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Lanikai Beach Oahu Hawaii

Lanikai Beach Oahu Hawaii

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 worldSurrounded 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. 

Lanikai Beach

The word “Lani Kai” translates to “Heavenly Ocean”.  It’s such a fitting name for such a beautiful place.  A developer in 1924 renamed it from it's original name, Kaʻohao.  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!

Lanikai Beach Sign

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.

Lanikai Beach Access

The pedestrian access is located through beach alley ways between the residential homes.  There are 6 beach pathways.

The first 4 are the most popular, while the last 2 lead only to water as the sand has eroded away.

Lanikai Beach Path

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.

Kid and Pet friendly

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 and son 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.  There is no lifeguard on duty.

Lanikai Beach End

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!

Lanikai Beach Dog

It's also common to see locals to bring their dogs to the beach to play in the water and run around in the sand.

Swimming & Snorkeling Lanikai

Swimming and Water Activities:  While the magical aqua blue calm waters are ideal for swimming, it is not great for snorkeling.  You're best chance of seeing fish is on the left hand side...look for the dark areas in the water that represent rocks, where they will most likely be.

Lanikai-Beach Water Views

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.

Lanikai Sunrise

Lanikai Sunrise

Get up extra early and you'll be treated to a gorgeous sunrise...on most days that is!  This picture was taken from the Lanikai Pillbox Hike that backs right up to the beach.  The hike will take you 20 to 30 minutes to reach the top.

Kayaking around Lanikai

Lanikai Beach Kayaks

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 transportation, lunch, snorkel gear, life jacket, dry bag, and caters to beginners to more advanced kayakers. 

Book a Kayak Ride Now

Lanikai Beach Mokalua Islands

Lanikai Outriggers

You'll see a bunch of outriggers lining the back of the beach area.  Many of them are pulled into the water by their rowing teams in the afternoons, and taken for some practice runs far out into the ocean.

Lanikai Beach Outrigger

They are fascinating to watch as they race along the shoreline.  There are other types of outriggers that feature sails and only require one or more people to operate.

Lanikai Beach Outrigger

Getting to Lanikai Beach, Oahu Hawaii

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.

Lanikai Beach Access

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.  Consider Kailua Beach or a just a little farther to Waimanalo Bay as an alternative.

Lanikai Beach Oahu - By Car

Lanikai Beach Swimming

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.

Lanikai No Parking

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.

 Lanikai Beach Oahu Hawaii Map

Lanikai Beach Oahu - By Bus

Take the number 20 bus from Waikiki to the Ala Moana Center.  Transfer onto the 67 to downtown Kailua, and finally transfer to the 671 shuttle bus.  Ask the bus driver to tell you when to get off and transfer.

3 More Beautiful Beaches

Here are 3 additional Oahu Beaches that are beautiful and worth visiting after this one...

Lanikai Beach Facilities and Tips

Lanikai Beach Oahu

No Bathrooms and Showers:  Lanikai Beach Oahu does not have any bathroom facilities or outdoor showers to rinse off.  I would recommend stopping at Kailua Beach 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.  Consider picking up a Hawaiian plate lunch on your way...

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.

Compact Sun Shade and Beach Blanket Picks to bring with you

More Fun activities Surround Lanikai Beach Oahu

Downtown Kailua

Downtown Kailua

The downtown Kailua area, which is only 5 minutes away from the beach, has its charm with some neat shops and some good Kailua restaurants worth visiting.  Maui Brewing Company recently joined the community.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

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

Boots & Kimos

Boots & Kimo

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!

Lanikai Juice Company

Lanikai Juice

If your looking for something refreshing and on the healthier side, stop in Lanikai Juice Company located in downtown Kailua.  Creative juices, smoothies, and bowls filled with acia, papaya, ginger, turmeric, and other superfoods! They also have salads and a few healthy entrees if you need something more substantial.

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