You’ll find beautiful, historic Hawaii lighthouses on five islands. There are fifteen lights in the state associated with the U.S. Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.), including the 10 major lighthouses you’ll find in more detail below. There are many other minor lighthouses, bringing the total number to 43 statewide. We look forward to you sharing your experiences about Hawaii lighthouses.
When you find yourself on Oahu, you can quickly reach three major lighthouses in about an hour, starting in either direction. Those include Makapuu, Diamond Head, and Aloha Tower.
Aloha Tower Lighthouse.
Now retired, it is a Hawaii historic landmark that was built in 1870 and opened in 1926 at Pier 9 in Honolulu. It has welcomed ships for nearly 100 years. Once the tallest structure in the islands, it is in a Gothic style and stands 184 feet high.
Barbers Point, Oahu.
The 71-foot tall lighthouse is located at the southwest point of the island and was named after Captain Henry Barber. The original lighthouse was put in place in 1888, while the second tower was erected in 1933.
Cape Kumukahi, Big Island
The 1929 lighthouse is 25 miles southeast of the port of Hilo on what is the easternmost point of the state. It was named for Hawaiian Chief Kumukahi, who legend says would not allow Pele to participate in royal games.
Diamond Head, Oahu.
The lighthouse is not open for visitation and remains in use today. It was built in 1899. To get to the lighthouse, take the Diamond Head trail, originally used by the United States military. This lighthouse is still in use today, with electric lights. It is used as the end of the biennial Transpac Yacht Race from Long Beach, California.
Kauhola, Big Island.
The historic light was positioned near Kapaau, at the northern tip of the Big Island. Built in 1933, the eighty-five-foot tower was demolished in 2009. Erosion over time and due to an earthquake in 2006 make the lighthouse collapse imminent. It was replaced with a monopole light positioned further from the cliff.
Kilauea Lighthouse on Kauai
A personal favorite of ours is the Kilauea lighthouse here on north shore Kauai. The 52-foot tower is positioned nearly 200 feet over the Pacific and was commissioned in 1913. In 2013, it was dedicated to US Senator Daniel Inouye, who helped raise public and private funds for the lighthouse’s three-year-long restoration.
It is now restored to be like new, except for the light itself. The mercury on which the lamp was floated became too dangerous. So, while the lamp itself does work and is lit on occasion, it no longer rotates.
There are tours that include the complex Fresnel lens, designed to be seen more than twenty miles out in the ocean. The kerosene lamp was replaced with a quartz one with 2.5m candlepower.
The park is open Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Reservations are required, which can be booked online through Recreation.gov. The entry fee is $10 for adults 16 and older. Under 16 is free.
The Lahaina Lighthouse at the harbor of the same name has had a light in place since 1840. The original light was just 9 feet tall and burned whale oil.
In the early 1900s, a new lighthouse was built. Reaching up 55 feet. While originally electric, it has since become solar-powered.
The lighthouse features an easy hike with beautiful views. It is on the easternmost point of Oahu. It was built in 1909. The trail was repaved with additional lookouts added in recent years. We’ve seen whales from there in season.
The Molokai Light was built in 1909 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. in 1985, leaking mercury causes the U.S.C.G. to replace the light with a new beacon.
The original lighthouse tower was built in the 1890s and stood 34 feet high. It was restored in 1932, with a new tower 118 feet above the water. In 1960, U.S.C.G upgraded the light to 2m candlepower.