Things to Do in Kailua

Things to Do in Kailua

On the smaller, pristine Hawaiian island of Oahu is the charming census-designated place known as Kailua. It is home to the lovely Kailua Beach, a haven for enjoying beachside recreation and observing wildlife, in addition to numerous other great beaches, parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and so much more. You can enjoy a robust experience of the laid-back Hawaii lifestyle without leaving this small town. Here are a few activities to get your exploration of Kailua started.

Outdoor recreation in Kailua

Relaxing by the beach

Head to one of Kailua’s several lovely beaches to relax in the bright, sun-kissed sand lapped by waves of shining, crystalline water in Kailua Bay. Choose from Kalama Beach Park, Kailua Beach, Lanikai Beach, or others for different views of the radiant coastline. Pristine clear water washes over white sand, slowly fading into a bright blue as you wade farther out. Just a little inland, the sand gives way to lush vegetation, from the low grasses to the towering ironwood and palm trees. These lovely beaches are the fountainhead of many of the best things to do in Kailua, offering much more than a relaxing place to catch a tan.

Surfing and bodysurfing

Surfing is a beloved Hawaiian pastime and a long-standing part of the local culture. Kailua’s beaches have a variety of waves for surfers. Bodysurfing is also popular, as is kitesurfing whenever the trade winds procure the appropriate weather.

Canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding

Those looking to get out on the waves in a slightly more relaxed way than surfing can enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding in and around Kailua. You can easily rent a small boat or bring your own. For the perfect adventure, paddle out to the Mokulua Islands just offshore of Lanikai Beach. Be sure to be prepared with water, snacks, and life vests.

Observing local wildlife

The Hawaiian islands are unique among the diverse ecosystems found within the 50 states. You can see all sorts of plants and animals here that you won’t see anywhere in the continental U.S. Immediately to the west of Kailua is the Kawainui Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, home to many different species of birds and other animals. However, you’re bound to find exciting places to explore nature and see wildlife anywhere in and around Kailua.

Historical hiking

It’s not everywhere that you can enjoy a sublime beach experience and a fun hiking trip on the same day, but in Kailua, you can find both within a short distance. Lanikai Pillbox Hike is an area to enjoy the verdancy of Hawaiia’s lush volcanic forests, along with some fascinating relics of World War II. The “pillboxes” of Lanikai are WWII-era military bunkers. They make for some novel scenery, but what’s really impressive are the phenomenal views of the beaches when you’re looking out from one of these pillboxes.


There are several great golf courses throughout the island of Oahu, all quickly and easily accessible from Kailua. Enjoy a time-honored pastime in this pristine Pacific island's unique scenery and atmosphere.


Kailua is a fairly walkable area, and it’s great for biking, too. With smooth roads and trails generally free from excessive traffic, biking is a great way to get around as you find fun things to do in Kailua. The Kawainui Bike Trail runs along the western border to Kailua. It’s a great spot for running, jogging, and walking, as well as biking, and it’s also dog-friendly.

Other family-friendly things to do in Kailua

Dining out

Excellent restaurants are a staple feature of any high-end area. What makes Kailua and other great parts of Hawaii stand out, in particular, is the use of local ingredients and traditional cuisine. Given Hawaii’s remote location and compact size, many goods consumed here must be shipped from other areas, including the U.S. mainland. However, the island's bountiful, nutritious volcanic soils are great for growing a variety of crops, and you can find a selection of local goods that is unlike anywhere else in the U.S.

You can find a variety of restaurants in and around Kailua, serving everything from traditional Hawaiian cuisine to everyday comfort foods spiced up with local ingredients. Some restaurants even have their own gardens. Local seafood is also abundant here, whether you want to stick with popular ocean fish or dive into shellfish, shrimp, and other delicacies of the deep. If seafood isn’t your thing, you’ll find a variety of alternatives. Whatever you choose, get ready to enjoy fresh pineapple, papaya, and other scrumptious local produce with your meal.


With so much great nature to enjoy, few people first think of retail shopping when envisioning a day in Kailua. However, this area has many great surf shops, gift shops, boutiques, and other retail outlets. You can also find all of your day-to-day essentials and groceries locally. Here’s a directory to get you started.

Nightlife in Kailua

Enjoy a night out in Kailua at one of the area's many bars, pubs, taverns, clubs, or restaurants. Kailua is the perfect place to enjoy a family-friendly island lifestyle by day and then get out for music, drinks, and dancing by night.

Buying your dream home in Kailua

Vacationing in Kailua is so lavish that it may be hard to imagine anyone living here. However, Honolulu County has a very active real estate market for residential buyers and investors. Whether you’re looking for a vacation home or for your primary residence, buying a home in Kailua is an attainable goal and an excellent long-term investment.

The right local realtor can help you find your footing in the Kailua real estate market, even if you’ve never visited Hawaii. Scott Steiner is an experienced local agent with a passion for this area. Contact Scott Steiner to get the inside scoop on Kailua and other great communities in Hawaii.


Being born and raised in Kailua, a Punahou Alumni, and seventh generation Kama’aina, he has a unique perspective on the value of Real Estate here on Oahu. His personal insight to Oahu’s unique market is unmatched. Contact him today so he can guide you through the buying and selling process.

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