Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

With a name meaning “heavenly sea,” Lanikai Beach (view panorama) has gained international fame as America's number one beach for several years running. The dreamlike shores of Lanikai have been immortalized on many pictures, postcards, wall calendars and travel guides.

Lanikai Beach is only about half a mile (800 m) long, but it's one of the most scenic stretches of coastline on Oahu.The only way to reach the beach is through small public access paths in this upscale neighborhood of Lanikai. During weekdays and off-season, Lanikai Beach is almost empty, making it the perfect spot if you're looking for some peace and quiet. The beach can get quite crowded during weekends.

There are some beautiful reef patches on Lanikai Beach. These underwater gardens are popular among snorkelers and divers. Kayaking is also a popular watersport here. Some people kayak all the way out to the two Mokulua Islands (Moku Nui and Moku Iki) - (view panorama) . This can be quite challenging, especially if you've never done ocean kayaking before. The waves may look small and calm from shore, but by the time you're half way there they can turn out to be much larger.

Lanikai Beach has no showers, restrooms or other facilities. Plan your trip ahead of time so you can stock up on food and supplies. Also, finding a parking spot can be challenging on weekends and holidays. There is no public parking lot that's designated for the beach. Parking is only possible on the side of the street.

Between 9-12 days after a full moon (but on other days as well), jellyfish often times get washed ashore. Get out of the water as soon as you spot these translucent creatures, as their sting can leave you off the beach for a good part of the day. Also watch out for limu (stinging seaweed), which can appear after a storm.

Lanikai Beach Overview

  • Picture-perfect white-sand beach with powdery soft sand
  • Ideal for swimming and snorkeling (some large rocks and reef)
  • Not much shade on this beach - bring a beach umbrella or arrive early to find a shady spot under one of the few trees

Vacation Rentals near Lanikai Beach

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Reviews and Comments:
I once tried to kayak to the Mokulua Islands by myself in an outrigger canoe. I had never kayaked before, but I thought it's easy. The ocean looked calm on that day. About half way there, the waves got larger and turned my canoe upside down. For a few minutes I was floating half way between Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands, unable to turn my canoe up again. Luckily another kayaker came and helped me, so I could paddle back to shore. This is an adventure for more experienced paddlers.
Ina, Jun 18, 2010