Thinking of a fun beach vacation to enjoy with friends and family? Well, you should really consider going to Lanikai Beach. This is one of the most picturesque beaches in Hawaii, and it’ll offer you everything you could possibly want from a beach vacation.
So, let’s talk about Lanikai Beach!
Is Lanikai Beach One of the Best Beaches?
Lanikai is considered one of the best beaches in the world. The powdery soft sand creates a beautiful contrast against the crystalline blue waters of the ocean. During the holidays – summer and winter – the beach is completely packed with tourists.
Location of Lanikai Beach (Map)
This gorgeous half-mile stretch of sand is found adjacent to a wealthy neighbourhood in Oahu. The two famous islands, The Mokes are located about half a mile offshore, which is one of the main highlights of the beach.
The beach sits right next to Kailua Beach Park, but the two beaches are not connected. You can’t even see Lanikai Beach from Kailua Beach Park.
Lanikai Beach has an air of seclusion, which is the best thing about the beach, and it also has a neighbourhood feel to it.
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From Waikīkī, you can get to Lanikai beach by bus. It’ll take about one and a half hours. There are many routes connecting the beach to Waikīkī. Route 19 is the most commonly used, but Route 20 is just as popular. Once you get to downtown Honolulu, take Route 66 to get to Kailua, and from there, take Route 671 to get to the beach.
If you decide to drive to the beach, it’s about a 30 to 40-minute drive from Honolulu.
Origins Of The Name Of Lanikai Beach
Charles Frazier, a developer who owned beachfront property in the region, came up with the name Lanikai in 1920.
The name of the beach, Lanikai, translates to “Heavenly Sea”. Even though some sources claim that the name doesn’t carry that meaning and is, therefore, a colloquial and grammatical error, it’s commonly associated with the beach as the beach is, in fact, a tropical paradise.
What Is Lanikai Beach Mostly Known For?
The beach is known for its laid-back atmosphere, which is ideal for families. The clear blue waters, the white sand, and the off-shore islands highlight the beach as one of the most visited beaches in the world.
If you are lucky, you’ll see a number of marine animals here, but the turtles steal the show every time. Butterflyfish, Gregory, Parrotfish, Sergeant, and Tang are some of the fish species you can see.
You’ll also come across some healthy corals; Blue Rice, Lobe, Mound, Nodule, Rice, Sandpaper Rice, and Thick Finger are some of the common encounters.
Does Lanikai Beach Have Parking?
There isn’t a dedicated parking lot, so parking is a challenge. We recommend that you visit the beach early in the morning if you want to find a parking spot; after about 9 AM, the beach gets completely packed with people, especially on the weekends.
You can park in the residential area on weekdays, but if you encounter a no parking sign, don’t park there; if you do, you’ll get a ticket.
Don’t worry though; you can always use the Kailua Beach parking area, and it’s only a 10-minute walk from there to Lanikai Beach.
Although Lanikai Beach is a public beach and a tourist destination, it’s also more like a residential beach. So, you won’t find any regular beach amenities here. Don’t expect restrooms or food vendors; there may be one or two food stalls, but we advise you to bring your own snacks and plenty of water.
The beach has very few trees, therefore devoid of shade, so you will need plenty of water to stay hydrated. For restroom facilities, you have to walk or drive to the adjacent beach, Kailua Beach Park.
Don’t forget your sunscreen; the sun beats down hard on the beach, so make sure you slather on some sun lotion; also, bring sunglasses and a sunhat; a small tent or an umbrella would be a useful addition too.
Things To Do At Lanikai Beach
You can revel in the tropical sunlight while gazing upon the sublime blue waters of the ocean. Whether you want to spend a few hours or a whole weekend, Lanikai Beach will exceed all your expectations.
Gorgeous scenery is one of the main reasons for the beach’s popularity with tourists – try to get here in time for the sunrise; the soft orange beams of the morning sun turn the beach into a veritable paradise, while the moonlight gives it a mystical aura.
The beach is an excellent vantage point from which you can see The Mokes, two of the most photographed twin islets in the world.
Lanikai Beach isn’t a world-class snorkelling destination, but there are some beautiful corals you’d want to see. The waters here are mostly calm, making it an ideal snorkelling spot for beginners.
The beach doesn’t offer snorkel rentals, so you need to bring your own gear.
Locals can be seen paddling in the water, which is something you can do too. However, as there are no rentals available here, you need to go to Kailua Beach if you want to try paddling.
The water conditions here are never volatile, which makes it an excellent spot for swimming.
For the best experience, sign up for a kayaking tour. The duration of a tour is about 5 hours, and you’ll be provided with all the gear, transportation, and lunch.
Lanikai Beach Pillbox Hike
This is one of the most picturesque hikes in Oahu. Found just behind the beach, the Pillbox Hike is a short but steep ascent. Visit early in the morning if you want to tackle the hike. This is an excellent vantage point that brings you sweeping views across the beach, the Koʻolau coast, and Kailua Town.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lanikai Beach
Is Lanikai Beach Public?
Yes, the beach is public, but you are advised to only use the public access pathways. The pathways run through the residential neighbourhood, so make sure you stick to the ocean side of the street.
Is there an Entrance Fee?
As this is a public beach, there’s no entrance fee.
Is Lanikai Beach Pet-friendly?
Yes, you can bring your pets to Lanikai beach, but monitor them closely, as they are no lifeguards.
Are there Sharks at Lanikai Beach?
There are shark warning signs at the beach. The signs went up after a few shark attacks were reported. Visitors and locals claim to have seen tiger sharks, so be extremely careful, and if you are here with your kids, make sure they remain within your vicinity.
Again, there are no lifeguards here, so you are pretty much on your own, so make sure you don’t wander too far.
Can you Drink at Lanikai Beach?
No, drinking isn’t allowed at Lanikai Beach. Having open containers is an offence.
What is the Best Time to Visit Lanikai Beach?
Early in the morning is the best time to visit as parking is limited. Avoid weekends and the holiday season if you can – the locals want to enjoy the beach as much as tourists do, so they flock to the beach on weekends.