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” less than a mile off-shore create a beautiful paradise atmosphere on what is one of my favorite beaches on Oahu.
LANIKAI BEACH PARK – WHAT TO EXPECT
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.
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 the beach, which is great because it keeps it natural.
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 area, which is only a short 10-minute stroll and has a parking lot.
Weekdays are 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 is also no public toilets or change rooms, although once again you can access these amenities 10 minutes down the coast at Kailua Beach Park.
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, as the sun creeps over the horizon, I have a sense of renewed gratitude sweep through my body.
KAYAKING AT LANIKAI BEACH PARK
If you are feeling adventurous there are many kayak shops in Kailua that will rent you a kayak for the day so you can paddle out the Na Mokulua Islands (only the left island is accessible) for the day to explore. We did a day trip with Aloha Canoe Adventures and enjoyed a great time exploring the Queen’s Bath and seeing the protected Shearwater birds out on the island.
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. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show.
Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.
Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.
Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.
Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.
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!
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A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?
Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018
The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII
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The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII
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The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST