See our aerial video of Lanikai
showcasing the stunning oceanfront homes. Lanikai Neighborhood
Lanikai is a small neighborhood of about 500 homes with ~105 oceanfront homes and only ~25 homes directly on Lanikai's pristine white sandy beach.
The neighborhood is widely known as the high-end neighborhood of the Island's Windward Side, but it has a different feel than similar neighborhoods on Oahu. If Kahala
is the strong statement in luxury living, Lanikai says it in softer, friendlier tones.
You enter this oceanside district immediately upon heading south from Kailua Beach Park
. That proximity to this world famous beachfront, and the incredible beauty of the ocean stretching out from these shores, easily puts these properties at the top levels of Oahu real estate
From here you look out not only on those turquoise swells, but also to the twin Mokulua Islands
, which wade in the Pacific out toward the horizon. This part of Oahu's eastern coast is well known for the common sightings of turtles (honu) enjoying a swim, something you're guaranteed to share with your friends no matter how many times it happens. It's that kind of experience.
The Mokulua Islands aren't the only significant couple linked to this neighborhood. Back on land this district has just two main roads that feed traffic in and out, both one way. Together they comprise what's known as the Lanikai Loop. Aalapapa Drive goes along the mountain, or mauka, side while the aptly named Mokulua Drive brings you back on the ocean, or makai, side.
The fact that both streets are not just one way, but one-lane, and with no sidewalks, reflects the exclusivity of the residences here. It's not completely unwelcome to outsiders. There's public beach access that runs between some properties, but street parking is difficult to find by day and non-existent at night. All these conditions create a protective environment, without being overbearing. Lanikai Homes - Choices High & Low
Lanikai real estate, as noted, is on the higher end of the market, but, in general, still below the very top pricing on a Per Square Footage scale. That square footage for a property here is around 10,000 sq ft on average, but you'll find numerous lots that run from 5,000 to 15,000 sq ft. There's even a few that claim one to two acres, so there's much to choose from in sizes.
There's also a lot of variety in the verticals as well. Lanikai is a rich mix of homes on the flat land that lies toward the shore and those that sit higher and higher up the mountainside. The first are closer to the beach, but the views tend to get better and better as the altitude climbs. Those at the top have an especially envious vantage point of the Pacific and the surrounding Windward Oahu scenery. Overall, there really isn't a bad view in Lanikai, though.
Prices maintain the same varied pattern. Property sells for anything from $1M, which are often teardowns at that level, on up to $10M. Though these are distinctly high end purchases, most houses aren't the massive estates they're expected to be, just from the price point. Credit that to the unique feel of the neighborhood and the fact that you're on this side of the Koolaus. Elegant Living, Windward Oahu Style
That softer, friendlier tone is clear from the luxury or large beach cottage feel that characterizes much of the homes. It's an echo of the old kamaaina lifestyle where the rich lived well, but not conspicuously. There's no mistaking that this is an upmarket neighborhood, but residents aren't as concerned about flaunting it. They live here for the beauty and serenity, not to be seen or make an impression. That's for the other side of the mountains.
There actually is one other part to Lanikai, with its own distinct flavor. It's the Bluestone townhome
community that's perched above Mid Pacific Country Club
. Built in 1979, it is also made up of 2 main streets, one of which falls in this neighborhood. The other is considered part of Enchanted Lakes
. These residences have views out over the golf course and further on to the ocean.
Though not a part of traditional Lanikai, they share some of the same outlooks and are worth considering for those looking for something that, while upscale, fall below the $1M mark that the main neighborhood starts at usually.
No matter where you are, up the hills or not, you're never more than a minute or two from the sand. Lanikai Beach was made for swimming and, as you'll see for yourself, windsurfing, too. Head down there and, at times, you'll feel as if you stepped into a living photograph - the bottomlessly blue sky, the laughter of your neighbors carried by the cooling winds and the waters ceaselessly approaching and then retreating in its own uneven rhythm.
In a way, that's your life in Lanikai. An unending cycle of tropical days that have a reassuring sameness but with more than enough little unpredictability that will continually peak your interest. Parking Issues
Lanikai Beach popularity means a lot of visitors and that has caused a lot of traffic, sometimes making it difficult for residents to get in and out of their own neighborhood. In an effort to alleviate the issue for residents regulators implemented rules making it difficult to park in Lanikai on long weekends and imposing restrictions on number of visitors a tour bus can drop off in Lanikai per visit. You may also be interested in....
Neighboring Kailua Beachside homes
and if you are open to luxury homes in Honolulu
, check out Diamond Head homes
and Kahala homes
The name Lanikai was one only given to this part of Oahu in the early 20th Century by Charles Frazier, the man who created this neighborhood out of bare land. Its much older, Native Hawaiian name was Ka'ohao, which means 'joining or tying together'. In those times, and on up until Charles Frazier's arrival, this was a bare, windswept land.
The Hawaiians of old used the hilltops to look for fish, heading down to the waters once they had spotted where they were gathered. In fact, you can still find some vestiges of places where they made offerings and asked the fish gods for their help. In later times, this area was especially known for raising turkeys and watermelon, making it a very unique place on the Island Like most of Windward Oahu it would come under the ownership of the Castle Family, who turned much of the land on this side over to farming and cattle ranching. Lanikai was different, though, with its steep hills and soothing scenery.
Harold Castle, the family patriarch during the early 1900's, put up a small structure near the beach that he used for weekends and vacations, the area's calming beauty making it the perfect sanctuary from his busy life. In spite of this attachment he would sell these lands in 1924 to businessman Charles Frazier, who had some big plans for it. Roads were laid out and paved, the famous concrete marker was erected at the entrance, houses were built and the golf course which became Mid-Pacific Country Club was created as well, all of this to appeal to the upper-class market he targeted. He also named his creation 'Lanikai', meaning 'sea heaven'. It all worked. This was the first residential development to be built on the Windward Side of Oahu. You could say that this was not just the birth of Lanikai real estate, but for all of this side of the Pali.
What you have today is a still exclusive neighborhood, with a very popular stretch of sand on the makai side that brings in traffic from all over on weekends. Lanikai Beach, like its neighboring Kailua Beach, has held that title of Best Beach in America in previous years. Also like their neighbors, the residents of Lanikai aren't so excited about getting so much attention. They like things to stay on the quiet side and, for the most part, they do.
What Charles Fraizer laid out almost 100 years ago has stayed virtually intact. More houses, to be sure, but the essence of that perfect lot on the ocean, or perched above it, still attracts homebuyers not only from Hawaii, but all over the world. Harold Castle's secret has gotten out. More About Lanikai
Lanikai is a name to conjure with – the picturesque homes perched above one of the most beloved ocean outlooks in all Oahu. Living here is something close to the ideal of the upscale tropical lifestyle.
Even with all of that, we believe you should understand that every place has some aspects that keep it from being utterly perfect. Even Lanikai.
For instance, the purely residential make-up of the community does keep the skyline clear and the sound volume down. It also means that any and all shopping, from the smallest daily purchases on up, can only be done after a drive into Kailua, or farther. That goes for dining out as well. You get the quiet at home, but at the cost of access.
You'll also learn firsthand that living beside a hugely popular beach brings its own unique problems. At prime times beach goers are known for leaving their cars in any open space available. The streets of Lanikai are especially busy on weekends, creating an ongoing issue that has many residents up in arms. On holidays, traffic can be slowed to a crawl. In spite of measures taken by the county, a true solution hasn't emerged yet.
Above you is yet another attraction, which draws its own avid breed - the hiker. The Lanikai pillboxes that look out from above are a well-known destination, famous for their incredible. This has brought its own traffic that's grown in recent years. It's part of living in this picture perfect community.
If you now find yourself second guessing your dream of owning a home in Lanikai, read on. As challenging as these last paragraphs have been, we've got a lot of great reasons ahead to remind you why this is still the place you'll want to call home.
LANIKAI REAL ESTATE – STILL THE DREAM
Even a short drive around this neighborhood will be enough to convince you that this is what living is all about. The elegant homes draw you in with their comfortable, inviting luxury while the natured kissed scenery draws your gaze outward even more. It's an alluring combination.
It's also a part of what makes Lanikai the right place to raise a family. Clean, fresh air, a full menu of places to play, from the local playground to the friendly beaches, and one of the best charter schools in Oahu. This entire side of the Koolaus is known for its slower pace, an environment kids can flourish in, and Lanikai embodies that more than anywhere else.
That special feel extends far beyond your neighborhood limits. There's much more to savor both up and down the coast from home. Waimanalo sits to your south with its towering green cliffs soaring above the wooden homes and stores that look like they've been there forever. The beaches here are favorites of locals and rarely get too crowded.
Northward of Lanikai is the long coastline that takes in small towns like Laie and Kaaawa before reaching the North Shore. These small towns live in harmony with the incredible natural backdrop around them, all beside an untamed ocean that the road skirts along. The words 'Let's take a drive up the coast' will never fail to bring a smile to your face.
Lastly, you'll benefit from an active community, committed to preserving this special place. It is true that there are some issues, as addressed above, but the neighborhood has been able to get the authorities' attention and they've taken steps.
Residents understand what they've got in living here and you can be assured that it will be protected, in spite of the challenges. Few places on Oahu can claim that kind of voice and clout.
THE FUTURE OF LANIKAI REAL ESTATE
No crystal ball is needed to see that Lanikai homes will continue to maintain their average $1+ million sales prices, with many going for much more. The exclusivity of this small neighborhood with its famously awe-inspiring ocean views and luxurious homes guarantee its spot on the top levels of Oahu's residences is safe and secure.
This position at the high-end of Hawaii real estate does create some issues, though. Properties like these are extremely attractive, but the number of buyers who can pay their prices can be limited. Make no mistake, these homes hold their value and they do sell, but it can take time to find the right buyer at this price height of the market.
We see a very strong local real estate market for the coming years ahead, with Lanikai homes benefiting greatly from the push upward. The average days on the market will shorten, but investors should always go in with the realization that, while a profit is close to certain at sale time in Lanikai, these are not flip properties. They are, though, solid investments.
Lanikai is a bedroom community in its purest form. Reaching the shopping, dining and other related amenities will always mean a hop into the car. The good news is that you can satisfy most needs, and wants, in Kailua, just 5 minutes away.
The best news of all? The greatest amenities are just outside your door, requiring merely a few steps. Appropriately we start with a couple of those.
Lanikai Beach – The calm, unspoilt waters and soothing beauty of the vista makes this a favorite beach Island-wide, drawing people from all over Oahu, as the notoriously creative parking by visitors will attest. Lucky for you these sands are a stroll away and might even be your view from home. 5 Star sand and sea, no question.
Kailua Beach – A repeat Best Beach winner that's in walking distance up the road, this can also get crowded, weekends especially. You'll understand why the fuss with your first view of the beautifully clear waters and sands that warmly embrace you.
Kalama Beach – This wonderful oceanside retreat is a jewel itself, though in the shadow of Lanikai & Kailua. That's okay. It leaves more of this wide beach for you. Parking can be difficult at times with one small lot, but getting out here will be worth it. Just north of Kailua Beach.
Schools & Childcare
Lanikai is served by a highly regarded group of schools, including a charter school that is the pride of this community.
Lanikai Elementary – Public charter school with board elected by both teachers & parents. Very well reviewed by parents and has achieved high school ratings. Part of Aina IS program that teaches and promotes sustainability and green practices.
Kailua Intermediate School – Currently ranks #8 of 39 Intermediate Schools in Hawaii, higher than 84% of comparable facilities. 7 computer labs, 3 of which are mobile to ensure students have technological skills.
Kalaheo High School – Upper public school serving Lanikai with enrollment of 828. Most recent Strive report does show challenges in Math Proficiency, but College Going rate is high: 70%.
Windward Community College (Kaneohe) – Provides numerous trade and skills training programs as well as traditional academic classes, all at an excellent price point.
Lanikai is not as well served as other parts of Oahu by The Bus, so the one option from your neighborhood is the #70, which goes between Lanikai and Maunawili. That said, you can easily transfer to the #56 on Kailua Road to get to Downtown Honolulu and Ala Moana Center, which covers a large percentage of riders. You can also transfer on the same stretch to #77, which goes to Waimanalo one way and Kaneohe in the other.
Supermarkets & Groceries
Kailua gives you the complete range of grocery possibilities. You can head to Times, Foodland or one of three Safeway, which will provide for most tastes. There's also Target, which has a large food section, including local produce. Finally, those who prefer the organic or gourmet side of things are well taken care of with the large Whole Foods right in the center of town. Few places on Oahu have this many options so close by.
Your shopping choices near Lanikai are a mix of intriguing boutique stores and some better known places. As they saying goes, there's something for everyone.
Kailua Town Center – Not an actual shopping center, this comprises the stores and restaurants on the right side of Kailua Rd, entering town from Pali side. Includes Whole Foods, Macy's, Long's, Pier 1 and more. Designed to fit the pedestrian-friendly vision for Kailua's central area.
Time Shopping Center – Directly across the street from Town Center, you can sample numerous local restaurants and tastes here along with local shops, too. Or browse one of the last independent book stores on Oahu, with a huge Hawaii section. Virtually chain-free.
Aikahi Shopping Center – On the edge of Kaneohe, the complex is anchored by Safeway with a mixture of local and chain restaurants. Also features a few medical offices and personal services.
Windward Mall (Kaneohe) – the biggest shopping center this side of the Pali, you'll be drawn here at one time or another. 2 stories of places to shop and eat. Also holds very popular indoor farmer's market every Wednesday & Sunday.
Hospitals & Health Care
Lanikai residents are well taken care of, with both Straub and Kaiser represented nearby, along with one of the major hospitals serving Oahu. You can even stop by Long's to get any issues checked here.
Minute Clinic – Located inside Long's, they accept insurance at this walk-in clinic. Convenient for picking up your prescription right there in the store.
Straub, Kailua Family Health Center – Non-Emergency services with departments specifically dedicated to women's and pediatric health. Great for check-ups, health issues that don't require urgent attention and family planning.
Kaiser Permanente Kailua Clinic – Windward side facility for Kaiser members. Clinic is open 8AM to 5PM weekdays and 8AM to Noon on Saturday.
Castle Medical Center – Major hospital that serves this side of Oahu. 160 beds and a staff of 1,000 providing full health services – In/Out-Patient and even In-Home. Also has Behavioral Health facility to treat patients with mental illnesses.
Your Recreation & Leisure Options
Recreation Centers & More
Some think of this area as one big recreation area itself, due to the very friendly environment to those who like to pursue an active lifestyle. That attitude extends to setting aside some excellent spaces and facilities to feed that need, no matter what your age or current shape.
Lanikai Park Pavilion – Along with the playground that brings kids and their supervising parents, this is the sports center for the community. Both organized & pick-up games go on here constantly, including basketball, volleyball and soccer. This is also the home of the Lanikai Canoe Club for paddlers who love getting out on the waves.
Kailua District Park – Not too far from home is this large complex that includes a gymnasium, swimming pool, soccer field and courts for both volleyball and basketball. Full calendar of programs and classes covering every age range as well.
Bellows AFB Campgrounds – Drive south for a few minutes and you're at one of the greatest camp sites in Hawaii. Right on a huge expanse of beach, with trees to shelter you and a lot of ways to spend your time. Volleyball and basketball courts, both miniature and frisbee golf and more. Even a small convenience store. The pristine beach and cool waters, though, is what truly sets it apart. Open to non-military.
Dining & Restaurants
One of the things they definitely get right here is food, their strength being the many local restaurants that do well here. You'd be hard pressed to find another part of the Island that has as many places with the level of reviews they get – and from dedicated foodies. Here's 10 we guarantee you'll walk out planning a return trip.
Hale Kealoha – REAL Hawaiian food. You know it's good when Hawaiians say it's the real deal and they do. Lau lau, kalua pig, squid luau, lomi salmon – it's all made here and it's delicious. Locals know and so should you.
Uahi Island Grill – Local food made the way we love it. Their garlic chicken and red curry fish dishes are their two top orders, but the garlic ahi isn't far behind. Tasty and not expensive.
The Hibachi – Get one of their poke bowls, then sit back and enjoy. It's a specialty here that you order by the pound. Lots of other seafood and meat dishes that deserve your attention, too. Small place so you have to look for it on Kailua Rd.
Kalapawai Cafe & Deli – Part Country cuisine, with their shepherd's pie, rack of lamb and pulled pork, but you'll also find risotto and goat cheese ravioli, too. They use organic ingredients, too and have a very nice wine selection for that complete dining experience. This is comfort food and you'll feel it.
Bella Bistro – Mix of Italian, French & Spanish food at this small and very charming place. All outdoor dining, which is part of the attraction. Pasta dishes are large servings and so good you'll finish every bite. Meat fans should order the rib eye steak, a definite winner.
Cinnamon's Restaurant – Breakfast and Brunch only here and they do both right! Most should go straight for the red velvet pancakes, their signature dish. You can also rely on the Portuguese sweet bread french toast to get your taste buds tingling. You'll probably wait for a table, but your first bite will make it worth it.
Paniolo's – If you're big on burritos, this is your place. Build yours just how you like it and as big as you want. A huge selection of meats, salsas, seasonings and guacamole to work with, including their famous corn salsa. A local alternative to Chipolte's.
Steak Rave – Shares space with a liquor store, but don't let that stop you. Word is out about their steak and it's all good. The chicken plate and the garlic shrimp should be sampled, too. Though just a counter with a couple of tables, the food is top notch.
Distances From Lanikai to Other Parts of Oahu
Kapolei: 31.3 miles
Ko Olina: 36.2 miles
Waikiki: 15.8 miles
Honolulu Airport: 20.7 miles
Downtown Honolulu: 13.2 miles
Ala Moana Shopping Center: 15.5 miles
Pearl Harbor/Hickam: 20.5 miles
Pearlridge Shopping Center: 18.8 miles
Kaneohe: 7.7 miles
Kailua: 1.8 miles
Waimanalo: 5.7 miles
(Haleiwa): 41.3 miles
Sunset Beach: 47.4 miles