Nearly 10 million tourists visit Hawaii from all over the world each year, and many of them are coming through Honolulu International Airport. Oahu can seem like it's bursting at the seams with tourists, so you might not be too excited to learn that the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse Trail is one of the most popular points of interest on the island.
But don't let that bit of information deter you from one of the most beautiful vistas in all of Hawaii. Parking here is ample and easy, the trail is moderate yet short, and the highly perched views down the Oahu's breathtaking coast are unbeatable. All in all, it's a can't-miss destination during your Oahu visit.
The lighthouse sits only 25 minutes east of Honolulu along a scenic coastal drive that will take you just south of Diamond Head Crater. Take H1 East out of Honolulu and it will eventually turn into Route 72. You can stop at the Lanai Lookout and Halona Blowhole lookout along the way as you eventually wind your way to the very well signposted lighthouse. It'll be on your right.
You'll want to get to the trailhead as early as possible to beat the crowds and the heat. The gates for the lighthouse open at 7 a.m. every morning. There is no shade along the paved trail, so make sure to apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF in the shade 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply every two hours that you're in the sun.
There is a paved walking trail that ascends 500 feet up to a viewpoint that overlooks the lighthouse, Makapuu Beach, Koko Head Crater, and Oahu's eastern coast. You'll also be able to peer into the sparkling blue waters of the Pacific to see the islands of Molokai and Lanai in the distance.
The trail shouldn't take you longer than 30 minutes to climb and is safe for people of all ages and fitness. You might see a few joggers that like to challenge their lungs on the easy-to-moderate incline of the paved trail.