Kailua: Its little sister Lanikai

Last year, visiting Hawaii for the first time, I discovered Lanikai Beach. Lanikai is the little town next to Kailua made up of mostly private residences and a stretch of beach that is about as perfect as beaches get.

Like Kailua Beach there are jelly fish issues a couple of months out of the year– you have to be careful of Portuguese man-o-war and box jellyfish. Unlike Kailua, Lanikai doesn’t have a lifeguard so it’s not the best water for beginner swimmers. I’m a beginner and very paranoid about beach safety but I’m crazy about this little town and if I had 8 million dollars I would buy a house there.

secret pathways to the beach

If you take Kawailoa Rd SE from Kailua Beach you’ll hit Lanikai pretty quickly. Within minutes you’ll be in a charming residential neighborhood that despite it’s quaint feeling boasts houses with million dollar price tags. Find a parking spot on the street and then walk to the water using one of the little pathways between houses.

Hawaii is an ongoing revelation for me. I’m a born and raised New Yorker and even though I grew up on Long Island, I’m not one for nature…much less beaches.

We circled the area for a while trying to figure out how to get to the beach, eventually parking on a little patch of grass between houses. We’d read about Lanikai in the book Oahu Revealed and it had documented a handful of the little pathways to use to get to the beach. We found one of them and at first I was like ‘what the heck is this?’ It looked like an alley to nowhere and there were even some garbage cans lining the way. I was very skeptical. But when we emerged on the other side I was taken aback by the dramatic almost cinematic appearance of this stretch of beach that seemed as quiet and gentle as the quantum space beach Jodi Foster visited in the movie Contact.

Lanikai is soft sand, no crowds, rollicking surf and total perfection. In my harried New York mental state, with my ill fitting bathing suit, and distressed  hair, I looked at K and said ‘not only does this look like a postcard but I think this is how I would feel if I was IN a postcard’.

That was last year. Now we live five minutes away from this blessed little place.

a charming Lanikai home
a charming Lanikai home

Visitors to Hawaii since we’ve been here:

  • Barack Obama and family
  • Jon and Kate plus 8
  • James Gandolfini
  • Owen Wilson

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