Kailua is small residential town located 12 miles northeast of Honolulu on the Windward side of Oahu. Kailua Beach was ranked #1 beach in 1998 by coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, (also known as "Dr Beach) and then "retired" from subsequent consideration. It continues to be ranked among the best beaches worldwide. The water is turquoise blue; the sand is soft and white; and it is not very crowded (especially on weekdays). The light to medium waves make Kailua Beach a great place for boogie boarding. The steady trade winds make Kailua Beach one of the world's best windsurfing and kite boarding destinations. Check out Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks, Twogood Kayaks, or Aaron's Dive Shop, all local reliable companies.
Kailua beach is approximately 2 miles long. Unfortunately, between the oceanfront homes that allow their yards to creep towards the ocean and Mother Nature reclaiming the beach through erosion, it seems to be getting a little narrower each year. The beach concession stand has been closed, so pack a picnic lunch. Or better yet, stop off at nearby Kalapawai Market for snacks and a sandwich.
Kailua Beach Park
White sand and turquoise water
The Mokulua islands are great kayaking destinations
Lifeguard tower at Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach is great for sunrise walks
Another beautiful sunrise at Kailua Beach
Watch out for the Portuguese man of war!
Great place near the beach for sandwiches
Lots of great shops and eateries
Official Website: Kailua Chamber of Commerce
Kailua has a nice mix of casual restaurants and interesting shops. The tree-lined downtown area is quite small and is easily accessible by foot. Some of my favorite stores to shop for "Hawaii gifts" are "So Kailua", "Under a Hula Moon", "Kailua Beachwalk", and "Island Treasures". No need to give directions to any of these, just stroll around the downtown area and you'll come across them.
While you're here, take some time to stop and see the historical Ulupo Heiau located right next to the local YMCA. The heiau is one of the temples said to have been built by mythical menuhunes for the worship of the Hawaiian gods. Hundreds of years ago, rocks were carried from miles away and carefully placed here. The remains are 140 feet wide and about 30 feet high.
If you are staying on Oahu for more than a few days, Kailua is a great place to visit. I should know, I
live there... But don't just take my word for it, President Obama loves Kailua too!
Take a stroll around Kailua Beach Park using Google Street View
Position your mouse over the image below and click on the circles to navigate around the park. Can you find the boat ramp? Click on the upper right corner to view it in full-screen mode.
Kailua Beach Public Access Points
The City and County of Honolulu has designated public "Right-of-Way" areas all along the beaches on Oahu. Below is a map that shows Kailua beach public access points.
From Waikiki, take H1 to the Pali Highway (61). Take the Pali over to the Windward side of Oahu. The Pali Highway turns into Kalanianaole Highway which turns into Kailua Rd if you keep straight through the intersection with Kailua Rd. At the intersection of Kailua Road and Kuulei Road, turn right to stay on Kailua Road. At the second signal intersection, make a left turn to stay on Kailua Road. You'll see the beach park at the end of the road. There are several parking lots - all free.
I've also seen many tourists take "The Bus" to Kailua. At Ala Moana Center, transfer to 57 Kailua - Sea Life Park , 57A Kailua-Keolu Drive or 57 Kailua-Waimanalo and ride to Kailua town to the junction of Kailua Road before Wanaao Road. It is only a short walk to the beach park.
Video of Kailua