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Diamond Head Lighthouse: History and Beauty on Oahu

a large body of water with Diamond Head Lighthouse in the background

The Diamond Head lighthouse is a historical structure that graces the volcanic overlook known as Diamond Head. A trip by this old and beautiful building will take you back in time on a journey of peril and beauty.

Diamond Head Lighthouse Illuminates the Imagination

History buffs and nature lovers alike will enjoy a trip up Diamond Head to visit the lighthouse. Diamond Head lighthouse began operating in 1899 after several ships ran aground, misjudging the location of the crater. This demonstrated the need for a lighthouse to protect ships from the shore.

Picture a storm tossed Pacific Ocean journey in the late 1800s without a light set in among the rocks. It’s understandable that sea captains may have misjudged the boundary of Oahu on a stormy and moonless night. Despite the expense, the lighthouse was necessary.

View the lighthouse exterior nestled among palm trees and providing a lovely backdrop for family photos against the setting sun.

Travelers can look over the cliffs past the lighthouse to see surfers waiting to ride the perfect wave. There is nothing more authentically Hawaiian than this view. 

a large body of water with Diamond Head Lighthouse in the background

Diamond Head: Rocks and Scrub Brush over Waves and Sand

Diamond Head lighthouse can be seen from hikes along the volcanic crater. Hikers will notice the waves crash onto the sandy shores below at Diamond Head beach. Visitors observe the rocky, reef filled waters about one mile from Waikiki. The greenery and brush provide a home for many animal residents. Animal species include doves, sparrows, and bright cardinals, as well as mice and mongoose. 

The trail up Diamond Head crater has been built on a state monument, so it is important to respect the local flora and leave no trace as you observe the beach below and make your way up the mountain. This trip takes about two hours and requires proper footwear. 

From the crater you’ll see the whole of Waikiki on one side and the aquamarine ocean stretching out on the other. 


Lighthouses in Hawaii: Pharology in the Aloha State

There are 15 individual lighthouses spread among the Hawaiian islands, ranging up to 420 feet at Makapuʻu Point. Visitors to the Hawaiian islands can find these beacons of history– many of which still light up the night sky. Technology has changed a great deal since many of these structures were installed, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the power of a stormy sea and the value of a guide in a storm. Nowadays radar may have superseded the need for guiding light, but the lighthouse stays in our memories as a beacon of hope in the darkness.