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Lawai is a mostly residential town situated slightly inland from the south shore of Kauai. Lawai has a population of about two thousand permanent residents, and covers a total area of about four square miles. There are roughly seven hundred individual properties in Lawai, which is an ethnically and economically diverse community. Lawai is about twenty minutes away from the town of Lihue, which is the traditional population and commercial center of the island. Lawai has a few commercial properties in addition to mostly modest single family homes. These properties include the Lawai General Store and the Menehune Food Mart, while the Hawaiian Trading Post is a more tourist oriented shop. Lawai is home to one well known local eatery, the Lawai Restaurant, as well as a church and the Lawai Post Office. Lawai is found along Koloa Road, a scenic route that passes through a number of historic sites and villages including Lawai.
Lawai is not generally considered a tourist attraction, although there is a bed and breakfast and an inn located within the limits of the census designated place. One of the few tourist oriented properties in Lawai, the Lawai Beach Resort, is home to an impressive selection of recreational options. These include pools, a mini golf course, a gym, tennis courts, and spas. Lawai is within a short drive of a number of excellent beaches, including Lawai Beach. Lawai Beach is great for snorkeling, and nearby Poipu Beach is a common destination for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. Because Lawai is located about five hundred feet above sea level, many properties in the area have excellent views of the shoreline below.