Lanikai Beach is a beautiful stretch of pristine sand and clear ocean waves in Kailua and is right next to the also very pretty Kailua Beach. While not as accessible as Kailua Beach, Lanikai Beach is noted as one of Oahu’s most beautiful beaches and year after year makes the top lists for most beautiful beaches in the world. With that kind of reputation, make sure you plan a stop here to spend a day enjoying this world famous beach. The powder white sand that feels like baby powder between your toes, the incredibly crystal clear blue ocean and the twin islands (Mokulua Islands or “the Mokes” as we refer to them) will amaze and astound you when you first step through the access walkways.
White Lanikai Beach is a sight for sore eyes, it does have it’s downsides. Parking is horrendous here as only street parking is available. As such a popular attraction, tourists and locals alike compete for street parking down residential roads. The beach itself is hard to find as the only access points are narrow walkways between houses. However, they are labeled as “Access” so keep a look out for the signs when you’re driving around. There are also no bathroom facilities to shower or change, so be sure to store a couple gallons of water in the car to rinse with to avoid getting sand into the car. You can also opt to drive next door to Kailua Beach, which does have parking and bathroom and shower facilities.
If you definitely want to get a spot on Lanikai Beach, make sure you come early (I’d say before 10 AM) and to try to come on a weekday. The weekends get exceptionally crowded since this is such a popular beach. I encourage you to respect the no parking signs even if you’ll be “in and out”. The residents who live in this area have to deal with this on a daily basis so any help on your part in following the rules will be much appreciated.
With its calm and gentle waves and flat sand beach, this is a great beach for young children to play and swim in. You don’t have to worry about them stepping on sharp pieces of coral and they’ll be able to run and play to their heart’s delight. Bring some floats, boogie boards and sand castle tools for them to play with and you’ll be set. I do recommend bringing a cooler of drinks, lunch and snacks for you to munch on since it is too easy to spend the whole day here relaxing!
Kayaking is another favored water activity here and you can even make your way to the Mokulua islands. The larger Moku Nui island is popular among kayakers and you’ll see several heading out that way on a daily basis. Please stay out of the inner area of Moku Nui island and completely off of the smaller Moku Iki island (do not land your vessel) as both of these areas are bird sanctuaries. Tiger sharks are known to swim around these islands so please use extra precaution.
Things To Do
One idea that I like is parking at Kailua Beach and renting a kayak from there to explore Kailua, Lanikai and the Twin Mokes. You can even go to Flat Island with a kayak to explore the sights. They even have guided kayak tours, which are fantastic for those who’d rather go with a group and learn a bit more about the history and culture in this area. Kailua and Lanika beaches are also a great spot for SUP – so if you need a board and are coming from Waikiki, then this package is a good deal to look at. If you’re not into the beach scene, the Segway Tours for Lanikai and Kailua are bunches of fun especially since this part of the island is so lovely.
For a more detailed review, Melissa from The Family Voyage took her kids on a Holokai Adventure where the whole family enjoyed a kayaking and snorkeling tour. Check the tour out if you think this might be something that your own family would enjoy.