If you love birds and the natural beauty of Hawaii, don’t miss the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse on the northern shore of Kauai. Easy to access off Highway 56 on Kilauea Point, the lighthouse and grounds offer an outstanding view of ocean birds in a beyond-picturesque setting.
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters are the main attraction during breeding season. They’re easily spied in summer, sitting on their eggs and peeking out of their burrows along the pathways. Later in the season, the adults will be joined by their fuzzy little babies. On the cliffs, the Red-footed Boobies (with the blue beaks) nest in abundance and dive crazy-fast into the water below looking for food. The rare and federally protected nēnēs or Hawaiian geese wander around the grounds, ignoring the tourists and rooting in the grass. But if it’s big birds you came to see, look up because the Laysan Albatrosses, Frigatebirds and Tropicbirds are soaring over your head on the updrafts.
At certain times of year, you might even catch glimpses of the endangered Hawaiian monk seals and Humpback whales out in the water.
The Kilauea Point Natural History Association operates a nice visitors center/gift shop next to the pretty 100-year-old lighthouse tower. Standing 52 feet high, the tower makes a nice photo op against the Pacific Ocean. Manned for over 60 years, the light was eventually automated and used until the late 1970s. Although now nonfunctional, the tower has been restored in the past decade and is open for limited tours.
Operating hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. If you merely want to see the spectacular view for free, park by the overlook instead of entering the gates of the refuge.
Official Website: Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge
Information Website: Kilauea Point Lighthouse
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