Hawaii is an excellent vacation destination for anyone who likes nature – whether that means hiking or surfing over it, or spending time quietly bird-watching. One especially great spot for nature-lovers is in Kauai, at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.
Set up in 1985, the Kilauea National Wildlife Refuge is part of the U.S. Government’s Fish & Wildlife Services department and is home to several species of birds. The point itself is a narrow lava rock formation which juts out into the ocean, and it happens to be not only the northernmost point on Kauai but also the northernmost point of the main Hawaiian islands as well. Most wildlife refuges in Hawaii aren’t open to public visitors, but this one is – and it gets more than 300,000 visitors coming through each year.
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Some of the birds you may see on a visit to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge are the Pacific golden plover and the Laysan albatross, as well as the state bird of Hawaii, the nene Hawaiian goose – which is endangered and rare (so if you see one, you’re very lucky!). Many of the birds you’ll see use the wildlife refuge as their nesting grounds, so depending on when you visit you may see babies as well. From the excellent vantage point of the refuge you can also occasionally catch sight of Hawaiian monk seals, spinner dolphins and even migratory Humpback whales.
Located on the point itself, on the grounds of the wildlife refuge, is the Kilauea Point Lighthouse, which is no longer functioning as a lighthouse but is open for visitors.
Location: State Hwy 56 and Lighthouse Rd., Kilauea, Kauai, HI 96754
To get there – Turn off the Kuhio Highway at the entrance to the town of Kilauea and follow the signs to Kilauea Lighthouse. The refuge is at the end of Lighthouse Road.
Hours: The refuge is open daily from 10:00-16:00, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. The days before Christmas and Thanksgiving it is only open from 10:00-12:00.
Admission: $3 per person for everyone over the age of 16
More Information: The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge’s official website is here.