Lanikai Beach: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking for the ultimate guide to Lanikai Beach, Oahu, Hawaii? This guide from a Hawaii local has everything that you need to know!

Lanikai Beach Mokulua Islands with sunrise in the background

Just across from the Lanikai Pillbox hike is the stunning Lanikai Beach. As a matter of fact, the name “Lanikai” itself means “heavenly sea” – that’s a pretty apt name in my opinion. This jaw-dropping beach has been listed on several travel sites as the best beach in Hawaii – and many times even the entire world! As a Hawaii local, I would say that Lanikai Beach is definitely high up on the list of Hawaii’s best beaches.

Besides the beauty of Lanikai Beach, the information about it is rather scarce. Where should I park? What time should I go? Are there hotels there? All of these questions and more will be answered if you keep on reading!

Mokulua Islands

Where Is Lanikai Beach?

Lanikai Beach is located in Kailua on the East side of Oahu. If you put it into Google Maps, it should get you to the right place.

However, only street parking is available, and it is rather limited. So, instead of going exactly where Google Maps says Lanikai Beach is, start looking for street parking a couple minutes before (after you pass Kailua Beach and go over the small incline in the road). If you go all the way to where Google Maps says Lanikai Beach is, you’ll be forced to drive the same route all over again, which will waste a bit of your precious time.

Once you park, you can use Google Maps to get you to the entrance to Lanikai Beach. There will be small trails between houses that will guide you there. Typically, they will have signs at the start of these short trails, indicating that there is beach access.

If you don’t have a car, Hawaii’s public transportation system, The Bus, actually stops right across from the trail to the beach entrance.

Lanikai Pillbox Hikes on Oahu

How Can I Get to Lanikai Beach?

Because finding parking for Lanikai Beach can be so difficult, many visitors opt for alternative transportation methods.

While a car is still a viable option, the public bus can get you quite close to Lanikai Beach. You’ll want to get off at the Aalapapa Drive and Kaelepulu Drive stop.

Still yet, other visitors choose to rent electric bikes from Pedego Electric Bikes to traverse the two-mile distance between the rental place and Lanikai Beach.

When Is the Best Time to Visit?

One of the main reasons Lanikai Beach has been given the title of the best beach in Hawaii is because the conditions there are pretty consistent throughout the year. For example, while most North Shore beaches are pretty swimmable in the summer, they are very, very dangerous in the winter. The same cannot be said of Lanikai Beach.

Throughout the year, the lack of ways and minimal current are very consistent. It is definitely one of Oahu’s calmest beaches. So the best time of year basically depends on your temperature preference.

As for what is the best time of day to go to Lanikai Beach, I have to say the morning. In the early morning, most people have not gotten themselves to Lanikai Beach yet, meaning that you’ll have more of the beach to yourself.

Turquoise water

What Can I Do There?

Soak up the Sun

Lanikai Beach is a very relaxing beach. You can’t even see or hear cars rushing by! So just soak up the sun.

Chill in the Water

If it gets a little warm for your liking, head in the water! The clear turquoise waters always hover around a comfortable warm temperature. One of my favorite things to do there is to simply float around in the water and talk to some friends or family members. It’s like Hawaii’s version of catching up over coffee.


If you head to a certain part of Lanikai Beach, there is an area that can be pretty good for snorkeling. (It’s the area that looks like it has dark specks in the water. That’s the reef that attracts the fish.) So strap on your goggles and flippers!

aerial view of Lanikai Beach water

Take Some Stunning Pictures

Because Lanikai Beach is such a visually stunning beach – from its turquoise waters to its white sand to the view of the two islands – you’ll always find people taking pictures here.

Kayak to the Mokes

You know those two islands I just mentioned? They are called the Mokulua Islands, or the “mokes,” and you can actually kayak to the one on the left! It does take a couple of hours, and I would definitely recommend checking the tide before you go out, but it is such a fun experience!

Unfortunately, there are no kayak rentals at Lanikai Beach, so you will have to head over to the neighboring Kailua Beach to get ahold of a kayak or two. (You can ask them for tips about the tide at that time as well.) Or if you’d like a little more guidance, you can take a guided kayaking tour.

Book Here: Mokulua Islands Kayaking Tour

Hoping to kayak on Oahu but perhaps not to the mokes? Here are six other kayaking spots on the island!

*Note: there are no restrooms at Lanikai Beach.

Lanikai Sunrise

Are There Any Restaurants Near Lanikai Beach?

Many people want to spend the WHOLE day at this gorgeous beach. After all, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! However, finding a place to grab some lunch is a little more difficult than it seems.

Ideally, there would be a place within walking distance, so you wouldn’t lose your valuable street parking. However, the closest restaurant is Buzz’s Original Steak House, and that is 0.8 miles away.

Honestly, my recommendation would be to either bring lunch with you or plan on leaving the beach when you get hungry. Then, you can stop by one of Kailua’s better food joints, like Kono’s, Nico’s, Yamas, or Nalu Health Bar.

Mokulua Islands from pillbox hike

Are There Any Hotels Near Lanikai Beach?

In the entire city of Kailua, there are no major hotels. Most accommodations will be beach rentals or Airbnbs.

If you do happen to Google “Lanikai Beach hotels,” make sure you do your research! You will either get hotels that are very far from Lanikai Beach or you will get single-house accommodations that may at first glance seem like a small hotel. (If that is something that you are looking for, check out Lanikai Plumeria Beach House or Hale Nani Lanikai.)

If you do plan on booking any accommodations near Lanikai Beach, be sure to do it at least six months in advance to find the dates that you want!

Hawaii’s Hidden Hideaway Bed & Breakfast

Hawaii’s Hidden Hideaway Bed & Breakfast is located just two blocks from the shores of Lanikai Beach. This quiet, cozy accommodation also comes with free parking, a hot tub, and free wifi. It is important to note that many reviewers have made it a point to say that the breakfast was not up to par with typical B&B standards.

Room rates for Hawaii’s Hidden Hideaway Bed & Breakfast average at $55 per night, although this price does depend on the season.

Lanikai Beach Rentals

Lanikai Beach Rentals has fourteen properties all available for rent. In reality though, only eight of them are within walking distance of Lanikai Beach (just make sure the property has the word “Lanikai” in its name).

Rental rates for these properties range from $250 per night to $2500 per night, depending on the property and the season.


If I were to look for a place to stay near Lanikai Beach, I would definitely use Airbnb. Within just a few blocks of the beach, there are currently dozens of Airbnbs available to rent – including several BEACHFRONT properties!

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Have you ever visited Lanikai Beach? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

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  1. Would you say this is a must-go place? I am planning a short vacation to Hawaii but don’t have that much time, so I want to focus on the really great stuff

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