Lanikai Beach Oahu Hawaii is a destination all unto itself. It is not only described as "most beautiful" of all Oahu beaches, but Lanikai Beach ranks as one of the best beaches in the world. Surrounded by endless miles of calm tranquil aqua blue waters, it’s hard to look at it these special windward ocean waters without getting an urge to jump right in. You will be mesmerized the moment you walk down one of the several public beach access alleyways.
The word “Lani Kai” translates to “Heavenly Ocean”. It’s such a fitting name for such a beautiful place. Inspired from this paradise, I named my daughter Kailani, which is the true Hawaiian translation of “Heavenly Ocean”...and quite fitting at that!
Worth a thousand pictures...this Lanikai Beach video captures the relaxing pure beauty that this amazing Oahu beach displays!
Finding Lanikai Beach can be a bit tricky, since there are no posted beach signs. You will know that you are in the general vicinity, as “Lanikai” is written on a huge pillar entrance. The pedestrian access is located through beach alley ways between the residential homes.
As beautiful as Lanikai Beach Oahu is today, it is unfortunate that the coastal home development of seawalls has eroded much of the sandy beach, which used to exist. For those of you that are in search of the missing powder sand, look no farther than next door, the beautiful Kailua Beach Park.
Experience the beauty of the Mokalua Islands, and the Windward Coastline from a distance, on a fun guided kayak ride! It’s amazing enough to just step onto this beach, but paddling out gives you a whole new perspective. Not to mention observing the crystal clear waters below as you journey out.
This is a special 2 hour adventure that you must plan a head and sign up before arriving at the beach. It includes snorkel gear, life jacket, dry bag, and caters to beginners to more advanced kayakers. Book a Kayak Ride Now
I would highly recommend renting a car to travel out to this beach location. You can access it by taking the bus, but it will take about an hour and a half, and 3 bus transfers from Waikiki, versus 30 to 40 minutes with your own vehicle.
Holiday Parking just got tougher in Lanikai! Note that vehicles will not be permitted to park or unload on the right side of the Lanikai loop during Statehood Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Presidents’ Day and Labor Day Weekend. Barriers will be placed along the bike lanes during these times and enforced with $200 parking citations.
From Waikiki, you will want to jump onto the H-1
Freeway headed west…
Take the Pali Hwy (Hwy 61) over to Kailua
Turn right on Kailua St.
Stay on Kailua St. when you have to merge left (towards the ocean)
Turn right onto Kawailoa St and follow until it turns into Aalapapa.
Aalapapa loops around and turns into Mokumanu on the Oceanside.
When arriving in Lanikai Beach Hawaii, you will want to seek out beach access points located off of Mokumanu Drive.
-turn left down Kaiolena Dr to access the main beach area or
-turn left down Kuailima Dr to access a more secluded beach area.
Parking Tip: Be very careful of where you park and be aware of posted “No Parking” signs. Patrol enforcement is frequent in this area. Don’t ruin a nice day at the beach with a parking ticket waiting for you. Also please be respectful to surrounding residents who see visitors coming by on a daily basis.
Take the number 20 bus from Waikiki to the Aloha Tower. Transfer onto the 57 to downtown Kailua, and finally transfer to the 70 shuttle bus. Ask the bus driver to tell you when to get off and transfer.
No Bathrooms and
Lanikai Beach Oahu does not have any bathroom
facilities or outdoor
showers to rinse off. I would recommend
stopping at Kailua
Park, which is
located less than a mile away, for it’s picnic
tables, bathroom and shower facilities.
Food Tips: I would also recommend bringing along a small cooler with some drinks and comfort snacks. You might want to give yourself some extra time to stop in the lovely Kailua town that you will have to pass through to get to the beaches. The town of Kailua has some great places and grocery stores to pick up some food, ice, and drinks.
Visiting Tips: Visit Lanikai Beach Hawaii earlier in the day, as the sun travels over the Koolau Mountains in the afternoon. This Eastward side of Oahu Hawaii is also a perfect viewing spot for a Hawaiian sunrise. Check the weather first before trekking out to Lanikai for an early morning sunrise, just in case heavy clouds are forecasted to linger during the morning. Also remember to be courteous to the local residents, and clean up after yourselves when leaving the beach.
Swimming and Water Activities: While the magical aqua blue calm waters are ideal for swimming, it is not at all good for snorkeling. There is no reef to attract the fish, and the water can also become a little cloudy from the fine sand stirring up from the bottom shoreline. Kayaking is a fantastic way to enjoy Lanikai's calm waters. Many beginners and advanced kayakers enjoy a trip to the two not so distant Mokulua islands off shore.
Kid and Family Friendly: I’ll start off by saying that this is my family’s favorite beach to visit. The calm waters are friendly for my daughter to swim and play in –make sure you always swim and keep an eye on your children even though the waves are almost always calm at Lanikai Beach. The visitors and locals that frequent this beach are friendly. I think it’s the peaceful setting that promotes a relaxing setting for everyone to enjoy!
The downtown Kailua area, which is only 5 minutes away from the beach, has its charm with some neat shops and good restaurants worth visiting.
I highly recommend traveling over in the morning and stopping at Boots & Kimos for breakfast. They have some to-die-for macadamia nut pancakes w/ a special macadamia nut syrup, not to be missed!
Feel like running into some famous movie stars? You just might at a spot called Lanikai Juice.
They make some unique fresh and healthy juice drinks and bowls that many famous stars in the entertainment industry like to frequent –especially the cast from the television show, Lost.
If you are looking for a much larger version of Lanikia beach Hawaii with facilities, I recommend checking out it’s next door neighbor Kailua Beach Park. There is a fun 2 mile hike in the area that will lead you to some amazing ridgetop views of the Lanikai beach Oahu area.
Check out the Lanikai Pillbox hike…
Aloha & Enjoy!!