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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
Yes
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Kilauea Lighthouse rises 52 feet above the Kilauea Point and almost 200 feet above the ocean below the rocky outcropping. The beacon once helped shipping and passenger vessels find their way around the rough inter-island seas in this part of the Pacific. Completed on May 1, 1913, the historic location had fallen into serious disrepair until a restoration project on its centennial anniversary brought the area back to life. The light was not fixed, but everything else has been restored to its original glory. The original lantern spun on a bed of mercury to allow an easy and steady spin, so that could not rebuilt for health concerns that were not understood at the time. It was once powered by kerosene and eventually by quartz iodine, which magnified the power tenfold. Eventually a Fresnel lens was installed; this consists of a series of lenses and prisms that focus and intensify light, and it was designed in France and sold for $9,000 at the time. Its assembly instructions came in French, which none of the workers on Kauai knew how to translate, requiring an unprepared visit from an official on O‘ahu who knew the language.

The general area serves as a sanctuary for several species of seabirds and even humpback whales off Kilauea Point during the winter months. You can see red-footed boobies, sheerwaters, albatross, and the great frigatebirds who are all common here. They make their nests in the rocky cliffs around the point as well as in the immediate vicinity of the lighthouse itself. There is a $5 entrance fee, and visitors will find bathrooms, a visitor center, and a bunch of informational placards dotted around the grounds.

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Historic. Great views. Whale watching in winter. Bird watching.

Cons

$5 Fee.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Features

Historically significant
Lighthouse
Family friendly
Guided tours
Flushing toilets
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Whale watching
Bird watching
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

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