Getting lost in the blue of Lanikai Beach
Sun so warm.
Water so blue.
Sand so soft.
For a paradise that should be secluded, flocks of tourists preyed about this pristine beach in search of finding that insta-worthy shot. Even with the instagram-ers prowling about, Lanikai Beach on O’ahu, Hawaii is without a doubt one of the best beaches for that stress-free getaway.
And for me, it was a nice little reward for landing my first job out of University; woohoo—good job, me!
How to get to Lanikai Beach from Waikiki
There are definitely many options in terms of how to get to Lanikai Beach. Whether it’s by Uber, a day tour, or even by public transportation, getting to Lanikai Beach is pretty easy—it really depends on how fast you want to get there, how much you want to pay or what type of experience you’re looking for!
Since I did not use public transportation to go to Lanikai Beach, I will only be sharing my personal experiences with Uber and with a day tour.
When we went to Lanikai Beach, we hadn’t picked up our rental car yet but we still wanted the freedom to come and go from the Kailua area—so we Ubered! It was a little bit pricey. But considering the distance, from the heart of Waikiki to Lanikai Beach, is around 29 kilometres (18 miles), or a 40-50 minute drive depending on traffic, it wasn’t horrible.
The Uber driver who drove us to Lanikai Beach used to be a taxi driver for many years, and was he a chatty man! He taught us the history of the Hawaiian Islands and how it came to be formed. We learned that one of the main highways, Kamehameha Hwy, was named after King Kamehameha who had unified the diverse people of Hawaii. He even told us where former President Barack Obama went to private school, and that it now costs around $25,000 USD in tuition annually. Oh, and Mr. Uber driver also said that the Obamas rented a beach house by Lanikai Beach where they celebrated Christmas a few years back. Maybe I’ll make a separate blog post sharing all that I learned from our wise Uber driver … What do you think?
Our Uber ride back was not such a historical, or entertainment weekly-like, trip but we did learn about local hang-outs, where to find sea turtles, and also our Uber driver’s history with living in a haunted house.
Ah, just your typical ride with Uber.
By day tour
I’ve had pretty good experiences with day tours, and it was no different during my time in Hawaii. While for my most recent trip we rented a car and Ubered to places, my first visit to O’ahu was a different story.
At the time, my friend and I were not yet comfortable with Uber (this changed during a recent San Francisco trip btw) so we decided to sign-up for a day tour to visit Lanikai Beach. Provided by Kailua Beach Adventures, and at a price of $82.72 USD per person, the tour group picked us up from our hotel and brought us directly to the Kailua Beach area. While not exactly our desired point of destination, our package offered a free bike rental which we took advantage of by biking straight to Lanikai Beach. The bike ride was less than 10 minutes, and we got the chance to explore the Kailua town—I definitely recommend!
Even though a bit pricey, and considering it’s more than $80 USD per person, the package does include a few more things beyond a roundtrip car ride to Kailua.
If you’re looking to avoid driving, using Uber, or just looking for a worry-free experience, this may be the best option for you.
What to expect at Lanikai Beach
While slightly hidden between homes of Kailua’s residential neighbourhood, entrances (I think I saw 6 in total) to Lanikai Beach are scattered about the stretch of Mokulua drive—offering access from different drop-off points on the beach side. But while there are multiple entrances, the two pathways nearest to Kaelupulu drive lead you to the public portion of Lanikai Beach where white sand stretches for what seems like miles. But, not really miles because there’s a curve so it just looks like miles…
Smaller than most beaches we visited, finding a spot, away from other beachgoers, was a bit of a challenge. This was especially so since it was high-tide and we had to share the already limited sand area. Although a bit tight, the crowd was definitely smaller than the horde that is typically found on Waikiki Beach.
No bathrooms. None at all. I think the closest bathroom can be found near the Kailua Beach Park which is takes around 10 to 15 minutes to walk.
The same goes with food. There are no restaurants, food trucks, or any food stands of the sort. In other words, if you plan to stay at Lanikai Beach for a few hours, I recommend bringing some snacks or packing a picnic.
I would definitely plan to bring food and water because it’s a great beach to just lie around for hours. But of course, even though you’re on holiday, please remember to pick up and trash whatever garbage you bring—no one wants to swim or laze around in plastic!
Before going to Hawaii, I was worried that this paradise would not be able to live up to my expectations. My family, my friends, my acquaintances, and even my co-workers would rave about Hawaii, and I would always wonder why. For the longest time, without having step foot on any of the islands, I pre-judged and thought it was over-rated an over-rated.
And you know what? I eat my words. I’ve been to Hawaii twice, I’ve been to O’ahu twice, and I know I’ll want to come back!
Let me know what you think by dropping a comment below. From questions to sharing your own experiences from Lanikai—I’d love to hear all about your own adventures!
Aloha, and mahalo!