Welcome to Kailua
A tight-knit community with local charm and picturesque scenery
Tucked on the east coast of the island of Oahu, Kailua is a quaint town that has a homey, welcoming vibe. Meaning “two seas” or “two currents,” Kailua was given its name for the two fishponds that used to be in the area and the two currents that run through this area’s bay.
Kailua is a highly sought-after area because of its charm. There aren’t sprawling resorts, crowded stores, or any signs of high-energy nightlife. Instead, this area has tons of small, local shops and family-owned businesses. This leads to a small-town feel throughout the area and makes Kailua widely regarded as a chill, close-knit community.
Also famous for its beaches and its ideal conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing, this area is excellent for those who desire perfect, low-key beach days.
What to Love
- Beachy town with a tranquil atmosphere
- Perfect climate for outdoor and ocean activities
- Abundance of small, locally-owned businesses
Kailua is made up of residents who aren’t necessarily looking for the hustle and bustle of city life. Instead, this area is made up of laid-back, chill locals who enjoy the quaintness of Kailua and do their best to keep the area undisturbed. There are plenty of small shops here that feature local owners excited to share their passions with visitors, contributing to the community-centric vibes. Though residents of Kailua enjoy the charm of home, there is also the option to easily access the lively Honolulu area when needed.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Some of the best experiences in Kailua come from the many small, locally-owned businesses. This is especially true in dining and shopping, as many residents share their talents through their restaurants and stores!
A popular local juicery to check out, Lanikai Juice is known for smoothies, bowls, and fresh juices. It's ideal to stop here for a refreshing drink or snack before a hot day in the sun. Kalapawai Market is another iconic brand in the area, and they’ve operated since 1932 with local tastes and lifestyles in mind. This market serves a wide array of café favorites, ranging from the traditional coffee and sandwiches (make sure not to miss their deli!) to steak and wine.
For those who love to curl up with a new book on the beach, BookEnds is a fantastic spot to pick up both new and used books while checking out what’s in stock. Another great, locally-owned store to support is Quill and Feather Boutique, specializing in crafting stunning, hand-made jewelry.
Things to Do
Kailua’s beaches are known to many as some of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu. Lanikai Beach, for instance, has even been ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. The water here is as tranquil as can be, and every visitor can appreciate its pure beauty. Kailua Beach is another beach that locals love to visit, with miles of soft, white sand overlooking clear turquoise waters.
Aside from the beautiful beaches, there are many other draws in this area. A fun activity that brings together the whole community is the Kailua Farmers’ Market. Held Thursdays from 4-7 p.m., this market allows for local businesses and farmers to sell produce, flowers, and other products. Not only is it a great excuse to support small businesses, but there’s also nothing better than getting freshly grown fruits and vegetables to bring home for the week!
For those seeking out adventurous activities, there are plenty of hiking trails within the area to explore. One great trail to check out is the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. This trail is ranked as an intermediate hike due to its steep incline. Though it is slightly challenging, those who reach the top of this trail are rewarded with stunning island views overlooking the scenery of the Kailua and Lanikai beaches.
Even more challenging (and only recommended for experienced hikers) is the Olomana Trail, which is 4.4 miles in a verdant forest setting.