Lanikai Pillbox Hike, Oahu, Hawaii

Lanikai Pillbox

Lanikai, Oahu, Hawaii. What can I say. To me it’s one of the most beautiful beach areas in Oahu to visit. The water is a gorgeous turquoise color just like you see in the vacation magazines and it’s so clear. Absolutely gorgeous. But though it is gorgeous from just walking at the beach or driving by, the best view of Lanikai is from the pillboxes up on the mountains. The view is absolutely stunning.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

The hike is easy to find but not the easiest hike to do with little kids. If you go make sure you can carry your kid all the way up. With bigger kids, holding hands, a harness, or even a rope to help them grab on to something may be ideal. I’ve done this hike already twice and can’t wait to do it again.

The beginning of the hike I think is the hardest part. It is very slippery and steep. If you aren’t careful you can get seriously injured. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen so always stay hydrated, wear proper clothing, sunblock, and a hat. It is mostly all exposed to the sun so the heat will get to you. It’s best to do this hike in the early morning right after the sun comes out and the day is still cool. You can also go before the sunrise so you can catch the sunrise from the mountain top but definitely bring a headlamp, flashlight, and extra batteries to help guide you through the darkness.

Lanikai Pillbox

Once you have passed the rough part in the beginning the rest of the way is rocky and uphill. There will still be some climbing and slippery areas so be careful. There’s some areas where it’s a ridge so definetly hold your little ones’ hand. Once you get to the first pillbox you can go around to the right side of it and climb on top. The view from here is absolutely gorgeous and worth it. It was our perfect resting spot.

From the first pillbox you can see the second pillbox. It’s not too much further but it’s crossing another ridge and some more climbing and going uphill in order to get to it. I stayed behind while my husband went up to explore more. I didn't dare take the little ones but this is up to your own discretion. My kiddos were already exhausted by this point so I didn't want to push their limits.

After The Hike

Lanikai Beach

After doing this hike we always end up going to the beach to cool off and relax. It’s a really great way to just chill and enjoy the rest of the day after a great hike. Lanikai always brings a great vibe to my day so if you’re ever on Oahu, this is one of the must go places before you leave.  At the beach you can rent kayaks and paddle boards in various locations. You can also bring your own if you have one on the island. Definitely bring your snorkels so you can find some of the gorgeous fishes in the area.

What To Pack For The Hike

  • Water
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • First Aid Kit
  • Rope
  • Baby Carrier - I like to use the Ergo for back support. Reach more about it here.
  • Sneakers or hiking boots
  • Active clothing
  • Backpack
  • Snacks

What To Pack For After The Hike

  • Water
  • Change of clothes
  • Sunblock
  • Swimsuit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Snorkels, paddle board, kayak, sand toys, etc.
  • Towel
  • Bag to put it all in
  • Lunch and snacks

Read here for some of my favorite kid snacks.


265 Kaelepulu Dr

Kailua, HI 96734

Parking & Trailhead

Once you arrive to the location, I recommend finding a parking spot on the side of the road close to the trail head. The later you arrive in the morning the harder it is to find a parking spot close to the trailhead. As you walk up Kaelepulu Drive towards the end you can find a dirt path to your left. This is where the trail begins at. If you can't find it, always ask a local or anyone that seems like they just got done with a hike. I'm sure they will be nice enough to point you towards the right direction.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

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