You’ll have to pre-book a trip to this iconic Hawaiian state parkSasha Brady

One of Hawaii’s most popular tourist attractions is now requiring that out-of-state visitors pre-book a reservation for entry.

A hike up Diamond Head State Monument (or Lē‘ahi as it’s known to locals) is one of the must-dos when visiting O’ahu. Overlooking the surfer-dotted waters of Waikiki beach, the saucer-shaped crater is one of Hawaii’s most recognizable landmarks. 

It’s one of the state’s most popular attractions too, receiving about 800,000 visitors per year according to a government report, with visitors typically exceeding 3,000 per day.

What you need to know before visiting Hawaii

With these visitor numbers, the area requires a congestion-management plan in order to improve the quality of experiences and reduce the impact on surrounding communities and resources. As such, starting April 28, visitors from out-of-state will need to make a reservation to enter Diamond Head when a new booking system goes live.

“The new reservation system is intended to reduce hiker and vehicle congestion,” Hawaii’s Governor David Ige tweeted on Tuesday, adding “residents wanting to visit the state monument will not be impacted.”

How to reserve entry to Diamond Head State Monument

Reservations will need to be made 14 days ahead. According to Hawaii’s tourism board, people without a valid Hawaii driver’s license or ID will need to secure a reservation to enter the park. Commercial tour and trolley patrons are also required to make a reservation.

Hawaii residents will continue to enjoy free access without reservations, but entry might depend on the number of parking spaces available on any given day.

The booking system will go live on April 28; we will update this article with the booking link when it’s available.

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The booking system should promote visitor safety and enjoyment © Getty Images

Why is the booking system being implemented?

The new reservation system is part of O’ahu’s new Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) which calls for the creation of reservation systems for natural and cultural sites across the island to monitor and manage the flow of visitors and improve the experience for all.

The booking system at Diamond Head should hopefully promote visitor safety, like reducing long lines forming at the entry and crowding along the trail. By keeping visitor numbers in check, park officials will also be able to better protect Diamond Head’s natural resources. 

“The new reservation system will improve the experience of kamaʻāina and visitors enjoying the monument, and help preserve this landmark for future generations,” the tourism board said in a press release.

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What other state parks require reservations in Hawaii?

This is the third state park to require reservations in Hawaii. Reservations are also required at Hā‘ena State Park in Kaua‘i and at Waiʻānapanapa State Park in Maui. And while it’s not a state park, reservations are also required at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in O‘ahu.

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