Lanikai Beach


Lanikai is a delightful and secluded "bedroom community" isolated from the windward town of Kailua by a ridge that allows access to the coastal homes only through one entry point. When you pass the ridge and enter Lanikai you will find a long narrow valley with a circular drive around which will be beautiful and upscale homes that either lie on or close to the luscious beach that abuts the community or homes that are perched on the hillside affording fantastic views of the ocean and the offshore Mokulua Islands. The beach fronting Lanikai is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and has in the past been ranked one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The Beautiful Sands of Lanikai Beach

The Beautiful Sands of Lanikai Beach

This long, half-mile white sand beach has undergone a transition over the course of the last thirty years or so. Many of the most desirable properties in Lanikai lie directly on the water's edge and over the years the natural process of the encroachment of the seas upon the shoreline has at times threatened these shoreline properties. In an attempt to save their properties many of the Lanikai residents have put up cement or stone seawalls and the net effect of this action has been that this beach has eroded to the point that much of the sand on its southern end has disappeared. It has been proven time and again that when you erect a seawall on a coastal property the waves will reflect from the impact with the wall with a surge at a greater velocity than under normal conditions. This disrupts the sand formation under the water and along the shoreline and the result is that the sand will eventually disappear. This has been the fate of much of Lanikai Beach but what remains is still one of the most desirable beaches to be found on Oahu.

The Mokulua Islands off Lanikai Beach

The Mokulua Islands off Lanikai Beach

What has made Lanikai Beach so attractive over the years is that it has the most idyllic setting. It faces the east toward the two offshore islands lying one mile off the coast called the Mokulua Islands. Between the beach and the Mokulua's is a relatively shallow ocean shelf full of large coral heads and reef. This fringe reef protects Lanikai Beach from large breakers and hence the name Lanikai, meaning "heavenly sea" appears to be an appropriate representation of the normal conditions found here. The color of the ocean at Lanikai Beach has a somewhat greenish tinge and the overall color could perhaps be described as "aqua" in contradistinction to the often deep blue oceans to be seen on the leeward side beaches. The sands of Lanikai are also different in the sense that they are very white, very soft and very fine. Many people complain that the sands here are so refined and delicate that it is difficult to remove in a single washing and that a day after an outing at Lanikai Beach one will still have reminders of yesterday's beach encounter.

Lani Kai Beach Shore Fishing

Lani Kai Beach Shore Fishing

Being such a calm beach, Lanikai provides great opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. Many of the locals have found stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) to be well suited for the waters off Lanikai and early morning paddles out to the Mokulua Islands have become a ritual of sorts for some. SUP boards can also be rented from the shops in the area and SUP lessons can be arranged so that island visitors can join in the fun as well.

Parking can at times become a problem at Lanikai Beach as the only areas to park are along the main roadway loop in Lanikai and access is through one of the many beach access trails that lead from the road to the beach. On weekend days this area can become quite crowded and parking in this small beach side community can become difficult but finding a space will become a just reward when you finally find your way to your destination. As far as amenities at this beach, you won't find any. There are no bathrooms, no showers and no lifeguards.

Erosion of Beach at Lanikai Due to Construction of Sea Walls

Please be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be potentially dangerous including this location. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering the water and of course, never turn your back on the ocean when you are on the shoreline. It should also be noted that all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water. There are no lifeguards at this beach.

Lani Kai sea walls




Oahu Beaches

Ala Moana Beach Park is located equidistant between Honolulu and Waikiki and consists of a large park and two beaches, Ala Moana Beach and Magic Island.

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Bellows Beach is one of the best beaches to be found along Oahu's south eastern shores. It is not particularly wide but it is very long and the quality of sand, although somewhat rougher, is comparable in color and cleanliness to beaches like Lani Kai.

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There is no question that Hanauma Bay is an excellent place to snorkel. Unfortunately it, unlike any other snorkeling spot in the State of Hawaii, costs money for an admission charge and costs money for a parking fee.

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Hukilau Beach in Laie on the north-eastern coastline of Oahu is a beach that in an odd way provides a tribute to the multicultural nature of the island of Oahu.

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One of the few beaches that has the look and feel of old Oahu is Kahana Beach on Oahu's windward coastline. The fact that this beach is located in a section of the island that is normally simply a gateway for island visitors to pass by on their way to visit what are presumably more spectacular attractions is the saving grace of Kahana Beach Park.

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Without question, the most popular beach on the windward side of Oahu is Kailua Beach, and with good reason. This large expanse of white sand beach is simply "drop-dead" gorgeous and is the perfect location for water sports and beach activities.

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The Ko'Olina Resort area located on Oahu's west-facing coast boasts a total of four almost identical looking, side-by-side man-made lagoons. If you're an ocean purist and like your beaches created by the hand of nature, you're out of luck at these beaches.

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Kualoa Beach Park is both a beach and a park with perhaps a heavier emphasis on being a park. The beach itself is extremely narrow having eroded over the years but the grass portion of the park is extremely wide.

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Makapu'u Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches to be found on Oahu. It is located at the very eastern tip of the island at the base of tremendous sea cliffs providing a spectacular back drop.

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You know it's a big wave when the sand you're sitting on at the beach shakes like an earthquake when the waves pound the shoreline. Welcome to the "Bonzai Pipeline" at famous Ehukai Beach on Oahu's North Shore.

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Forgive me for this but the following descriptions regarding Sandy Beach on the south shore of Oahu may to seem a bit more like a "rant" than a description of a beach.

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Sans Souci Beach is a small but beautiful beach with a big history. This lovely white sand beach is in Kapiolani Park just about a fifteen-minute walk from Waikiki.

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Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu is not really a beach, but rather a snorkel and diving spot; and what a snorkel spot it is! This small cove is ringed in rocks and coral providing very little in the way of sand to lay out on, but if you are looking for a great place to snorkel, Shark's Cove is, at many times of the year, an excellent option.

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The most famous coastline for big wave surfing in the world is the 7 mile stretch of beaches and intermittent rocky shore known as the "North Shore" of Oahu.

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Waikiki Beach is certainly the most famous beach in all of Hawaii and is a probable contender for the most well known beach in the world. This of course, was the beach where it all started regarding tourism in Hawaii.

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Waimea Bay on Oahu's famed North Shore is home, in the winter time, to a wave that is so large that no one had successfully surfed it until the late 1950's.

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Yokohama Bay is the large stretch of beautiful white sand that extends up to the Kaena Point area of western Oahu. Yokohama Bay is truly amazingly beautiful.

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Related Information

A listing of all Oahu Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the Oahu Beach that will be perfect for you!

It's a good thing you're going to the beach on Oahu! Not only does Oahu have some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, have some of the best snorkeling to be seen in the state, have some of the best surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling locations in the state and some of the largest waves for you to watch in the state, but Oahu beaches have more lifeguard locations and more lifeguards all toll than any other island in the State of Hawaii.

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