Driving Tour: Kuhio Highway

Quick Facts

  • Start Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • EndKeʻe Beach
  • Length four hours; 17 miles

1 Kilauea

Begin the day's drive at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where the plentiful bird life, the swirling sea and the historic Kilauea Lighthouse can't be missed. Look left and you'll see gorgeous Kauapea (Secrets) Beach beckoning. Drive through Kilauea town, stopping to browse at Hunter Gatherer and Lotus Gallery; stroll through the cemetery and check out the stunning stained glass at Christ Memorial Episcopal Church.

The Drive

Turn right on Kauapea Rd and make a right at the first intersection. Park and follow the trail downhill. Park and follow the trail downhill to Kauapea (Secrets) Beach. If it's summer, take a breath here and go for a swim. Then hump back to your car and hit Kuhio Hwy heading west.

2 Princeville

As you descend toward the magical arched bridge that spans the Kalihiwai Valley, the tabletop Albezia trees punctuate a magnificent jade landscape. Oh, yes, you're on the North Shore now. Eight miles later you'll have arrived in Princeville, a manicured development on the bluffs. Pass the Princeville Center and drive on to the weathered shingled cottages of Sealodge, where the sea views are unbroken with whales that spout and breach all winter long. Before leaving Princeville, stop at the Hanalei Valley Lookout, where the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge unfurls in full view.

The Drive

Follow the highway downhill, pausing for traffic at the one-lane Hanalei Bridge. Buzz through Hanalei, stopping at Lumahaʻi Beach for a stroll before grabbing a takeaway bite at Sushigirl Kauai in tiny Wainiha. Keep rolling west on Kuhio Hwy.

3 Haʻena Beach Park

Stop at Haʻena Beach Park for lunch and make sure to walk to the back wall of the spooky cool Maniniholo Dry Cave across the street.

The Drive

Keep motoring as the narrow road winds along an increasingly breathtaking coastline, the black cliffs dripping with life, and pull into Limahuli Garden.

4 End of the Road

Walk the 0.75 mile self-guided loop trail in Limahuli Garden, then drive into misty Haʻena State Park where you can explore a pair of Wet Caves, the sacred Kaulu Paoa Heiau and beautiful Keʻe Beach; the official end of the Kuhio Hwy.