Lanikai Beach in Oahu: Powdery sands, crystal-clear waters, and a must visit beach for a fun beach day in East side, Oahu

One of the most perfect beaches to explore and enjoy on the windward side of the island is Lanikai Beach just right next door to Kailua town. This little beach on a quiet neighborhood area in East Hawaii always seems to be on the top list of the best beaches to be around the World now. This is definitely one of my favorite beaches to spend some time on the east side of Oahu and I share how to get there and some tips and logistics to make this a fun beach day .

Lanikai beach has no parking lots, no facilities and restrooms or showers and no lifeguards stations, but what it does have that draws in people from around the world to visit are the softest sandy beaches, gorgeous clear aqua waters, fun islands to explore close by and coastline views that are absolutely stunning.

The minute you walk in through any of the narrow access paths, you’ll want to immediately jump into the gorgeous waters and then explore the magic of Lanikai beach.

A perfect day in Lanikai beach on the east side of Oahu
Lanikai Beach: Paradise Found on Oahu’s Pristine Shoreline

What makes Lanikai beach so special?

Translated from Hawaiian, Lanikai means “Heavenly Ocean ” and it fits that description perfectly. The beach sand at Lanikai is almost powdery perfect and set against clear aqua to blue, blue ocean in the background. Lanikai is special and locals on the island know it. When locals love to visit along with tourists even as a popular tourist venue, then you know that it really is a special beach to hang out it.

Off the coast is the Mokuloa islands in the background and they are fun to explore via kayak, Lanikai views are fantastic up and down the coastline. The Mokes as they are known locally are easy to get to by kayak and even get onshore on one of the islands to relax before your paddle back to Lanikai.

What makes Lanikai beach so special?

Where is Lanikai beach located?

Lanikai is the neighborhood south of Kailua beach and tucked into a quiet neighborhood with no parking lot area to access the beach quickly. To get to Lanikai take Kawailo Rd to Aalapapa Drive.  Aalapapa and Mokulua make a large one-way loop that encompass Lanikai and you basically have to find parking on the street. 

The fact that it is a quiet neighborhood and beach area is what really make this appealing and a genuine place to visit without the shops, restaurants and complete beach vibe.

How to spot your at Lanikai

How to know your at Lanikai Beach?

It’s not easy finding Lanikai beach outside of the one large stone pillar that has the Lanikai sign on it. To get to the beach area, there are 6 beach pathways between private homes that all for access to get to the beach area. 

There are no park areas that front the beach in this neighborhood, so you cannot easily see the beach parts of Lanikai. In between the homes and beach are beach access paths that will allow you to walk to the beach directly. The beach area is exposed so bring all your hats, sunscreen and covers for spending more time at the beach.

Please note, there are no parks, facilities or lifeguards at Lanikai, making this purely a neighborhood type beach and unfortunately the building of sea walls around the beach area has actually helped in eroding a good part of the beach area with the sands shifting out further to Kailua beach area.

Also, please pack what you take in and help to keep the beach area pristine and beautiful.

Where is Lanikai beach located?

How to park around Lanikai Beach?

Since the Lanikai neighborhood is purely that, parking is difficult and only on the streets which are busy all the time. There are loop roads around the neighborhood that you can drive around to find a spot, but make sure not to block any entrances and always take out all your belongings in the seating areas to avoid break ins.

When you find parking look for the beach access pathways to get to the beach directly.

**It is easier to find parking spots in the neighborhood if you go during the weekdays vs the weekend when everyone wants a fun beach day.

Lanikai beach access pathways to get to the beach
How to park around Lanikai Beach

Top things to do at Lanikai Beach and surrounding areas

Go Kayaking around Lanikai and head to the Mokes

You can rent kayaks from nearby Kailua beach and paddle to Lanikai and to the Mokes if you’re up for the challenge.  On Kailua beach is Kailua beach adventure rentals that you can rent by the hour with Kailua Beach Adventures or take a tour cruise with them to show you some of the best spots around the area.

The Mokes is a relatively easy paddle on calm days and they are both protected bird sanctuaries but the Northern Moke has a small beach area that is allowable to land and use the small walking path the island.

Check out the fun kayaking to the Mokes on this video below.

Hike the Lanikai Pillbox area

You’ll enjoy this gorgeous hike and views of Lanikai , Kailua and surrounding coastal areas below on the Kaiwa Ridge and up through Lanikai Pillbox on this trail that is about 1.8 miles to the Pillbox that overlooks the area. Check out the views from this video below.

Enjoy some beach combing and beach time

It’s all about the beach time on this amazing beach with the softest sand and lovely ocean water that just sparkles with its aqua to blue ocean.

Top things to do at Lanikai Beach and surrounding areas

Enjoying sunrise on the beach

A perfect time to visit the beach, find parking and have minimal crowds on the beach is early morning during sunrise. You’ll be treated to an absolutely amazing experience with the sun coming out from the North east while you enjoy a walk or just sit and meditate on how fantastic the rest of your day will turn out after a brilliant sunrise experience here in Lanikai Beach.

Swimming and snorkeling at Lanikai

Swimming and snorkeling at Lanikai

Swimming around the gorgeous waters of Lanikai is an amazing experience, snorkeling on the other hand is just okay with some rocky areas that do have tropical fish that you can find. The beach area is family friendly and the waters are typically shallow and calm so very kid friendly in general.

Here’s a fun sunrise experience to check out at Lanikai Beach early morning

Details on visiting Lanikai Beach

There are no lifeguards stationed on the beach so be aware of changing conditionsl

There are no facilities at Lanikai Beach so you have to use the facilities a mile away at Kailua Beach

Also, there are no concessions or places to eat so pack your own snacks and drinks or head out to Kailua Beach afterwards, there’s plenty of eateries there to choose from.

Please do pack out what you take into the beach area, let’s keep the beach area nice and clean, thank you.

Directions to Lanikai Beach

Directions to Lanikai Beach

If you are driving by car from Honolulu/Waikiki area, the drive to Lanikai takes about 45 minutes without any traffic. There are various routes to take to reach Lanikai, but the most common way is drive Route 19 or 20 from Waikīkī to downtown Honolulu, then take Route 66 to Kailua town and then take Route 671 to Lanikai which is a bus loop.

Please be respectful of local residents and parking which is limited so arrive early or later in the afternoon to find a spot.

Taking public transportation

Taking the public transportation from Honolulu or Waikiki is easy using Google maps and just typing in Lanikai beach and just clicking on the bus icon. You’ll instantly get the bus line and time you need to get there or any transfers along the way. The typical bus that goes through the Pali Hwy is bus 67 and transfer to Lanikai at the Kailua bus stop is Bus 671.

tip: get an all day pass which is easier and you don’t have to worry about getting change. Passes can be purchased at any ABC stores or 7-11 to use the bus system all day.

What else to see close by to Lanikai Beach

After you’re done with exploring Lanikai Beach, there’s plenty of other gorgeous places you can visit close by with views, towns or unique experiences to have here in East Hawaii or the windward side.

shopping Kailua

Visit Kailua town or beach area

After you visit Lanikai, head out to Kailua to enjoy all the fun hang out spots, eateries and shopping venues in town. Or you can have more beach time at the fun beach area in Kailua which is also spectacular to experience in the area.

Explore Kailua town and Beach areas

Hike up Koko Head
Hike up Koko Head for spectacular views of east Hawaii

Hike up Koko Head

If you are looking for an active challenge with a spectacular view at the end then do the Koko Head trail. It’s a fun but steep uphill climb up railroad ties all the way to the top and from their you’ll enjoy really amazing views of East Hawaii and the gorgeous coastline below.

Check out the Koko Head trail here for more information

Visit Hanauma Bay

Snorkeling fun at Hanauma Bay

Snorkeling at the natural preserve area of Hanauma Bay feels like swimming in an aquarium and it really it. The marine preserve is well maintained and with limited daily entry and closed days allows the nature to be in balanced with tourism to the area. You’ll find that Hanauma Bay is worth a visit for both the beach experience and gorgeous snorkeling you’ll find in waters of this bay.

Check out this post on Visiting Hanauma Bay for more information and photographs.

Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

The second most popular hike to do on Oahu after Diamond Head, Makapu’u lighthouse trail is easy and all paved to the observation point at the end. This is a family friendly venue that you can take your kids or even all generations to visit and enjoy the wonderful views of the coastlines and natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Check out the Makapu’u trail to the light house and tidepools

Here’s a few other fun places to check out close by

Visit Hawaii Kai area of East Oahu

Check out the area around Waimanalo Beach

Visit the Sea Life Park for a family friendly recreational experience

What else to see close by to Lanikai Beach
Visit the beach of Kailua and downtown district

Other tips for a perfect beach day at Lanikai

There are no shady areas on the beach so you need to bring your own covers for longer stays on the beach.

Best time to get to Lanikai is the morning while parking is relatively good and visiting the beach areas during the week day is a lot better than weekends.

With no food vendors in the area, try to pick up some food to go from Kailua area grocers or take spots to bring to the beach and have a picnic.

Forget about your snorkeling equipment, there are no good snorkel spots around Lanikai which is basically for beach fun and beachcombing.

Please pack up what you take in, there are no garbage cans and this is a real neighborhood area and not a park.

Weekends are extremely busy and difficult to find parking, so visit Lanikai Beach during the week day.

Check Tide and Weather Conditions: Before heading to Lanikai Beach, check the tide and weather conditions. High tide can limit the beach area, while inclement weather can affect water visibility and safety.

Bring Sun Protection: The Hawaiian sun can be intense, so don’t forget to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Consider bringing an umbrella or beach tent for extra shade, especially if you plan on spending an extended period on the beach.

Here’s a fun timelapse view above Lanikai during sunrise

Weather and the best time to visit Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach, situated on the eastern coast of Oahu in Hawaii, boasts a delightful tropical climate year-round. Here’s an overview of the weather patterns and the best time to visit this stunning beach:

Temperature: Lanikai Beach enjoys warm and pleasant temperatures throughout the year. The average high temperatures range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (around 24-29 degrees Celsius). Evenings tend to be slightly cooler, with average lows in the mid-60s Fahrenheit (around 18-20 degrees Celsius).

Rainfall: Lanikai experiences a relatively dry climate compared to other parts of the island. The area receives less rainfall during the summer months, particularly from May to September, making it the drier season. However, brief showers can occur at any time, adding to the lush beauty of the surroundings.

Best Time to Visit: Lanikai Beach is a fantastic destination to visit year-round due to its consistently pleasant climate. However, the summer months, from May to September, are often considered the best time to visit. During this period, you can expect more sunshine and lower chances of rainfall, providing ideal conditions for beach activities, swimming, and snorkeling in the crystal-clear turquoise waters. The summer months also offer longer daylight hours for you to soak up the sun and enjoy the beach to its fullest.

It’s important to note that Lanikai Beach can attract crowds, especially during weekends and holidays. To enjoy a more tranquil experience, consider visiting during weekdays or early mornings.

Final Thoughts on Lanikai Beach

One of the best neighborhood beaches on the island, Lanikai beach is very popular with locals and now visitors who want to experience this amazing beach area. Although not easy to get to and park, you’ll have better luck going during the week day and taking public transportation here is actually fairly easy with regular schedule on the bus loop through the area.

Check out these other posts visiting Oahu

Check out these other posts visiting Oahu

If you are spending some time visiting Oahu, check out these other places and activities to do around the island below for inspiration.

Hike the Lanikai Pillbox trail

Exploring the North Shore of Oahu

Virtual tours of Oahu

Free or cheap things to do in Oahu

A Diamond Head Hike in Honolulu

Family friendly beaches in Oahu

Top things to do in Honolulu

Explore and Hike Waimea Valley

Horseback Riding in Hawaii

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Spend a perfect day in Lanikai beach on the east side of Oahu
Spend a perfect day in Lanikai beach on the east side of Oahu

Did we miss anything on visiting Lanikai Beach?

If you have some fun tip or suggestion that is missing from above, please do share it with our audience below in the comments section – thank you.

Conclusion of best things to do around Lanikai Beach

Visiting Lanikai Beach is an unforgettable experience that transports you to a tropical paradise. The breathtaking beauty of its turquoise waters, powdery white sands, and scenic Mokulua Islands creates a picture-perfect setting. Whether you spend your time swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or simply basking in the sun, Lanikai Beach offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere that rejuvenates the soul.

The peacefulness and untouched nature of Lanikai Beach make it a true hidden gem on the island of Oahu. It is a place where you can escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the natural splendor of Hawaii. The stunning sunrise views over the ocean are a sight to behold and should not be missed.

Thanks for visiting This Hawaii life and checking out this post on the Lanikai Beach. If you enjoyed reading this post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons on the slider.

I’d like to hear from you!

If you found some other cool places to explore from this post, please share your experiences in the comments below for everyone to enjoy. Or even if you have any questions about visiting, I would be more than happy to answer them below.

Conclusion to visiting Lanikai Beach in Eastern Oahu

In conclusion, Lanikai Beach in Eastern Oahu is a slice of Hawaiian heaven that captures the essence of tropical paradise. With its pristine white sands, turquoise waters, and the iconic Mokulua Islands on the horizon, it’s a place where time seems to stand still, inviting you to unwind and savor the natural beauty of Oahu. Whether you’re lounging in the sun, snorkeling in the clear waters, or simply gazing at the breathtaking scenery, Lanikai Beach offers an unforgettable experience that embodies the spirit of the Aloha State.

Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in this tranquil oasis during your Oahu adventure.

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.