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Things to do in Kailua


Kailua Beach
The 3 miles of beautiful fine, soft white sand along this crescent shaped bay borders the clear turquoise waters which have a consistent year round temperature of about 75 degrees F (25 C). The steady on shore trade winds, water temperature and protective reef make this bay a popular arena for all sorts of water sports.

Looking to the north from the beach, you will see the Mokapu Peninsula which houses the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base. To the south are the world famous Mokulua Islands. A little less than half a mile out from the beach, is Flat Island which is a bird sanctuary and destination for swimmers and kyakers alike.

Many shade trees line the sand and shade a large park with many picnic tables, a bike path and bathroom/shower facilities. Plenty of parking makes it easy to access the beach and park. You can go there for a short walk or stay all day.

Lanikai Beach
Lanikai means "heavenly sea" in the Hawaiian language and when you see it you will know why it was given this name. It is a pristine beach and a favorite of many Kailuans and visitors alike. It's a mile long beach of fine white sand and surfless, turquoise water and makes for a perfect beach day with the kids.

While there you can enjoy the view of the world famous Mokulua Islands, about a mile off shore. The beach cove on one of the small islands and the surf between the two are big draws to kyakers and surfers.

Water Sports

Wind Surfing
Kailua is known to the world as the early windsurfing capital - this is where windsurfing was developed. Steady trade winds, turquoise water and a gentle beach make for a windsurfing paradise.

Windsurfers in Kailua Bay get the best of both worlds, with waves on the outer reefs and cleaner slalom conditions inside. Spots such as 'Castles', 'Zombies', 'Flat Island' and 'Jump City' can be reached for those who want to try their hand at wave sailing and jumping.

Kailua Beach Park offers three miles of sandy beach and a mild shore-break, making Kailua the friendliest place to windsurf in Hawaii.

Kite Surfing
Kailua is a kiteboarding destination, with the best all around conditions in Hawaii. Kite surfers from around the world come here for holiday to kite side by side with the locals.

Kailua is known as one of the best spots for kiting in the world due to the combination of sandy beach, warm water and extreme beauty. Trade winds blow year round and can range from 12-25 knots, averaging around 16 in the Summer.

Kite surfers launch from Kailua Beach Park, where there is grass for staging your kite and a sandy beach for the launch. Kailua Beach has a mild to moderate shore break that generally does not effect kiters but grows larger down wind on the beach where the wind also becomes more onshore. Rolling swells and waves break on the outer reefs and offer great jumping and wave riding for more experienced riders.

Of all the good reasons to visit Kailua, our beaches, protected waters, and scenic offshore Island bird sanctuaries are three of the best, and the best way to take advantage of them is to go kayaking in this aquiline water wonderland!

You can either rent kayaks or go on a Guided Kayak Tour. One and Two-Person Kayaks that are designed to be stable and easy to use, even for first timers, are available.

When you paddle to the scenic offshore Islands in Kailua Bay, you'll enjoy exploring the exotic coral formations inhabited by many varieties of tropical fish and the miles of perfect white sand beaches Kailua is famous for.

Once on the islands, you can explore the bird sanctuaries, tide pools, and beaches that visitors seldom see! So, if you want to experience a part of Hawaii that will give you wonderful memories and stories to share for a lifetime, try kayaking in Kailua Bay.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding / SUP
When you visit Kailua, if you're looking for a great way to enjoy our warm clear waters and perfect white sand beaches, Stand-up Paddle boarding might be for you!!

Otherwise known as SUP, Stand-up Paddle Boarding has really caught fire as a sport that anyone can enjoy and the perspective you have while standing up and paddling on these boards is truly unique and enjoyable. If you'd like to give this sport a try while you're in town, you'll find SUP rentals and lessons in our discounts and coupons section.

Surfing and Body Boarding
A popular spot for surfing and body boarding on Kailua Beach is at Kalama Beach Park. Located about halfway down the length of the bay, it has several sand-bottomed peaks great for novice surfers, body boarding and body surfing. Beginners will love the easy paddle out, sandy bottom and waves that rarely get bigger than shoulder-high.

Some things to consider, always check the shoreline for portuguese man-o-war, if these bluish floating jellyfish accumulate along the shore their stings will ruin your afternoon, also the parking lot closes shortly after sunset, and your car will be stuck inside so plan on going mid-afternoon.

On rare occasions when a big north swell coincides with Kona winds, other surf spots in Kailua Bay come to life. 150 yards off Kailua beach park is "Flat" island where a reef-bottomed left breaking surf spot is located. This spot is best for long boarding because of the long easy breaking waves over the shallow reef. When conditions are right you will have a great surf session without having to drive to town or the north shore. The paddle-out distance is worth the rewards of catching long rides.

On the north end of Kailua Bay where the Kawainui marsh drainage canal meets the ocean is a spot called Castles. This portion of the beach is probably more well-known for President Obama's vacation home, but surfing has been happening here for decades. This is another great spot for beginning surfers with reef, rock and sand bottom. The waves break softly and are best for long boarding.

Diving / Snorkeling
With one of the most beautiful beaches in the US, and islands right off our shore line, Kailua residents and visitors alike gravitate towards the water and water based activities.

Snorkeling and SCUBA diving are a fantastic way to discover the wonders of our underwater world, from green turtles and monk seals, to lava formations and incredible shipwrecks. More than 20% of Hawaii's underwater denizens are only found in Hawaii. Grab your mask, snorkel and fins and snorkel towards Flat Island or right off Lanikai beach.

If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, drop into Aaron's Dive Shop and join them for a daily SCUBA boat charters.

Hiking and Biking

A popular hiking destination is the Ka'iwa Ridge Trail hike up to the "pillboxes" overlooking Lanikai. It is a short and relatively easy hike. Even 4-year-olds have completed it quite easily. The entrance is across the street from Mid-Pacific Country Club. There are no signs, but most Kailuans can give you directions. The view when you get to the top is amazing and well worth the climb.The hike is about one mile and is open and dry. Allow one hour to complete.

Walk the length of Kailua Beach. You can start wherever you like, behind Kalapawai Market is a great place. Walk the entire length to touch the rock at the end before returning to Kalapawai Market. The roundtrip takes a good hour, but it is the most beautiful leisurely walk you can imagine. Many people schedule their walks around low tide so that the walk is easier.

Another fun hike is Maunawili Falls, located in the back of Maunawili Valley. It is a little longer and it is a good idea to bring mosquito repellent, but you are rewarded with a beautiful waterfall that makes it all worthwhile. This is a nice beginners trail with a rewarding waterfall and swimming hole at the final destination The hiking time is 1 -1 1/2 hours.

Mount Olomana is a hike that is more strenuous and for people with more hiking experience. It takes at least 2 hours to reach the top of the third peak and return. The views are incredible, overlooking the Windward coast from Kailua all the way to Makapuu. There are three peaks to climb; some parts require nerve-testing rock climbing. Ropes are laid out however to help in some of the dangerous areas. Be very careful if you attempt the hike to the third peak.

There is also the Kawainui Marsh Trail, which is paved and runs through the marsh. It is perfect for riding bikes as well as walking or jogging. It is about three miles long, paved, meandering through marshland with unobstructed views of the Ko'olau mountains. You will see many Hawaiian endangered birds in this Wetland Bird Habitat. The trail head is located at the end of Kaha Street off of Oneawa and is stroller friendly.

Na Pohaku o Hauwahine, otherwise known as the "rock formation of the Hawaiian Mo`o goddess and guardian of Kawai Nui Marsh", is located in the ahupua'a of Kailua. There, and at Ulupo Heiau, ongoing malama (stewardship) and educational programs are taking place.

DIRECTIONS: Park on the right side of Kapa'a Quarry Road, one mile from the Kapa'a Quarry Road and Kalanianaole Hwy intersection, before entering the Kapa`a Landfill Transfer Station.

You can read about these and other great outdoor destinations in our monthly column Outside With Susan. Go to the Kailua News Archive for access to past columns.

Kailua is a very bike friendly town. Biking is a great vehicle for exploration with our rolling hills and miles of bike paths. 12 miles outside of Waikiki, Kailua is home to some the most beautiful and photographed beaches in the world.

You can bike around Kailua town and visit our shopping districts with their unique boutiques and restaurants or cycle Lanikai or Kailua Beach Park, which are all within bicycling distance. Approximately three miles of bike paths are found along Kailua and Lanikai Beach as well as a marsh front levy-trail, offering great bird watching and wetlands.

For serious mountain bikers, Kailua is home to one of the most popular mountain bike trails in the state. Situated at the base of Koolau range, the Maunwaili bike trail offers 20 miles of beautiful trails through lush tropical rain forest and is considered one of the most beautiful trails on the island.


Shopping in Kailua is unique and enjoyable. You will find a multitude of one of a kind shops specializing in island treasures of all sorts and at all prices.

The entire downtown area of Kailua is small, so you won't wear yourself out visiting the shops, but you will want to wear comfortable shoes on this outing. If you are driving, you can park in the town center behind Macy's and easily reach all the stores and establishments.

It is easy to find whatever you are looking for in historic Kailua Town. For a complete listing of all that Kailua has to offer, along with some great coupons and discounts, visit our Kailua Coupons and Discounts section.
Kailua and Windward
events and activities

October 6th
I love Hula - Hula In Kailua 3 pm between Macy's and Pier 1

October 6th
Auto Source 25K Run - 5:30 am Break the monotony of running in town and join us in this beautiful 25k course set on scenic Windward side of the Island. This course is mostly flat with some rolling hills. The course starts conveniently at Kailua Beach Park (see map for details), loops through peaceful Lanikai and then heads back out along the beautiful roads of Kailua and onto the Kaneohe Marine Core Base where you will be challenged by 2 hills form miles 9-11 before heading home to the finish. The perfect race for those runners from the Windward side as well as everyone else looking to add some fun and variety to their running

Come join us for the third race of the Series, the Auto Source 25K at Kailua. Early entry price is $35 until 24 September, don’t miss out! For more info go to

October 12th
Cool Kailua Nights Block Party Kailua may be regarded as a world famous water-sports destination prized for its award-winning beaches. But what’s most remarkable about Kailua is its residents. With more than 10,000 attendees at the last event, no other Oahu town pulls together for a cause quite like Kailua does! Celebrate the best of Kailua’s food, fun and spirit at this October street festival and wellness fair. The October festivities include a variety of great food, exciting local entertainment, carnival rides, a dunking booth, giveaways & more!

October 25th
Kailua Town Halloween Treat Street Kailua Town will once again hold its annual Halloween Treat Street event on Saturday, October 25, 2008 from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Last year, 3,000 people attended this FREE community event which provides costumed revelers with a host of free activities including picking over 300 pumpkins from the mini-pumpkin patch, keiki crafts and games, face painting, balloon sculptures, live entertainment, food booths and a costume contest with thousands of dollars worth of prizes. The event will also feature a safe trick-or-treat costume parade throughout Kailua Town.

Every Sunday morning from 9:00am - 1:00pm
Kailua Town Farmers Market invites you to experience the variety of fresh and unique products offered by local farmers, growers, artisans, and food purveyors.

Kailua Elementary School, 315 Kuulei Road, Kailua, Hawaii

Every Wednesday afternoon from 2:30pm - 7:30pm
Farmer's Market at Windward Mall
Upper and lower level of the Macy's wing

Every Thursday morning from 9:00am - 10:00am
People's Open Market
Kailua District Park parking lot
21 South Kainalu Drive, Kailua HI 96734

People's Open Market is on Thursday mornings only.
It starts at 9 AM and ends promptly so go early and shop quickly.

Every Thursday afternoon from 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Farmer's Market
Pali Lanes Parking lot off of Hekili Street
120 Hekili Street Kailua, HI 96734

Every Thursday night from 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Kailua@night put on by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. Meet the farmers and food producers of Hawaii's diverse agricultural scene. Select from a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers. Plus amazing beef, aqua cultured seafood, baked goods, hand made pasta, local honey, and much more.

In the parking structure behind Longs and Whole Foods, 609 Kailua Rd, Kailua, Hawaii

Every Sunday afternoon from 1:00pm - 6:00pm
Farmer's Market
Pali Lanes Parking lot off of Hekili Street
120 Hekili Street Kailua, HI 96734

Every Sunday morning from 10:00am - 2:00pm
Farmer's Market at Windward Mall
Upper and lower level of the Macy's wing