Dr. Beach and other so called experts consistently rank one of Hawaii’s beaches among the most beautiful in the world. While we don’t generally pay much attention to self proclaimed beach experts - in this case - they are all spot on. The beach they (and we) love so much in Lanikai Beach on the Windward side of Oahu.
Among American beaches, Lanikai Beach stands out. Not only is it the only one that makes these lists on a regular basis, but also, it is simply heavenly. The name Lanikai actually translates to Heavenly Water in the Hawaiian language. With its powdery white sand, it’s calm protected waters, the Moku Lua islands sitting peacefully off-shore surrounded by protected reef, it would be hard to find a place that is anywhere near as heavenly as Lanikai.
Lanikai wasn’t named by Hawaiians however, instead it was named by the American real estate developer Charles Frazier. Frazier bought the land from Harold Castle in 1924 and created the Lanikai Subdivision. The subdivision sits on a fairly narrow strip of that powdered sugar sand on a hidden loop road east of Kailua Town. The beach has suffered from erosion in the past decades and is shrinking despite efforts by locals and residents to save it. Today, it has been reduced by nearly half to less than half a mile long.
Crowds can be an issue at Lanikai - something the wealthy residents don’t love at all. They have lobbied for restrictions on parking and access during holidays - but with only limited success because by state law, all beaches in Hawaii are public access. The success they’ve achieved has been mostly at the expense of commercial companies and in regards to parking or dropping visitors off in the neighborhood itself. Parking fines can be as much as $200 and residents have successfully lobbied to keep the City and County from installing public restrooms or showers.
Famous Hawaiian crooner, Don Ho was a resident of Lanikai and former U.S. President Barack Obama stays in Lanikai when he visits Hawaii each winter.