How many lighthouses exist on the island of Oahu? If you ask most residents, the answer you will get will generally be two but sometimes they will forget about Makapu’u Point and instead just tell you one. Actually, though, there are six lighthouses on the island of Oahu.
Nearly everyone knows about the lighthouse on Diamond Head. It’s a beautiful old lighthouse with a jeweled fresnel lens. The structure dates back to 1899 and is beloved by locals and visitors. Many people do not know that the lighthouse is home to the Coast Guard Admiral in charge of the mid-Pacific region.
The lighthouse at Makapu’u is easy to miss if you are driving from South to North up the windward side - it will only become visible when it is behind you. It’s impossible to miss when driving the other direction though and most locals have done the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Hike which leads them to the lighthouse past beautiful volcanic tidepools and the possibility of spotting whales during the winter months. This lighthouse was built in 1909 and has a hyper-radiant lense visible as far away as 28 miles.
Less well known is the now fallen Ka’ena Point lighthouse. If you hike out to the westernmost point on Oahu, you will find it, fallen and is in a state of ruin. While the lighthouse isn’t much to see, the hike to it is beautiful and takes you past lonely beaches and through endangered bird preserves.
The Barber’s Point Lighthouse was built in 1888 and is still in active service but now has a modern lense. It continues to guide mariners on their way into port. The surroundings of this lighthouse are idyllic - but don’t be surprised to hear Hawaiian drumming as one of Oahu’s most popular luau’s takes place nearby.
Another lighthouse sits atop Pyramid Rock on the Marine Corps base in Kaneohe on the Windward side. This lighthouse is not accessible to the public which is a shame because it is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in Hawaii.
Finally, the sixth lighthouse is a well known landmark but most people don’t know that it is a lighthouse! Aloha Tower was built in 1870 and is the oldest of Oahu’s lighthouses. Most people think it was built as a clock tower. However, it was actually built to help guide ships into Honolulu Harbor. The grounds around Aloha Tower are now part of Hawaii Pacific University but you can still explore the area. In addition, there are a few restaurants and even a brewery nearby where you can reflect on the Maritime history of this beautiful island.