Hawaii is home to many great neighborhoods, but hidden away in Kailua is one of my favorites, Lanikai. Lanikai has upscale homes, including those owned by Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Mitchell, and one of the world's best beaches. Its white, powder sand and blue water is a breathtaking site. Its gentle waves make it ideal for stand up paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling and most importantly entertaining little ones. The neighborhood is only about a 3 mile stretch. It's basically a loop with houses both up the hill and on the beach and everywhere in between. A bike path runs parallel to the street, making it a safe place for a bike ride or a run. It's hard to imgaine how much there is to do in such a small area. Of course, the beach is the main attraction. From the beach, you have a view of two islands that sit about a mile offshore. These islands are called the Mokulua Islands or Moks for short. You can kayak or if you're brave SUP to one of these islands. If you decide to kayak to this island, the best place to put your kayak in the water is Lanipo St., one of the last streets around the loop. You have to park on the side streets and want to make sure you park in the direction traffic is flowing and keep your wheels off the road. The police love to ruin a good beach day by leaving a ticket on your vehicle. One beautiful, fun day we ended up with two parking tickets, costing us $70. Needless to say, it was an expensive beach day.
If you put your kayak in the water at Lanipo St., it should only take you about 15 minutes to get to the island. If you don't and travel from Kailua beach, it is a longer and much more exhausting trip. Once you get to the island, you can relax on the beach or take a hike around. If you're an adrenaline junkie, try taking a plunge off the cliff at the back of the island. It is an exciting and refreshing jump into the water, but it's one of those things I've done once and not too excited to do again.
There's also another hike in the neighborhood. To get to it, you need to take a right turn on the second street around the loop. The name of the street starts with a K. You would think after all this time I would know this, but it's just one of those places I know how to get to and don't bother with remembering the name. You'll see a country club and golf course on the right, so park along the street there. On the left, you'll see a sign that says Pillbox Hike at the beginning of the trail. This is a rather easy uphill hike to an amazing view. Once you get to the top, you can see all the way from Waimanalo to Kaneohe. Along the hike you will find World War II bunkers where you can just sit and enjoy the view.
The hike is probably only 2 miles round trip if you stop at the bunkers. You can keep going and the entire trail ends in the Enchanted Lake area of Kailua, so this would make it about 7 or 8 miles total. We always stop at the peak and enjoy the amazing view.
Whether you live in Hawaii or visit, you have to take the time to enjoy Lanikai because it's definitely the place where you feel like you're living it up! Today, Matthew and I plan to do just that. We're meeting some friends at the beach, and I can't think of a better way to spend an ordinary Tuesday.