Shutterstock / Doug James


The island's commercial center is strip-mall plain, but there's an abundance of economical eateries and shops along with a down-to-earth, workaday atmosphere that's missing in resort areas. While Kalapaki Beach is a charmer, Lihuʻe is more a place to stock up on supplies after arrival at the airport before heading out on your island adventure.

Lihuʻe arose as a plantation town back in 1849 when sugar was king, and its massive sugar mill (still standing south of town along Kaumualiʻi Hwy) was Kauaʻi's largest. The mill closed in 2000, ending more than a century of operations. It left behind an ethnic melting pot of Asian, European and Hawaiian traditions that make the town what it is today.

Activities tend to center on Kalapaki Beach with a few top golf courses and cool beaches nearby. This is the kickoff point for helicopter tours and a few fun excursions to waterfalls.

Explore Lihuʻe

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Lihuʻe.


Learn more about Lihuʻe

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.