Kīlauea is located on Kauaʻi’s northeastern shore and is set amid mountainous terrain and dense rain forests. Kīlauea shares its name with one of Hawaii’s most active volcanoes, which has been erupting steadily since 1983.
Take in the dramatic view at Kīlauea Point, a former volcanic vent that marks the northernmost point of all of Hawaii’s main islands. Kīlauea Point was designated a National Wildlife Refuge in 1985. Sit for a while beneath the Kīlauea Point Lighthouse and watch for humpback whales and dolphins. Or, pack your binoculars and go in search of native birds like the red-footed booby and the Laysan albatross. Stop by the visitor center to learn more about the area’s rich history and wildlife.
Kīlauea’s perpetually warm, sunny weather is best appreciated on one of its beaches. Whether you’re an avid surfer or prefer to sunbathe, Kīlauea’s clean sandy shores are an ideal place to pass the afternoon. Secret Beach is dotted with lava rocks and affords a beautiful view of the lighthouse. Kalihiwai Beach and Rock Quarry Beach are two other popular oceanfront destinations. Take a diving or snorkeling lesson to see vividly colored coral gardens, schools of tropical fish and graceful sea turtles.
Head to the town center to enjoy fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. Boutiques, galleries and cafés make the compact downtown area a perfect place to spend an afternoon. Each week the street is closed off to make room for a farmer’s market, where you can sample fresh produce and regional delicacies. Kīlauea is nicknamed the “Guava Capital of the World” thanks to the large number of plantations growing the fruit. Make sure to sample freshly squeezed juice or a smoothie, which is something of a local specialty.
No trip is complete without experiencing a luau, where you can enjoy local dishes and learn more about the musical and cultural traditions from the area.
Kīlauea is less than an hour’s drive southwest of Lihue Airport. Public transportation is limited, so rent a car, motorbike or bicycle to get the most out of your visit.