5 Stunning Oahu Lighthouses - A Guide To Island Beacons

Oahu Lighthouses - Makapuu Lighthouse

If you’re captivated by the allure of historic navigational landmarks and breathtaking coastal scenery, Oahu lighthouses are a must-visit. Oahu lighthouses offer more than guiding lights; they are gateways to picturesque hikes, compelling history, and stunning ocean views. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a history enthusiast, or a photographer seeking the perfect shot, our guide will lead you through the notable Oahu lighthouses on this Hawaiian island, revealing scenic trails, illuminating historical tales, and essential tips for your visit.

Oahu offers picturesque lighthouse trails with historical significance, such as Makapu’u and Diamond Head, providing panoramic views and opportunities for wildlife observation.

In addition to hiking, visitors can engage in photography by considering lighting and angles, explore nearby natural attractions like tide pools and wildlife sanctuaries, and relax at surrounding beaches and parks after their lighthouse excursions.


Beaconing Trails – Your Guide To Oahu’s Lighthouses

Oahu is not just a tropical paradise, but also a treasure trove for lighthouse enthusiasts like us. As we explore the island’s scenic trails, we’ll be transported back in time, uncovering the rich maritime history that these lighthouses hold.

Each lighthouse has a story to tell, from the Diamond Head Lighthouse, a beacon for mariners since 1917, to the Makapu’u Lighthouse, a sentinel watching over the southeastern coast.

So, keep reading, and let’s embark on this journey as we explore the top 5 Oahu lighthouses. Discover the magic of these remarkable beacons.

Lighthouse On Oahu


1) Journey To Diamond Head Lighthouse

The Diamond Head Lighthouse will be our first stop. Situated on the southeastern coast of Oahu, this 1.5-mile round-trip trail offers an unforgettable journey through lush greenery, ending with panoramic views of the Pacific and insights into maritime history.

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be greeted with breathtaking views of the deep blue sea, the windward coast, and the iconic Diamond Head Lighthouse itself. It’s not just a hike, it’s a journey through time, taking you back to the days when this lighthouse served as a beacon for countless mariners navigating the vast Pacific.

Standing tall since 1917, Diamond Head Lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the sparkling ocean and the rugged coastline. Take a moment to soak in the serenity and imagine the countless ships that have been safely guided by its beacon. Whether you’re a history buff or simply seeking a picturesque spot for a stroll, the Diamond Head Lighthouse is a must-visit destination that will leave you with lasting memories of Oahu’s maritime heritage.

Diamond Head Lighthouse


2) Adventure At Ka’ena Point Lighthouse

Next up, we take you to the westernmost point of Oahu – Ka’ena Point. This 5-mile round-trip hike is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers. The trail is open from sunrise to sunset, with no entrance fee, making it a perfect choice for a day’s adventure.

As you venture towards the Ka’ena Point Lighthouse, you’ll find yourself off the beaten path, away from crowded trails. Here, you can engage in bird watching and spot native Hawaiian wildlife in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for Hawaiian monk seals basking in the sun and seabirds soaring above. But remember, the conditions can be hot and arid, so bring plenty of water, and be mindful that there is a lack of shade and water sources along the trail to the Ka’ena Point Lighthouse.

The reward at the end? The stunning Lighthouse standing tall against the crashing waves. Take a moment to soak in the breathtaking views and feel the ocean breeze on your face. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss!

Crashing Waves - Ka'ena Point


3) Barbers Point Lighthouse – A Tale Of Time

Barbers Point Lighthouse has a particularly interesting history. The point was named after the brig Arthur, captained by Henry Barber, after it struck a coral reef in 1796. This catastrophe, along with many other shipwrecks in the area, led to the construction of the Barbers Point Lighthouse.

The journey to its completion was not smooth. An initial appropriation of $2,500 was made in 1880, but delays and depleted funds led to the hardware being stored until more funds could be secured. Finally, in 1888, the lighthouse was completed, featuring a forty-two-foot tower made of coral stone with a frame dwelling for the keeper. Significant changes came in 1933, when a seventy-two-foot, reinforced-concrete, cylindrical tower was built, and electricity was introduced through generators.

Today, the Barbers Point Lighthouse remains an active service for modern navigation, under the supervision of a Coast Guard admiral.


4) The Makapu’u Lighthouse Marvel

Our final stop in this section is the family-friendly Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail. This 2-mile round trip trail is accessible for all levels of hikers, thanks to its:

  • consistent grade

  • availability of benches and concrete pillars for rest

  • paved surface

  • accessible parking

These features make it a go-to choice for families with strollers and manual wheelchair users. This incredible landmark on Oahu’s southeastern coast is a sight to behold. As you hike along the trail, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the sparkling ocean and rugged cliffs. Built in 1909, it has guided ships through treacherous waters and served as a lookout during World War II.

Reaching an elevation of 649 feet, the trail’s summit offers guard-railed lookouts for panoramic vistas, including views of the lighthouse, offshore islands, Makapu’u Beach, and the inside of Koko Crater. But be warned, the conditions can be sunny and hot, with very windy conditions at the summit. So don’t forget your hats, sunscreen, and water.

Makapu'u Lighthouse


5) The Sentinel Of Pyramid Rock Beach

Another notable lighthouse is the Pyramid Rock Light Lighthouse. Sporting a unique square shape and painted with black and white diagonal stripes, this lighthouse stands out both in structure and location. Situated on Pyramid Rock at the northwestern tip of the Mokapu Peninsula, the lighthouse serves as a crucial navigational beacon for vessels sailing into Kane’ohe Bay.

Reaching the Pyramid Rock Lighthouse is an adventure in itself. Visitors can access the lighthouse by walking along Pyramid Rock Beach and ascending a series of steps. As you make this climb, take a moment to breathe in the salty sea air and marvel at the incredible views around you – a perfect blend of land, sea, and man-made marvels.


Capturing The Coastline – Photography Tips For Lighthouse Enthusiasts

But what’s a visit to a lighthouse without capturing its beauty in a frame? Given the vivid sunsets, pristine beaches, and clear blue waters that surround Oahu’s lighthouses, understanding light direction is critical for photography. To get the best shot of a lighthouse, position yourself considering the light direction for optimal illumination.

In addition to lighting, angles can also play a significant role in your photographs. Experiment with various angles such as eye level for a traditional look or from below for an imposing feeling to the lighthouse. And don’t forget to utilize a tripod. It can maintain stability during low light conditions or when capturing wave movement, ensuring sharp images.

So, get your camera ready, and let Oahu’s lighthouses be your muse.



Beyond The Beacon – Activities Near Oahu’s Lighthouses

While the lighthouses themselves are undoubtedly the main attraction, there’s plenty more to explore in their vicinity. From vibrant tide pools to bird sanctuaries, the areas around these beacons are brimming with natural wonders. So once you’ve admired the lighthouses and captured their beauty, why not immerse yourself in these surrounding attractions?

Discover Tide Pools And Wildlife Sanctuaries

Take, for example, the tide pools and wildlife sanctuaries near Makapu’u and Ka’ena Point Lighthouses. These vibrant pools teem with diverse marine life, offering a close-up view of the ocean’s inhabitants. Moreover, Ka’ena Point is a designated bird sanctuary, where you can encounter native Hawaiian seabirds in their natural environment.

However, while exploring these sanctuaries, it’s important to remember that you are a guest in these animals’ homes. So, please be respectful, observe from a distance, and leave no trace behind. After all, the best way to appreciate nature’s beauty is to preserve it.

Seabirds Oahu


Enjoying Nearby Beaches And Parks

And once you’ve had your fill of nature exploration, why not unwind at one of the nearby beaches or parks? Places like Barbers Point Beach Park offer a perfect setting to relax and reflect on the day’s adventure. And if you’re looking for tranquillity, look no further than Nimitz Beach. Located near Barbers Point Lighthouse, this park provides a tranquil environment for picnics and relaxation.

Despite its industrial surroundings, Barbers Point Beach Park provides a long narrow stretch of beach with picturesque views of the lighthouse and the opportunity to see wildlife such as the Hawaiian monk seal. Although less frequented by tourists, it’s popular among locals, offering a more authentic and less crowded beach experience.

Secluded Beach In Hawaii


Planning Your Lighthouse Excursion

Now that you’re excited to embark on your lighthouse adventure, it’s time to plan your excursion. But where do you start? From what to wear to what to bring, there’s a lot to consider. And don’t forget about safety.

Before setting out for a lighthouse hike, always check the local weather conditions and inform someone of your plans and expected return time.

What to Pack for Your Hike

Start by focusing on your attire. Here are some recommendations:

  • Quick-drying hiking shorts

  • Moisture-wicking, lightweight top

  • Compact windbreaker or rain jacket for wind and rain protection

  • Wide-brim sun hat for UV ray protection

  • Closed-toed hiking shoes with good traction for wet and muddy conditions

Next, think about your gear. Here are some essentials to consider:

  • A waterproof or covered day hiking pack to keep your belongings dry and maintain hydration

  • A soft-sided cooler to keep snacks and refreshments cool

  • A first-aid kit for emergencies

  • A portable power bank to keep devices charged

And of course, don’t forget your camera to capture stunning pictures!

Tourist With Backpack


Discover The Beauty Of Oahu’s Stunning Beacons With Us

Exploring Oahu’s lighthouses is not just a hike, it’s a journey into the history, culture, and natural splendors of this beautiful island. From the panoramic views of the Diamond Head Lighthouse to the bird sanctuaries near Ka’ena Point Light, each trail offers a unique experience that will leave you with memories to cherish.

As you embark on this adventure, remember to respect the wildlife, preserve the environment, and above all, enjoy the journey. After all, the beauty of these lighthouses lies not just in their structures, but also in the stories they tell and the experiences they offer.

One of the most popular lighthouses is the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse, a year-round delight for visitors. This trail is known for its stunning views and whale-watching opportunities. Along the way, you’ll gaze upon the southeastern coasts and islets that act as sanctuaries for seabirds.

The Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, it’s accessible from Kalanianaole Highway at the southeastern tip of Oahu. You can park your vehicle in the parking lot available at the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline. However, as this trail is quite popular, the parking lot often fills up quickly, especially on weekends and holidays. So, try to arrive early to secure parking and avoid the heat.

If you’re not up for visiting the Makapu’u Lighthouse on your vessel, no worries! We’ve got you covered with our awesome tours to this incredible location. Sit back, relax, and let our expert guides take you on a memorable journey to experience the beauty and history of Oahu lighthouses.

From the comfort of our tour, you’ll get to soak in the breathtaking views, learn fascinating stories, and capture Instagram-worthy photos. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore one of Oahu’s most iconic landmarks with us. Join our tour at Aloha Circle Island Tours and let the adventure begin!

10 hours
Group Size
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