Enjoy stunning coastal views and wildlife spotting at this iconic landmark that has guided ships along the island’s treacherous coast for over a hundred years.
At the northernmost tip of Kaua’i Island sits the historic Kīlauea Lighthouse. Built in 1913 as a beacon for passing ships, the lighthouse is now one of Kauai’s most popular attractions where you can spot local wildlife and enjoy picturesque ocean views.
The Kīlauea Lighthouse is a distinctive white 52-foot (16-meter) structure perched on Kauai’s northern peninsula. In the first half of the 20th century, it guided ships from the Orient along the island’s dangerous coastline. Its light was visible for 90 miles (145 kilometers) in all directions. Deactivated by the Coast Guard in 1976, it was entered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Although the light has been replaced with an automatic beacon, you can still see the unique double flash that has been the lighthouse’s signature since its creation.
The lighthouse is located in the middle of the Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge was established in 1985 to conserve seabird nesting colonies. Take a self-guided walking tour through the refuge and keep watch for the many bird species that call the area home, such as red-footed boobies, albatrosses and frigates. Learn about the history of the area and the local wildlife from the information plaques located throughout the peninsula.
Above the refuge looms Crater Hill, part of an extinct volcano. Hike up this hill for spectacular views of the north shore coast and Moku’ae’ae Islet just offshore. Scan the waters for Hawaiian monk seals and spinner dolphins. From December through May, you can even spot humpback whales.
Browse the on-site bookshop and gift store run by the Kīlauea Point Natural History Association. Purchase souvenirs and learn more about local ecosystems.
The lighthouse is a 45-minute drive north of Lihue. There is a small admission fee, but children can enter free. Park in the paved lot near the visitor center and then take the short walk to the lighthouse. Kilauea Lighthouse is open daily during daylight hours.