The Ninini Point Lighthouse, sitting alone on a windswept point at Nawiliwili Harbor, beckons explorers with a commanding presence and scenic vistas. Now unmanned, the 86-foot-tall circular lighthouse still has an automated beacon that is useful for ships navigating the area. You can visit the dramatic location with a short journey from the Kalapaki Beach area.
Unlike the more famous Kilauea Lighthouse, the Ninini Point Lighthouse is not a tourist attraction. There is no visitors center or even a fence around the structure. A locked, heavy duty steel door bars entry into the building. The area around the lighthouse is not maintained.
The lighthouse as seen from the Timbers Kauai lobby.
The lighthouse sits at the end of a dirt road near the Timbers Resort. (In fact, the resort has a terrific view of the lighthouse from the lobby.) Also nearby is the Royal Sonesta Kauai Resort and Marriott’s Kauai Beach Club at Kalapaki Beach. Daily, some guests at these resorts will make their way to the lighthouse. Some walk, others drive from the resorts. The lighthouse is approximately 1.5 miles from the resorts at Kalapaki Beach – a 30-minute walk or a 7-minute drive. The best time to make the walk is in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense. There is little to no shade on the walk, so bring water and sunscreen.
However, no matter where you are on Kauai, a visit to the lighthouse is very doable. Very near the Lihue Airport, you can visit the lighthouse before turning in your rental car at the end of your Kauai visit.
TIP: Use Google Maps or a similar service to find the best route to the lighthouse from your location.
The way from the resorts at Kalapaki Beach to the lighthouse leads through the Kauai Lagoons area. Eventually, the way turns to a dirt road (named the Ninini Point Street at Google Maps) and skirts the Lihue Airport. The lighthouse sits in direct alignment with the main runway at Lihue Airport. When you visit, wait a few minutes and you might see a passenger jet fly low over the lighthouse before landing at the airport.
Built in 1932, the Ninini Point Lighthouse was commissioned by the United States Lighthouse Service to aid ships entering the Nawiliwili Harbor. At the time, Nawiliwili was a bustling port, making safe navigation paramount. The cylindrical tower was built of reinforced concrete and was lit for the first time in 1933. Initially, the light provided 1,200,000 candlepower and was visible for 17 miles seaward. In 1960 the light was upgraded to 2,000,000 candlepower. The lighthouse lost its top to an automated beacon in 1984. Today, the lighthouse is still working and is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Prior to 1932, several other structures provided light at the location. The original tower, known as the Nawiliwili Harbor Light and erected sometime prior to 1897, was built of wood, was 34 feet in height and had an incandescent oil vapor lamp (300 mm) of 160 candlepower. The light was visible for 5-miles seaward. In March 1917, the light station property (a total of 3.2 acres) was purchased by the U.S. Government from the Lihue Plantation Company for the sum of $8, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1929, the Lighthouse Service requested congressional funding of approximately $22,000 for a permanent lighthouse structure.
Standing tall against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, the lighthouse evokes a sense of elegance and grandeur. Whether you visit for its historical significance or its breathtaking views, the Ninini Point Lighthouse is a beacon of history and beauty on Kauai that continues to charm the hearts of all who encounter it.
Ninini Point Lighthouse Photos
Dramatic views of Nawiliwili Bay and the surrounding area can be found at the Ninini Point Lighthouse location.