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Lanikai is so beautiful that Qantas airlines got in trouble when they filmed it for an advertisement about Australia!
Across from the beach, out on a bright aquamarine ocean are two little islands, the Mokuluas. You can kayak out to them, though it's rough. When I kayaked, I was terrified of the sharks that supposedly infest the water by the islands. But it's worth it because there is a lagoon on the leftmost (northernmost) island that is one of the most incredible places on earth. Once you land on the island, you must take a frightening hike to the left (northwest) on the edge of rocks over the sea to get to it.
A more relaxing option is to swim in the idyllic waters close to shore. Wow! What a magical swim! It is just deep enough. It is calm. It is clear. And the view out to the islands is adorable.
Snorkeling is very good here too. I once saw a massive boulder of red coral standing alone on the ocean floor. Between Mokumanu and Haokea Drives is the best spot. The water is a little cloudy though.
Lanikai is an affluent area. There are some ritzy beachhouses. In the afternoon, there are little patches of shade here and there, created by the houses or the trees in their backyards, but mostly there's not much shade on this beach.
Water cleanliness at Lanikai Beach is consistently rated excellent, better than the state and national requirement. No wonder the swim feels sooooo good!
There are no restrooms or showers.
To see the Mokuluas from a short, steep hike, check out Lanikai Bunkers Hike. Kailua town is a great place to go for a quick lunch in a classy yet relaxed environment.
For another beach with amazing-colored water, check out Waimanalo Beach. In the other direction, for stunning views over a mulit-colored bay, check out Kaneohe Bay.
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From Kalanianaole Hwy, turn onto Kailua Rd. At the big intersection that is a fork, take the right fork. Pass by some great shops you may want to check out: Cold Stone Ice Cream, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, BookEnds, and then at the three-way intersection with the traffic light, turn left (this is still Kailua Rd). Continue and turn right at Lihiwai Rd. Follow it past Buzz's and Kailua Beach. Turn left on Mokulua Drive. Aalapapa and Mokulua Drive form a circle that goes around the whole Lanikai Beach area. Park on Mokolua Drive near one of the sandy access paths, or park on any of the side streets. I like to turn left on one of the first side streets and park, because the western end of the beach has more sand. The southern end has some problems with sand loss and the residents have placed sandbags (ugly eyesores) over the beach. Ironically, sandbags cause MORE sand loss.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|There is no beach parking. Parking is on the side streets. Be sure you do not park on private property or block driveways, and be sure you park in the right direction (visitors have been ticketed for this violation). It is worth the trouble to find parking. The water is out of this world clear and warm.|
|Heading over to Lanikai real soon! Need an escape to paradise...|
|The windward side of Oahu has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, especially around Lanikai. I used to live in Waimanalo, where the water was so turquoise blue that when you walked the access path to the beach you could hardly believe it. This area also has some of the cleanest beaches as well, clearest water, whitest sand.|