Road Tripping in Kauai
Updated: Oct 8, 2020
This is the third post in a series of road trip itineraries for the Islands of Hawaii. This week brings you to the island of Kauai. It might be somewhat of an unusual activity on a small island but we feel like going on a short road trip is part of the Hawaiian experience. Since we almost always suggest a car rental on the islands, why not create your own holoholo kaa (driving) adventure while you are there? Check out our suggestions below for travelers going to Kauai. Then, if you haven't already, read about the Island of Hawaii and Oahu. We will share Maui in an upcoming post.
Kauai's eastside is sometimes referred to as the Royal Coconut Coast for the
groves of coconut palms growing in its resort areas. We recommend that you begin your eastside road trip in Lihue - Kauai's bustling main town - and its scenic Nawiliwili Bay and Harbor. Explore the town of Lihue and then head south for a stop at the overlook of thousand-year-old early Hawaiian fishpond Alekoko which neighbors the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Lihue.
On the drive north on Route 56, suggest a stop in Wailua, hopping from auto to a boat for guided tours of the tranquil Wailua River, Hawaii's longest navigable waterway, which weaves through verdant rain forest landscapes. Get back in the car and then head over to the lookout for Opaekaa Falls before heading onward to Kapaa town. Kinipopo Shopping Village in Kapaa is another great stop for its variety of fun retailers and eateries.
Back on Route 56, we encourage you to look for the ridge-line of Nounou mountain (aka the Sleeping Giant), and its nature-made silhouette of a reclining colossus, as they leave Kapaa for scenic points north, including the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge.
Check out the map with driving directions!