Flights to Kauai, Hawaii (LIH)
Pronounced Kuh-WUH-ee, Kauai is a rugged, naturally beautiful island of Hawaii characterized by lush, sawtooth mountain ranges, deep scenic canyons and plunging waterfalls. And, of course, all of its natural beauty is surrounded by sandy beaches, coral reefs and the deep blue waters of the Pacific. It sits 105 miles to the northwest of Oahu and is geologically the oldest of Hawaii’s main islands. It was formed by volcanic activity approximately six million years ago.
The island’s verdant nature has helped it garner the nickname “The Garden Island.” Rainfall on the island, which helped carve the famous Waimea Canyon, also makes it one of the most fertile places on earth. Farmers there grow sugarcane, coffee, mango, avocado, pineapple and papaya among many other fruit and crops.
And it’s not just visitors who can’t get enough of the island’s beauty. If its emerald mountain ranges look familiar, that’s because you’ve seen them on the silver screen in movies like Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Lilo & Stitch to name just a few. In a state like Hawaii, it’s hard to find a bad view, but as the chain of islands go, Kauai is particularly rich in scenery.
You’ll know you’ve landed in paradise when you touch down at Lihue Airport on Kauai. It’s a unique airport with an open-air design and very few exterior walls. The airport is small with two runways and eight gates. It has a cafe, bar, coffee shop, newsstand and gift and flower shops. You’ll also find visitor information staff near the baggage claim who are available daily to assist travelers.
Lihue Airport (LIH)
- Lihue Airport is located on the southeast coast of Kauai about 1.5 miles east of Lihue.
- Access to the airport is along Ahukini Road, which extends from Kapule Highway.
- All major car rental companies are represented at Lihue Airport with booths across the street from the terminal.
- The County of Kauai provides bus service on the island between Kekaha and Hanalei with two of the routes stopping at the airport daily.
- Taxi service is available curbside outside the baggage claim areas. Check the Lihue Airport website for approximate fares to popular destinations.
- Pre-arranged ground transportation including hotel shuttles also service the airport. Be sure to check with your hotel or resort first.
NATURE AND SCENIC VIEWPOINTS
Waimea Canyon is probably the most spectacular natural wonder on Kauai. Which, on an island this beautiful, is saying a lot. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” the ten-mile long, 3,000-foot deep canyon was formed by the Waimea River and hastened by extreme rainfall on Mount Wai’ale’ale ¾ one of the wettest places on earth. At Waimea Canyon State Park, you’ll find plenty of hiking trails from which you can take in the view. One notable spot, Kalalau Lookout, affords breathtaking views of the Kalalau Valley and Na Pali Coast.
The island of Kauai is strewn with waterfalls, many of which only run intermittently depending on how much rain has fallen. But Opaekaa Falls is an example of a waterfall that’s always flowing. Not only is it a sight to behold, it’s also one of the most accessible waterfalls in Hawaii. You’ll find it on the east side about two miles up Kuamoo Road (Route 580) from Hwy. 56.
Hawaii is a state encircled by beautiful beaches along just about every bit of its coastline. But Kauai certainly has some of its best and quietest, too. On its North Shore is Hanalei Bay, a two-mile long beach of soft white sand butted up against imposing mountains. If you’re a surfer, it’s a great place to catch a wave. And because smaller waves lap closer to its reef, it’s a great destination for novices as well as more experienced surfers.
One of the best snorkeling spots on Kauai is Tunnels Beach, also on the North Shore. Its reef is only 1/8 mile off shore, so it’s easily accessible to swimmers of all levels. And for those who prefer to dive, the twists and turns of its deep-water caverns are also close to shore. The beach is also a great site for families with little ones thanks to its calmer shallow areas.
Unsurprisingly, Kauai is a relative paradise all year long. Temperatures in February and March average 71°F and 79°F in August and September. Temperatures in the mountains are generally a bit cooler. And even though the island sees as much as 50-100 inches annually in its mountainous areas, rain is short lived and rainbow-inducing enough that it’s forgivable.
For more information about other Hawaii destinations, visit our Hawaii Featured Locations page.