What’s more talked about than Kauai weather? It’s driving distances on this 33 mile long and 25 mile wide Garden Island. Take a look at the Kauai map below and you’ll see the highway doesn’t make a full circle because of the rugged Na Pali Coast. Years ago a road was started between Haena and Kokee, but the Alakai Swamp got in its way. What you will now find is a scenic highway and 90 miles of coastline where Kauai beaches are always close by.
Two Shortcuts Make for Faster Driving Times from your Kauai Vacation Rental
How long it takes to drive from Ke`e Beach at the end of the North Shore to Polihale Beach where the road ends on the Westside, will always vary. It depends on time of day, traffic including road expansion in Lihue and whether you use these two Kauai shortcuts during peak travel times:
1. Puhi Bypass – To find this route, look for the Menehune Fish Pond pictured here on our Kauai map. From your Poipu rentals the turnoff is at the edge of Lihue just past the Humane Society. Traveling from our Hanalei rentals or the Princeville Resort, you’ll pick up the road at Nawiliwili Harbor where the cruise ships dock. Take your camera to capture sweeping mountain views. Located on the other side is Kipu Beach that was featured in The Descendants.
2. Kapaa Bypass – Thanks to landowner Bette Midler, there are no developments planned on this scenic route. Coming from Lihue, you’ll find the turnoff near the Coconut Marketplace and can take it to the Kapaa Town Center near the ABC Store. Driving from Hanalei, the turnoff is at the beginning of town across from the coastal Kauai Path with its oceanfront biking and walking opportunities.
Spend More Time on Kauai Beaches and Less Time in Your Car
1. Avoid rush hour traffic weekdays in Kapaa, Lihue and the South Shore between 7am-8am and 3:00pm-5:00pm.
3. Even if traffic is slow, the views are magnificent. Keep your mapping tools handy to find Kauai beaches nearby. When you are ready for a break, stop for an oceanfront lunch using our Kauai dining tips.
Examples of Kauai Driving Times
Islanders and locals never pay attention to highway numbers or miles – instead it’s all about the markers along the way and the time it takes to drive. Here are some ideas of what to expect on your Kauai vacation:
Airport to Poipu Beach: 25 minutes
Airport to Princeville Resort: 45 minutes
Hanalei Beach to Poipu: 75 minutes driving the famous Tree Tunnel before Koloa.
Kee Beach to Poliahle Beach: 120 minutes
Poipu to Waimea Canyon: 60 minutes
We invite you to share your tips and suggestions. Where is your favorite place to drive on Kauai?