"Keeping It Kailua" Top 5 Page for this destination Kailua by AKtravelers

Kailua Travel Guide: 67 reviews and 199 photos

Small Town/Beach Town Feel on Oahu

If you drive around the small downtown of Kailua, you'll bumper stickers urging readers to "Keep It Kailua". After you've spent a few days here, you'll understand what they're saying. Despite the massive growth of the Oahu population and the Hawaii tourism industry, Kailua has managed to keep the feeling of an old isolated beach town from a simpler time. There still are small, independently run corner markets here, people can walk from their homes to the beach and there are only a few high-rises. And yet you're only a 20-minute drive over the Pali to the bright lights of Honolulu. So far the big resort developers have been kept at bay, but the new H3 highway makes the Windward side tempting resort territory and a target for growth. Forever, there seems to be a battle about allowing short vacation rentalbed & breakfast-like properties or not -- currently they are illegal unles you have a very-hard-to-get permit. There's also continuing controversy about beach access -- beaches are public but private road owners are gating the ways to the beach! Janet and I are all for aloha, and it's good to keep these local spats in perspectives -- after all, we could be arguing about urban blight.

Kailua Beach is Number 1

According to some publications -- even some publications NOT written in Kailua -- Kailua beach is America's Number 1 Beach. It is a five-mail soft white-sand crescent with clear blue water and minimal development. Often, Kailua's top competitor for the number one beach is Lanikai Beach just down the road, and technially in Kailua (according to zip code if not according to spirit). In any case, Kailua Beach is great to have nearby and a wonderful place to while away an hour or view a full moon.

Kailua is on the windward side of Oahu, which is also known as the rainy side. This may sound unfortunate, but it's not. The windward side is slightly cooler than other parts on Oahu, such as Hawaii Kai or Pearl City, so most homes need neither heat nor air conditioning -- the weather is almost always comfortable. Plus, the extra rain gives Kailua a lush, tropical feel, unlike many areas of the island which offer close to desert conditons. Finally, the proximity of the beach and the mountains in a relatively country-like setting makes Kailua truly feel like paradise. Plus, here's the secret -- it really doesn't rain all that much here during the day. Kailua is much drier than neighboring Kaneohe, but often gets painted with the same brush.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:small beach town feel
  • Cons:sometimes the town is too small
  • In a nutshell:It Feels Like Hawaii Should!
  • Last visit to Kailua: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (7)

  • berkeleybear's Profile Photo
    Oct 17, 2007 at 9:18 AM

    Hi! I love the pics on your site. I am looking forward to visiting the island in December. Quick question - how convenient is the public transportation?

  • Mailo's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2007 at 7:39 PM

    Beautifull house, you do live in paradise!!!... Ismael

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2007 at 11:36 AM

    Aloha! Life looks soooo ruff for the hounds. Bet they love to skinny dip. Great to know there's an IG club on Oahu. No Lost Paradise there, folks!

  • catalysta's Profile Photo
    Jan 24, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    What a kailua place to live, lovely! Yep, the peacocks can sound like a flock of ravenous pterodactyls at night, my neighbor used to raise them years ago. Just wait till mating season, you'll be buying shotguns, LOL!

  • irishgalmtl's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2007 at 5:35 PM

    Hello there Andrea & Kevin, You are very welcome for b-day wishs..Im glad u like mtl. As I have never hear of where u live It look so beautiful I'd never wanna leave there..lol

  • Dec 28, 2006 at 7:15 PM

    How about some pictures of your new home in Hawaii?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2006 at 11:27 AM

    Kailua looks like a beautiful little spot to spend some time! Can't say I blame you re the 'developer' thing. We came across a bunch of locals in Hopkins, Belize who were also trying to save their traditional-style paradise from 'progress'!

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