from persecution. In this area, ancient priests conduct rites to clear the people who entered for refuge, and then allowed to return to their communities.
Another cultural and historical site to go to in Lihue is the Pohaku Ho'ohanau. According to tradition, nobility should give birth to their children near the sacred stones in the area to ensure their children’s nobility and success. It is said that a commoner born here can be considered noble, while a noble born somewhere else is considered a commoner. So, for native Hawaiians, this is a place of great significance.
Hikina Akala Heiau
Speaking of historical and cultural sites, one of the places to go to is the Hikina Akala Heiau. This heiau, or temple, is one of the oldest, with evidence indicating that it was established around 800 AD. It’s name means “rising of the sun”, and is so named because of its location, where it receives the first glimpse of sunlight in the area of Wailua.
Menehune or Alekoko Fishpond
Stories and folklore surrounds the people of Menehune, a tribe of small people believed to have inhabited the island and were very skilled in stone and water works. One of their supposed constructions is the saltwater fishpond that used lava rock and coral for its construction. It was unfinished when the Menehune left them, and the Hawaiians who came and finished the fishpond were not able to match the skill of the Menhune. Another interesting notion about the Menehune is that these people are unique to Kauai island, and that they are not seen or heard in other islands.
And to learn all about the culture and history of Kauai in one location, then it has to be the Kauai Museum. There you can find exhibits that give information about the political, cultural, and natural history of not just Lihue, but of the whole Kauai island. This is a great place to bring the kids to expand their knowledge by learning about the native Hawaiian culture.
If you want a great wedding site, you can head to the Fern Grotto. The Fern Grotto is a cave that is covered by ferns, thus the name, with the vapory mist provided by the nearby Wailua Falls. Access to the area is through a ferry ride along the Wailua River.
And for one of the natural wonders in Lihue, you should not forget to visit the Wailua Falls. The falls is 80 feet tall and is also a popular spot for diving. It was also featured in the TV show, Fantasy Island. It can be reached through the Maalo Road.
Kauai Lagoons Golf Club
For the golf enthusiast and beginner, you have the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club to take care of you in Lihue. The course is designed by Jack Nicklaus and features 18 holes of well-designed, challenging, and scenic greens, links, and views. Nothing less can be expected from the scenery of Kauai Lagoons, and the golfing expertise of golf legend Jack Nicklaus.
With all of these places to visit in Lihue, it’s essential that you plan your trip carefully. As much as possible, try to schedule your trip in a way that you could see all of these places for a complete experience of all that Lihue has to offer. And even if that’s not possible, you shouldn’t worry. Each location provides a small part of Kauai and Hawaii in them, so even if you can’t visit them all, you’re still being given something that is essentially Hawaii. But as much as you can, don’t hold back. Explore, discover, and thoroughly enjoy all that the district of Lihue has to offer.