Lanikai Beach: Oahu

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Lanikai Beach on the windward side of Oahu is one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii. Fronted by idyllic homes, this half-mile-long white sand expanse has been ranked by National Geographic as one of the best beaches in the world. Lanikai will most likely feel familiar, due to the fact that it serves as the backdrop for many modeling photo shoots and it has been an ideal location for TV shows like Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum PI. Water sports: On the windward side of the island and protected by a large reef, Lanikai is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Many people make their way out on paddle boards or kayaks to visit the nearby Mokolua islands, also known as "The Mokes."

Shade: The morning and early afternoon sun, blankets the powdery sands of Lanikai Beach, but come the mid-afternoon, the sun will slowly drop behind the Koolau Mountains. So if you are seeking a good tan, arrive early and enjoy (with plenty of SPF) or plan on enjoying a late afternoon shady beach day.

Food: There are no food options on or near Lanikai, but you can pick up a picnic lunch at Lanikai General Store on the way in. On the way out, opt for a shaved ice at Island Snow.

Parking: Since Lanikai is located in a residential area, there are no public facilities; and be aware of parking signs because ignoring them could result in a $200 fine. Park where you can and then walk to find the beach access paths tucked discreetly among the residential homes.

Origin of a name: Lanikai means "heavenly sea" which is apparent from the moment you arrive. The myriad of blue shades that permeate the waters, can almost be heard calling visitors to come in and luxuriate in the splendor of the sea.