The Mokulua Islands SUP Paddle starts at the end of Lanikai, goes out to the two Mokulua Islands, or more commonly known as “The Mokes” and then turns back around to land in Lanikai again. The Mokes are located not too far offshore in Lanikai & are a fun day paddle if you want an exciting adventure. When I’m paddling here, I feel like I’ve landed in Tahiti. The Mokulua Islands have a calm & tranquil feel that make them one of the most beautiful places to paddle to on the entire island. The best part is that you can hang out there for the day, pack a lunch, & even do some tide pool exploring & cliff jumping. The Mokulua Islands (Mokes) SUP Paddle is entirely an open ocean paddle with lots of reef, surf & wind. Scout out the area & check conditions before heading out.
Moku Nui & Moku Iki are the two “Mokes” & are both wildlife sanctuaries. We went to Moku Nui which is the more popular spot. While you can still paddle to Moku Iki, there is less landing space for paddle boards or kayaks & tends to be better for surfing around the side or snorkeling.
|Time:||45 min – 1 hour|
|Difficulty:||Intermediate / Advanced|
|Best time:||Early Morning|
The Mokulua Islands SUP Paddle starts in the neighborhood of Lanikai. Parking is highly regulated on the weekends, but there is lots of free parking in the neighborhood if you go early on a weekday. Just make sure you are respectful of the homes & do not obstruct any driveways.
If you’re coming from town, take the Pali Hwy until you get into Kailua. Continue driving through town until you pass the beach park, & go over the hill into Lanikai. Mokulua Drive is a one-way street, so turn right & then find parking along the makai (ocean side) of the street as soon as possible.
If you’re coming from Hawaii Kai or Waimanalo, get on Kalanianaole Hwy until you reach the Pali or Kailua town. Follow instructions above for getting into the neighborhood.
Coming from Kaneohe or the North shore, hop on Kamehameha Hwy until it turns into the H3 in Kaneohe.
Address for GPS: 1277 Mokulua Drive, Kailua, HI 96734
All the parking is free in Lanikai or up the hill at Kailua Beach park. Parking on Mokulua Drive is not allowed on the weekends, so you’ll have to park in the public parking lot at Kailua Beach park unless you have friends in the neighborhood.
Use one of the beach accesses to enter the beach, & start paddling! It may be helpful to walk farther down the beach so its more of a straight shot to the islands.
There are public restrooms at Kailua Beach park, & showers as well. There are no public restrooms in Lanikai. Paddling to the Mokes will take some time & you’ll want to hang out there all day, so plan accordingly with food, water, supplies, etc.
- A life jacket or PFD is optional but not required
Cautions & Hazards
Lanikai can get windy on days when conditions are less favorable. On most days however, its relatively calm. As always, check the forecast before heading out! It also never hurts to bring along a partner — not just for safety purposes but you’ll want to have some memorable photos as well. Paddling to The Mokes is a very picturesque expedition.
Being on the windy side of the islands means that the trade winds commonly pick up in the late morning & blow hard through the early afternoon. Usually these winds blow directly against the shore though, so if you make it to the island, coming back is usually a breeze.
There are lots of Kayak Tours that go out to The Mokes daily, but most of them are novice paddlers & are not a huge hazard.
Surf & Reef
The reef in Lanikai is alive and well! On days when the tide is low, you will need to avoid is strategically before going to the islands. With a live and shallow reef, this also brings surf on the days with better swells.
Always something to look out for while paddling here. The Portuguese Man-Of-War jellyfish are notorious on the windward side.
Tips, Links & Other Resources
- Across the street from Kailua Beach Park is Buzz’s Steakhouse, a famous spot with delicious food and beer. The perfect place for cooling down after a long day paddle and having a drink or two with friends.
- Kalapawai Market is down the street too. They are a local store with snacks, homemade deli food, sandwiches, groceries and a large selection of dry goods.
- Cinnamon’s Restaurant is one of the best spots on the island for breakfast. Their Guava Chiffon pancakes are to die for. They are about five minutes away in Kailua Town. If you’re going on the weekend for brunch, be sure to call ahead because this place can fill up fast.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment with your experience or knowledge below on the Mokulua Islands SUP paddle! If you have a question, write it here or in the comments below!
If you like this blog or this post, please consider sharing it on social media!