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It may take almost 30 minutes to drive to Downtown Honolulu, but Kailua is part of the Honolulu metro area. With a population of over 35,000 people, it is situated on Oahu’s Windward Coast and is home to some of the best beaches on the entire island of Oahu.

Kailua is the epitome of a Hawai’ian beach towns that has yet to be overtaken by developers trying to turn it into yet another resort area that happens to have some residents living here full time. The “cool” vibe coming from the town draws a certain group of people here to vacation, namely President Barack Obama, who brings his family here every year for the holidays, as well as other celebrities and wealthy Oahu residents. Yet even with the amount of wealth that is in Kailua, this town is probably one of the least pretentious places in all of Hawai’i.

Kailua Attractions

Kailua is filled with so many things to do. From the pristine beaches to the local area shops, it is very obvious this is an ideal place to call home.

Outdoors in Kailua

One of the main attractions to Kailua is Kailua Beach. Local residents and visitors are drawn to it because it is, without a doubt, the perfect Hawai’ian beach. It takes only a few minutes of standing on the beach watching the turquoise water sparkling with diamonds to see what all the fuss is about.

On top of the beauty, there is no better place for water sports than Kailua Beach. The constant onshore trade winds attract windsurfers; the calmer waters are ideal for kayakers and SUP boarders. It is simply dreamy to be here. Most of all, the best part is that when the urge comes to be at the beach, it is less than five minutes away from most anywhere in Kailua.

Just as picture perfect is Lanikai Beach, located just about a mile southeast of Kailua Beach. It is the perfect place for watersports as well and also offers a huge appeal for families because of the calm waters. The panoramic views of the water and the Mokulua Islands make for a spectacular backdrop.

In terms of outdoor activities, there are some great trails in and around Kailua. One specific trail is the Lanikai Pillboxes Trail (also called the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and the Ka’iwa Ridge Trail). This hike takes walkers and hikers up the ridge to look out over Lanikai Beach. It is considered an intermediate-level hike because the first part of the trail is the steepest and takes about an hour to get to the top.

At the top of the ridge, there are two concrete bunkers (pillboxes) built between the two World Wars. They were used as part of the area’s coast defense to track targets and report them. Now they are lookouts for those who climb to look at Mokulua Islands, Kailua and Lanikai Beach and Kailua.

The Mid Pacific Country Club is located in the prestigious Lanikai community of Kailua. It plays host to some of the most famous people in the world as well as PGA golf tournaments. As a private country club, members have accessibility to private dining, fitness, swimming and other venues. Surrounded by spectacular ocean and mountain views, it is ideal for the Kailua residents who want a more private, exclusive setting for their extracurricular outdoor activities.

Kailua Shopping

Kailua is filled with small locally-owned boutique-style shops that have a focus on locally made jewelry and other items that are unique to the area. One boutique, Kailua Verde, really stands out as it features a high-end consignment shop (think Chanel, Louis Vuitton) along with new, locally made items such as jewelry, Aloha clothing and more. Other shops including Philanthropy and Mahina also offer their own flair with niche shops that are loved by residents and tourists.

And, what else would anyone expect in a Hawai’ian town but a true Hawai’ian farmers market. The Kailua Farmers Market is open every Sunday from 8:30 until noon and features the area’s freshest fruits, vegetables and other island delicacies. There is nothing better than meandering the aisles at the market located in the parking lot at the Kailua Elementary School with a cup of hot coffee and no place to be. It is definitely a Sunday tradition for those who live here.

Kailua Real Estate

Kailua real estate features somewhat of a mix of single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes with a huge emphasis on single-family dwellings. The locals have a strong desire to maintain the local town feel of Kailua so there is a firm handle on keeping the low-rise look of this community.

Real estate prices typically start in the low to mid-$500s for a condominium or townhome in Hokulani in Kailua, Gardenia Manor, Windward Harbour and several other communities. Bluestone is a townhome community that sits along Mid Pacific Country Club and gives homeowners beautiful, long golf course views at list prices in the $900s. Buyers may even be able to find a smaller home in need of some updating at the $500K level. Ka Malani is a newer community with six buildings each having four floors. List prices fall between the low to mid-$800s and mid to upper-$900s.

On the other end of the spectrum, list prices can climb into the millions for properties in exclusive Kailua neighborhoods and closer to the shoreline such as Kawailoa Kailua, Lanikai, Kailua Estates and Kaimalino, just to name of few. With most of the single-family home neighborhoods, the starting list price is over $1 million and can easily top $20 million.

Relocating to Kailua

When looking at a map, it appears that Kailua is too far from Honolulu for those who work there. The truth is it is probably only about a 30-minute drive to Downtown Honolulu, Waikiki and even the Honolulu International Airport. For those who desire a more removed, laid-back community that is looked to as an escape, Kailua is the ideal spot.

Public schools in Kailua are among some of the top schools in the county. Depending on the area of Kailua, there are several elementary, middle and high schools from which to choose. Additionally, there are several private schools that offer excellent education for the children living in and around Kailua.

Kailua is a phenomenal place to live as it offers a lifestyle that people dream of having. As people have discovered this tropical paradise, there are small signs of it changing, but to live here is a dream to many and reality to the select few who can afford it.    

Kailua Real Estate Articles, News & Relocation Information
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