Lanikai Beach Park on Oahu is a half-mile stretch of beautiful sand and palm trees, which looks out over the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. Two islands called “Na Mokulua” are situated less than a mile off-shore create a beautiful paradise atmosphere on what is one of my favorite beaches on Oahu.
Lanikai Beach, which means “heavenly sea”, is often ranked in the world’s top beaches and even has some nice snorkeling spots close to shore. The neighborhood behind the beach is an upper-class sector of Oahu, with too many homes we all wish we could retire in. Imagine a two-minute walk to one of the best beaches in the world in a small island neighborhood. I guess we can all dream.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT LANIKAI BEACH PARK
Lanikai Beach can get busy but it is always a fun time as there aren’t big waves and the water is warm of course, so you have a perfect spot for kids, families, and a relaxing day out. There aren’t really many cafe’s and restaurants on the beach but a couple of spots for food just a short walk back from the beach but I do suggest packing a lunch or bringing your food as there isn’t much on offer when you are on the beach, which is great because it keeps it natural.
WHERE IS LANIKAI BEACH PARK
Lanikai Beach Park is located on the east coast of Oahu and can be reached either via the Pali Highway or the coastal Kalaiana’ole Highway. The Pali Highway route will take you about 40 minutes from Waikiki while the scenic route will chew up more than an hour of your time.
I’ve pinned the location of Lanikai Beach Park on the map below so you have easy access to it.
LANIKAI BEACH PARKING
There is no public parking at Lanikai Beach Park and on the weekends you cannot even park in the neighborhood. This is to help the flow of traffic and make sure that the residents have somewhere to park. This may seem unfair but when you see the number of visitors to the beach on a weekend, this rule will make sense. Fear not, you can still visit the beach on a weekend, just be prepared to walk in from the Kailua Beach Parking area, which is only a short 10-minute stroll and has a parking lot.
On weekdays, Lanikai Beach is less crowded and you can park in the neighborhood, so if you are on Oahu for vacation, try and visit this beach before the weekend crowds overrun the beach. There are also no public toilets or change rooms, although once again you can access these amenities 10 minutes down the coast at Kailua Beach Park.
SWIMMING AND SNORKELING AT LANIKAI BEACH
Lanikai Beach is an excellent spot for swimming. The sandy beach has few rocks, corals, or lava tubes to watch out for. It’s very easy to enter and exit the water and often the wave conditions are minimal. However, it isn’t the most exciting place for snorkeling. It is quite clear and you may be lucky enough to bump into a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. However, aside from fish, there aren’t many interesting corals to explore compared to other sites on the island.
LANIKAI BEACH PILLBOX HIKE
Above the beach, is the very popular Lanikai Pillboxes hike, which is a short 30-minute trek from bottom to top and is known to be an amazing spot for sunrise. If you wake early enough the sun rises between the middle of the Na Mokulua islands during different times of the year.
Only a few blocks back from Lanikai Beach is the beginning of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike (also known as Kaiwa Ridge), known for being one of the easier trails on the island of Oahu. There is no better way to start your day than with a short sunrise hike overlooking the ocean and amazing scenery.
The sun rises over the Mokuluas, lighting up the ocean and beachside suburb of Lanikai with intense colors. Sitting on a pillbox, a piece of military history, 600 feet above all of this magic is a great way to take a moment to slow down on your holiday and appreciate where you are or to take a deep breath and be thankful you get to call Oahu home. Every time I do this hike on Oahu, as the sun creeps over the horizon, I have a sense of renewed gratitude sweep through my body.
KAYAK TOUR IN LANIKAI TO NA MOKULUA (TWO ISLANDS)
This small-group kayak tour lasts for 5 hours with round-trip transportation and lunch. From Waikiki, you will ride a van to Kailua Bay for half an hour. Once you arrive there, you will be provided with complete gear before the briefing. You can either choose a self-guided tour in which you will be briefed with the safety measures before you begin on your own or select a guided tour with a small group tour with a professional guide. Both options give you the enchanting feeling and give you a chance to meet new friends while exploring Kailua Bay’s pristine and turquoise waters while watching sea turtles feeding on the rich corals of the bay.
You’ll be paddling from Kailua Beach to Mokulua Islands, Flat Island, and Lanikai Beach where you will have your picnic lunch. You can opt to kayak-surf, snorkel around, or simply just go for a swim. The best thing about this tour is they provide you with dry bags, shower amenities, and lockers for your stuff. One of the top-rated tours on Oahu!
Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Lanikai Beach Park and have a great day relaxing at this beautiful spot.
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off)and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach with a private lagoon.
- Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
- Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
- Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
- Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
- What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK
- A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII
- The best Waterfalls: AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
- Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU
- Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU
- The best Waterfall Hikes: TOP WATERFALL HIKES ON OAHU
- Best Tours: 20 BEST TOURS ON OAHU
- The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON OAHU
What are my favorite pieces of gear for the beach?
There are three pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a beach adventure. These are three items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my beach essentials.
- PackTowl Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
- Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack: The beach can be a great place to ruin your precious gear so having this ultralight dry sack for cameras, phones and valuables mean you have a safe place to store everything.
- GoPro Hero 10: The best and easiest way to capture your underwater and snorkeling adventures.