You need an ultimate guide post for a beach? Well, at first I thought it would be pretty dumb too, especially since I wrote up a whole thing about the Top 10 Beaches of O’ahu and it’s listed on there. After trying to tell a visitor to get to that beach I realized Lanikai Beach is more complicated than other beaches on the island and it actually does need an ultimate guide post for it. Once you know what to do and what to expect then it won’t be too hard!
Picking Out a Time to Get to Lanikai Beach
Lanikai is in the town of Kailua, which is on the windward side of O’ahu, also known as the rainy side of the island. During the winter months (rain season), rain and cloudy weather can be quite constant. The water won’t look as picture perfect clear blue-green on a cloudy day and it’ll be colder to go there on a rainy one. Look up the weather in advance!
Getting to Lanikai Beach
Let’s assume you’re staying in Waikiki Beach and don’t have a rental car. There are a few bus routes that’ll take you to the beach. You can go through the mountains, or around it. To be honest they’ll probably take about the same amount of time (around will probably be about 20+ minutes longer but you’re already on the bus more than a hour so it doesn’t matter that much).
Going around the mountains means you want either buses 22 or 23 out of Waikiki to Sea Life Park. From there you can transfer to bus 57, that’ll get you to Kailua. From there you can either walk (which will take a while) or take bus 70 right to the beach access you want (more on that later).
Through the mountains will be a little faster. From Waikiki Beach you’ll want either bus 2 or 42 to get to downtown. From there you’ll get on either 56 or 57 to Kailua. After that it’s the same as before, either walking or taking bus 70 right to the beach.
So you have a rental car instead, that won’t be much easier. You can take whatever roads you want to get there however parking is nonexistent. Lanikai Beach is mostly filled with homes and isn’t a beach park like Kailua or Waimanalo. Parking in someone’s driveway isn’t allowed (unless you know them, of course) and there is extremely limited street parking as well. The roads in that area are all one way, and there’s a bike lane on one side and blocking that will get you towed.
Which Lanikai Beach Access to Choose
Lanikai Beach isn’t like other beaches on the island. Like I just mentioned, houses go right up to the water line. Although all beaches are public property so you’re allowed to enjoy beach. Don’t trespass on people’s properties though, that isn’t allowed in Hawai’i!
Because of this, there are beach accesses to choose from. The popular ones are 6 and 7. That connects to more sand and shows some beautiful views. Others I’ve seen personally are smaller and more private (8, 9, 10, and 11). They’re about 100 square feet of sand, some have concrete and sandbags instead. If you want more privacy I suggest one of these, as they’re also less crowded.