Living in Kailua, O‘ahu is no ka ‘oi — the best. Kailua offers a fantastic lifestyle and it’s just a 30-minute commute from downtown Honolulu. Kailua is one of the best places on O‘ahu, and in all of Hawaii, to enjoy your living your Hawaii Life! Here are our top 5 reasons we love living in Kailua, on the beautiful island of O‘ahu.
#5 – Kailua’s Local Food & Drink
For the foodies out there, Kailua has some great places to eat, and we’re not talking about just restaurants. Drive down the street in Kailua, depending upon the season, and you might see signs for “Fresh Ahi” or “Mango Salsa” in your neighborhood. Delicious! We even have several food trucks in Kailua that are requently parked along Hamakua Road and on the north side of Kailua Road, where you can get food truck tacos, and other delicious grindz.
Restaurants also have become much more abundant in Kailua over the last several years, despite even the pandemic. There are still the great old standbys, like Buzz’s Steak House Lanikai at Kailua Beach Kalapawai Cafe, and yummy Italian at Baci Bistro. There are also restaurants at A&B’s Lau Hala Shops. Famed Hawaii Chef Roy Yamaguchi has a restaurant called Goen that serves up some really creative dishes, and it’s right around the corner from Maui Brewing Company. Newer favorites include 22 Kailua for omakase sushi, and The Gaslamp and The Boardroom for craft cocktails.
Speaking of beer, craft beer has also become very popular in Kailua. Lankai Brewing Company has a tasting room, and there are specialty beer tasting rooms such as Grace in Growlers and Three Peaks Island Craft Beer that cater to beer connoisseurs.
Kailua plays host to several weekly Farmer’s Markets with lovely local produce, flowers, and plants, and some incredible prepared foods you can eat on-site. Bring your appetite! My favorites are Andy’s Bueno Salsa and Pacifikool Hawaiian Ginger Syrup. Local vendors, including some great Honolulu restaurants like The Pig & The Lady serve up dinner plates, too.
Whole Foods, Down to Earth, Safeway, Foodland, and Times Market provide Kailua residents with plenty of grocery store options, all close together and really convenient to almost any home in Kailua. You’ll also find specialty market in Kailua like R. Field, The Hibachi, Tamura’s Fine Wine, and Island Olive Oil.
#4 Best Recreational Activities on Oahu
Kailua, O‘ahu is well-known for its easygoing lifestyle. Beachgoers will love living near two of the best beaches in the world — Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach. Kailua Beach has over three miles of white sand edging the calm turquoise waters of Kailua Bay. Lanikai Beach is known also for its beauty and the iconic twins, the Mokulua Islands, which are located just offshore.
Watersports abound in this stunning area. Whether your passion is for fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing, SUP, or swimming — you’ll find it in Kailua. Several outrigger canoe paddling clubs are based in Kailua for those with a competitive spirit who love team sports.
Kailua has a few popular hikes that are favorites for local residents. There’s the short, but spectacular Pillbox Hike, which starts right in Lanikai, with the trailhead across the street from the Mid-Pacific Country Club. Views from the top of this hike are world famous. The Maunawili Falls hike in the Maunawili residential neighborhood is beautiful too, and it rewards hikers with a lovely waterfall and swimming hole. Mount Olomana trails provide amazing scenery for more experienced hikers.
Golfers will love Kailua for it’s proximity to (at least) five beautiful golf courses within an area of only a few miles. The Pali Golf Course is public. There are also private courses. Kailua also has the Kailua District Park with a pool, basketball, and tennis courts. The private Kailua Racquet Club facility is just down to the road and a favorite destination for racquet sports enthusiasts.
Roadside bicycle paths and lanes in Kailua cater to recreational and commuter riders. With such temperate weather, getting outdoors year-round is one of the highlights of the Kailua lifestyle.
#3 – Kailua’s Sense of Community
One fun place to get a feel for Kailua’s great sense of community is the Thursday Kailua Farmers’ Market (mentioned above). At the Farmers’ Market, right in the Long’s Drugs parking structure, you will see people of all ages, buying fresh local items, talking story, picking up delicious dinner plates, and listening to live music. There’s also a Sunday Kailua Town Farmer’s Market next to the Whole Foods Market parking lot.
There are many weekly and monthly community events in Kailua. A favorite musical series is the Lanikapila. Annual Events in Kailua include the Kailua 4th of July Fireworks and Parade, which draws residents from all over O‘ahu, as well as tourists, and the I Love Kailua Town Party, which is a gathering of artisans, food vendors, and entertainers in April of each year. Proceeds from the Kailua Town Party benefit the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle. The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Castle Hospital is also a fun family tradition.
Kailua’s sense of community stems from its neighborliness. In Kailua, It’s easy to get to know your neighbors. In addition to all the fun, generally, people care for and watch out for one another. People here are friendly and there is a sincere spirit of aloha.
#2 Kailua’s Location on O‘ahu
There’s no better spot on the island than Kailua, in terms of both proximity to downtown and weather. Kailua is close enough to make daily trips to Honolulu for work or school, but you can avoid the crowds, tourists and heavy traffic.
Kaneohe and its bustling business district is just next door. Want some country? It’s a few miles to Waimanalo or an hour to the North Shore. You have three scenic freeway options to get across the Ko‘olau Mountains and into “town” (as Windward residents refer to Honolulu). Zip across the H-3, Pali or Likelike Highways for work or pleasure. Or, you can go opt for the scenic, oceanfront drive in either direction to reach Honolulu or the North Shore.
Located in Windward O‘ahu, Kailua has the best weather on the island. The annual average high temperature is 81.8 degrees and the annual average low temperature is 71.4 degrees. Kailua enjoys beautiful, cooling tradewinds from the East/NE. In Kailua, there’s just enough rain and plenty of sunshine to keep things green and lush. It doesn’t get better than this!
#1 Best Real Estate Environment on O‘ahu
Real estate here is expensive, but it provides more value than other parts of the island. Here’s why. Historically, Kailua homes have held their value better than in many other areas of the island. Being near Oahu’s best beaches and beautiful Ko‘olau Mountains, yet close to the financial center of Honolulu, makes real estate in Kailua very desirable.
Kailua real estate is in high demand and the market can be highly competitive. However, that can also be good for homeowners. Sales and rental demand are also generated by the proximity to Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base between Kailua and Kaneohe, and Camp Smith, which is easily accessible via H-3. Many military buyers find their homes in Kailua.
Land lots in Kailua tend to be a bit larger than in most areas of Honolulu and in Leeward O‘ahu. There is a feeling of space here, and a more relaxed vibe. There’s a broad choice of housing types and styles in Kailua, at various price ranges. You can choose from townhomes, high-rise condos, single-family ranch homes, mid-century bungalows, plantation-style post-and-pier homes, beachfront homes, golf course frontage homes, stream or lakefront homes, view homes, acreage properties, or low-rise condos. There are even a few mega-mansions along the beach, if that’s your style. Kailua has it all and it’s simply a great place to live.