Lanikai Beach#3 in Best Things To Do in Honolulu - Oahu
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Travel about 15 miles northeast of downtown Honolulu to the Windward Coast and you'll discover two of the island's most popular beaches – Kailua Beach Park and Lanikai Beach. Of the two, Lanikai is more tranquil, offering relatively calm waters and a mile of white sands. This family-friendly beach is also within view of the Mokulua Islands, a haven for kayaking and surfing.
Beachgoers praise Lanikai Beach's "gorgeous" setting, adding that its location in a mostly residential part of Kailua makes it less crowded and more relaxing than Waikiki Beach. But the beach's Kailua address is also its biggest drawback: Several visitors warn that parking in the area is limited. Some also report seeing jellyfish while visiting, so keep an eye out while swimming and snorkeling.
Lanikai Beach is easiest to reach by car, but relying on public transportation is possible. To get to the beach without a car, transfer to the No. 70 bus after taking one of several buses to Maunawili. Facilities like restrooms and food and beverage vendors are not available on-site, but showers and bathrooms can be found less than a mile away at Kailua Beach Park. Also, keep in mind that this beach does not have a lifeguard. It is free to visit 24 hours a day. For more information, visit the Kailua Chamber of Commerce's Beaches in Kailua page.
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#1 Waikiki Beach
Nineteenth-century Hawaiian royalty used to come to the Honolulu neighborhood of Waikiki to relax and surf, just as scores of tourists do today. That's because this area's famous beach (which is a string of several beaches dotting the island's southwest coastline) is the go-to spot for its soft, honey-colored sand and the high waves that lap the shores during the winter months. But you don't have to be a surfer to appreciate Waikiki Beach; just lie back on a beach towel, relax and gaze up at the majestic Diamond Head State Monument in the distance.
When you need a break from the beach itself, there are scores of shops and restaurants lining the adjacent Kalakaua Avenue. The street is home to some of the world's most exclusive (read: expensive) designer boutiques, including Cartier, Coach, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Many of the best Oahu hotels also overlook Waikiki Beach.
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