Potential homebuyers will uncover a wide range of possibilities in Lihue, from one-bedroom condos for under $100,000, to three-bedroom homes in the $500,000 to $750,000 range, to a handful of multimillion-dollar beachfront estates. With a median home value of around $473,000, the area enjoys a low-for-the-island average list price of $337 per square foot. This family-friendly town provides residents with both natural beauty and the conveniences of modern life.
Lihue’s birth can be traced to the opening of its sugar mill in the early 1850s. By the late 1870s, the plantation’s 3,000 acres had expanded to over 30,000, and in 1891, a rail system was added to transport sugar cane from the fields to the mill. Plantation housing and a hospital appeared by 1910, and operations continued to expand until the labor force shortages brought on by World War II. The mill rebounded with its biggest harvest ever in 1947, and operations continued until November 2000.
In the 1940s, as a result of its central location, level ground, and favorable wind and weather patterns, Lihue replaced Port Allen as the site of Kauai’s airport. Its Nawiliwili Harbor continues to serve as the major commercial and cruise ship port for the island. Established in 1938, the town’s Wilcox Medical Center now also represents the largest medical facility on Kauai.
Lihue’s other conveniences include the largest shopping center on the island, Kukui Grove, as well as big box stores like Costco, Home Depot, Kmart, and Walmart. All manner of restaurants, movie theaters, car dealerships, and other essentials have established themselves in the area. The town is also home to two elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, and Kauai Community College.
Those seeking more natural attractions will find Kalapaki Beach in Lihue, often described as the best beach on Kauai’s east coast, with its golden sands, view of Haupo Ridge, and ideal conditions for swimming and bodysurfing. The Alekoko Fishponds, constructed nearly 1,000 years ago, are also nearby. Just north of Lihue, the 80-foot Wailua Falls offer an easily-accessible natural wonder.
History buffs will enjoy the Kauai Museum in Lihue, which focuses on Hawaiian history and culture and displays works by artisans from Kauai and Niihau. A restored plantation home from the 1830s, the Kilohana estate, now provides tours, shops, and a renowned luau experience. The Ninini Point lighthouse, built in 1906, offers another walk back in time.
Situated on the east coast of Kauai, Lihue is less than a half hour’s drive from sunny Poipu to the south, and less than an hour’s drive from lush Princeville to the north. The town is the second largest on Kauai, also serving as its county seat. Lihue’s many amenities make it appealing to those in search of a highly livable area on this remote island paradise.