Lihue Things to Do

  • Kauai Museum in Lihue
    Kauai Museum in Lihue
    by kellinwood
  • Wailua Falls on a rainy day
    Wailua Falls on a rainy day
    by kellinwood
  • Wailua Falls
    Wailua Falls
    by Etoile2B

Best Rated Things to Do in Lihue

  • derats's Profile Photo

    Waimea Canyon {The Grand...

    by derats Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Waimea Canyon {The Grand Canyon of the Pacific}
    The Waimea Canyon is a spectacular gorge that defies description, it is 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3600 feet deep.
    The mood of the canyon is forever changing, its walls can range from bright reds and oranges, to blues and purples.
    There are a number of lookouts and each is worth the stop. If hiking is your thing, you will find many different trails for all skill levels.

    Related to:
    • Cycling

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    Fantasy Island Falls

    by Etoile2B Written Jul 22, 2009

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    Wailua Falls
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    The Garden Isle of Kauai is filled with verdant foliage and flowing waterfalls. One of the most famous of these falls is Wailua Falls. It gained celebrity when it was featured in the opening credits of the popular American television show, Fantasy Island. These falls are a popular tourist destination because the lookout point is close to Lihue and easily accessible – no hiking required. At the road’s end is a lookout point for the falls, so people can drive up, park and enjoy the splendor. This vantage point offers a nice, if slightly obstructed, view of the falls. There is no hiking trail down to the base of the falls from the lookout point BUT I have heard rumor that there is one about a half mile down the road. I can’t vouch for this, as I personally haven’t done the hike, but I hear it’s steep and narrow and hikers should use caution. I plan to find it and hike it on my next visit.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Kauai and Oahu Air Tours

    by jakeshouse01 Updated Sep 5, 2008

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    Baby Napali
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    Flew on Air Ventures airplane tour on both Islands and it was the best thing weve done in the islands. From the check in process with Donna on Kauai to the pilots informative narration. Definitely recommmend to everyone. Say hello to bubbly donna she's a hoot!

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Kilohana Plantation

    by Hopkid Written Apr 16, 2007

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    The planation house was built in 1935 as the estate of sugar king Gaylord Parke Wilcox. The Tudor-style mansion fell into disrepair for a time but has been restored to its former glory with many of the original antique furnishings and carpets over wood floors. Items of Hawaiian history can be found throughout the building which visitors are free to wander around. Many of the rooms are now occupied by stores that specialize in contemporary Hawaiian arts and crafts.

    Non-shoppers can take the children out for rides on horse-drawn carriages or a scale model train (fee). There is also a small livestock area with farm animals for viewing.

    The back courtyard is home to Gaylord's restaurant which serves diners on the veranda or in the courtyard with views of the local mountains.

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  • This is a rural island whose...

    by kahiwa Written Feb 25, 2003

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    This is a rural island whose primary attraction is its unspoiled beauty. Take the time to visit local attractions, such as the botanical gardens, Waimea Canyon, Kokee, Polihale Beach, the wet and dry caves on the north shore and the Hanalei Valley Lookout.

    If you're relaxing on the beach, look out and see if you can spot the spouting water from a humpback whale offshore (from November through May). You may see a flipper or tail flip up as they surface to breathe then dive. Look also for dolphins, large mantarays, and other sea life. I once saw people pointing to the surf, and saw two black tips flipping out of the water in the surf. At first I thought they were sharks, then I realized it was the wingtips of a very large manta ray playing in the surf. Wow! The same day I saw a family of whales just off shore, cruising along, playing in the waves.
    The island is one of great beauty. If you go to movies, you will have seen some of Kauai in major films, such as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and even South Pacific. I can't think of the other films right now, but I'll edit this when I remember or find out. (Sorry, getting old...)

    Waimea Canyon (pronounced 'why - MAY - ah')is a very scenic canyon carved out of the mountains over the years by the heavy rainfalls at Mount Waialeale (pronounced 'why - ah-lay - ah-lay'). Although it is not as large as the Grand Canyon, it is just as beautiful, with the green and orange tints changing hues as the sun moves across the sky.

    Because this island is so lush, the botanical gardens are not to be missed. The sheer variety of flowers and plants to be seen are fascinating and will give you a greater appreciation of nature.

    Don't forget to see the Hanalei Valley lookout, just across the street from the Princeville Resort. It's a popular lookout that gives you a fantastic view of the Hanalei Valley, with it's patchwork of taro fields down below. It's also the scene you'll find on a number of postcards and publications, since this is what old Hawaii looked like.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Kipu Ranch ATVs

    by delirium874 Written Apr 16, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Once you find your way to Kipu Ranch (check the website for directions) you'll have the time of your life!

    At the beginning of each tour, the staff trains everyone on how to use the ATVs, it's not difficult. My personal favorite is the 4-hour waterfall tour. There is a stop for lunch part way through, as well as swimming opportunities, so make sure you have your bathing suit on under your jeans!

    The tour is definitely the most fun if it's muddy! The dirtier you get, the better!

    Kipu Ranch is the setting for many movies and TV shows. One of the spots along the way is the Indiana Jones Rope Swing. Directly from a scene in the first movie.

    The end of the trip brings you down a moderate hike to the waterfalls, through a bamboo forest. The hike is beautiful and the swimming is great.

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    Kauai Museum

    by kellinwood Updated Nov 16, 2011

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    Kauai Museum in Lihue

    If discovering the history of Kauai and the Hawaiian Islands is your thing then there is probably no better place on the island to do it compared to the Kauai Museum in Lihue. Once inside you will be directed to watch a 30 minute video introduction on the islands and they the rest of the time is spent wandering around the two buildings full of artifacts and photographs. Each item annotated with detailed text posted on the walls and it can take quite a bit of time to go around and read everything. Featured exhibits in the main hall change about once a month.

    This is a good rainy day activity.

    Plan on spending at least two hours here. Admission is $10.00

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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  • Island Helicopters Waterfall Tour

    by margaretpparker Written Feb 6, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Island Helicopters waterfall landing Kauai

    My husband I took the Waterfall Landing Tour with Island Helicopters in early January. We know Kauai very well, but, still, I was stunned with what I saw. Wow! As we wound our way into the upper reaches of Hanapepe Valley, headed towards our landing at a truly spectacular waterfall, I thought to myself, "There is no way any virtual reality master could EVER reproduce this". The pilot, set us down gently on a grassy landing pad and we walked a short distance up to a waterfall so tall and so beautiful you couldn't take a picture of it without practically laying on the ground and shooting straight up. Then, after taking off again, we wafted our way over the nooks and crannies of the Waimea Canyon, that I never see from the road or trails. After that, bursting out over the Na Pali coast (which I've hiked and kayaked several times) just took my breath away. The vantage points and variety of scenery on this tour are extraordinary. Those visions will stay with me always. My appreciation for Kauai, which is already huge, just expanded all that much more. Thanks, Island Helicopters. That tour gave us a long-time memory.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Photography
    • Luxury Travel

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    Wailua Falls

    by kellinwood Updated Nov 14, 2011

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    Wailua Falls on a rainy day

    This is an easy waterfall to visit since there is no hiking involved -- you just drive right up to it. The day we visited it was raining pretty hard and the falls were full of muddy water. This is a good rainy day activity when in the Lihue area of Kauai.

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    Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour

    by CruisingGoddess Written Oct 29, 2011
    Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tour
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    We took Blue Hawaiian Helicopters’ Kauai Eco Tour at 10 am. When you check in, you are weighed and the employees decide your seat in the helicopter by weight. We watched the safety video and then they called our names, forming us in groups of 6 for each helicopter. We were each given a number, which would be our seating arrangement in the helicopter. We were driven to the helipad in a van and waited in a seating area under a tent until they called our group. When our group was called, they asked us to line up by our number and then we were taken to the helicopter.

    The Eco-star helicopter has 3 seats in the front row with the pilot sitting in the left window seat. There are 4 seats in the back row. From what I recall, this is where each number sits…

    1. Front row middle seat
    2. Front row right window
    3. Back row left window
    4. Back row left middle
    5. Back row right middle
    6. Back row right window

    I was #1 and Chris was #2 so we were in the front row with me in the middle. In the back row, an older couple had the right-side and a younger couple on the left-side. The seating arrangement would be unfortunately become a pain point for this flight, as you’ll find out later.

    It was around 10:15 am when we lifted off. Before this year, I had never flown in a helicopter but we flew in one when we went to Alaska in July so this was my second heli ride ever and this year! LOL! Since this wasn’t our first time, I think that took away some of the newbie excitement we had when we rode in a helicopter for the first time. That being said, it was still very exhilirating! There’s no other feeling than taking off straight up into the air and feeling like you are flying because you are surrounded by windows!

    Here’s a list of what we flew over during our helicopter tour:

    Nawiliwili Harbor (including a view of the ship)
    Haupu Ridge
    Keoneloa Beach / Shipwrecks Beach
    Poipu & Mahaulepu Beach
    Koloa
    Kauai Coffee Company’s coffee fields (largest coffee plantation in U.S.) in Eleele
    Hanapepe Canyon
    Waimea Canyon
    Waimea & Waimea River
    Kokee State Park
    Napali Coast
    Ke’e Beach, Kalalau Beach
    Honopu Valley
    Kalalau Valley
    Whale watching over the ocean
    North Shore: Tunnels Beach, Lumahai Beach
    Hanalei
    Very far view of Princeville
    Mt. Waialeale (wettest spot on Earth) & Waialeale Crater (home to 64 waterfalls)
    Kilohana Crater (birthplace of Kauai)
    Far view of Wailua & Kapaa
    Sleeping Giant

    The highlights of the flight were definitely Waimea Canyon, where you could see the river cutting through the ridges, the gorgeous jagged Napali Coast jutting into the ocean, and the countless EPIC sky-high waterfalls in Waialeale Crater! It was pretty rainy in Waialeale Crater but I guess that’s pretty normal since it is the wettest spot on Earth! Also, the rain fills those gorgeous waterfalls!

    The helicopter flight was wonderful and we’re very happy we did it! However, there were a couple of dampers on our flight. First of all, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters’ web site specifically says that we were supposed to see Wailua Falls and the map on their site makes it look like we were supposed fly over part of the east side of the island. However, during our flight, we didn’t see Wailua Falls and once we reached Hanalei, we pretty much flew directly south back over Kilohana Crater to Lihue, not flying over the east side of the island. We did see Wailua from very far away but we certainly didn’t see Wailua Falls. I was disappointed by this because we didn’t visit Wailua Falls by car since I thought we would see it from the helicopter ride so sadly, we left the island without getting to see the falls. (I even bought a postcard of Wailua Falls thinking I’d see it during the helicopter tour.) In the grand scheme of things, not seeing Wailua Falls isn’t that big of a deal but I’m disappointed that I expected to see it because of the web site description. I actually e-mailed Blue Hawaiian Helicopters about this to find out why my flight may have skipped Wailua Falls and I received a direct reply from their CEO Dave Chevalier:

    “First I want to thank you for flying with us. We have traditionally shown Wailua falls on our tour but we have begun to receive complaints from overflights by ground visitors there. When a pilot notes a significant presence of ground visitors they have been instructed to give it a wide berth. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I will clarify that situation on our website. Although Wailua falls is impressive from the ground it does not compare to the waterfalls in Waimea Canyon, which can only be seen by air. We have compensated by including more waterfall views in the remote Waimea Canyon area. Not as well known but more spectacular than Wailua Falls, especially from the air. Notwithstanding this disappointment I hope you valued your experience.”

    I found his prompt response to be very professional and appreciate that he took my concerns seriously. I think this just further shows what an outstanding company Blue Hawaiian Helicopters is and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

    Second, I must warn you that your experience could vary greatly on what seat you have on the helicopter. The best seats are the front on the right side but you have no control over where you are seated because it is decided by weight. We were very lucky to get seated in the front row with the pilot. Unfortunately, someone has to sit in the “bad” seats, which are in the back row on the left. As I mentioned before, it was a young couple on our flight and the woman complained throughout the whole ride that she couldn’t see anything. On one hand, she was exaggerating and a bit melodramatic. When we were flying over the canyons and in the crater where the waterfalls are, there are views on both sides. It was when we were flying along the coast that it was really only the right side that can see it. On the other hand, our pilot also could have made more effort to turn the helicopter around a few times to let both sides see, especially after she complained. He spent 5 full, long, boring minutes over the ocean looking for whales that never came and I would have much rather he spent those 5 minutes giving the left side of the helicopter a chance to see Napali Coast. I felt bad for her but at the same time, she was ruining our ride by complaining so much. It was a major buzzkill and I even felt guilty that we got the good seats. (When I watch the DVD of the flight, I cringe every time I hear her whine.) When the ride was over, we saw her complaining to the staff at the office but I don’t know what came of it. Obviously, what seat
    you get is a gamble and someone has to sit in the “bad” seats. Perhaps the Blue Hawaiian Helicopters should make it more clear to people that not all seats are created equal when they book the tour. But I would hope that if it were me that got the worst seat, I would just accept it and make the most of the ride anyway.

    That looks like a lot of negative to me but seriously, we are so glad we did this helicopter ride and it was really amazing!! As I said before, I bought the DVD of our actual flight. I watched it to make sure this review is accurate about what we saw and when I watched it, I was just struck about how gorgeous the flight was all over again, especially Napali Coast and the waterfalls in Waialeale Crater. The DVD gave me chills!! I highly recommend this flight to anyone looking for a breathtaking experience!

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • National/State Park

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    Hike the Napali Coast

    by tripstakepeople Written Aug 30, 2010

    There are 3 good options for hiking the Napali Coast - 1. Do the entire 22 miles in and out of Kalalau Beach. This requires an overnight at least - look into permits and weather before you go, 2. day hike into Hanakapiai Falls (2 miles to Hanakapiai Beach, and another 2 miles inland to the falls) - 8 miles round trip, or 3. day hike into Hanakapiaia Falls (2 miles) - 4 miles round trip.

    If you have all day and are a strong hiker, go all the way to the falls - we only had the afternoon and went into the beach and back - it is amazing! The trail is rugged, with a lot of vertical ascent and descent, but the views are worth it. The first 2 miles are right on the coast. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks - walking sticks can be helpful too.

    From Lihue, travel north along Rt 56 around the top of the island, through Hanelei, all the way to the end at Ke'e Beach. You will know you are here because you can't go any further! The trailhead is just off of the parking lot. If you have all day, get there early to start hiking, keep a picnic in the car, and stay for sunset - it is one of the best spots on the island to see it.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Backpacking

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