Kailua Neighborhood Guide

On the windward side of Oahu, lies the relaxed, close-knit community of Kailua. Surrounded by the breathtaking Ko‘olau Mountain Range to the west, and glistening waters with silky-soft sandy beaches to the east, Kailua is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities. Kailua also boasts a variety of shops, schools, and restaurants, including Target and Whole Foods, along with farmers’ markets and community events, like the annual “I Love Kailua” town party.


Many of the nearly 40,000 residents live, work, and play in Kailua. If you do work in Honolulu, the scenic commute to “town” on the Pali Highway is only twelve miles. Kailua borders Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, making it a favorite relocation spot for military families. Its tranquil, beach town vibe also makes it a desired home for local families as well as a relaxing destination for tourists and celebrities.

Interesting Facts

  • The annual springtime “I Love Kailua” Town Party is a fabulous pedestrian-friendly street party with tasty eats, shopping, live entertainment, and family fun.

  • Lanikai Beach is regularly ranked as one of the top beaches in the world. Its soft white sand, calm waters, and beautiful Mokalua Islands (the “Mokes”) have been featured in many publications, including Forbes, CNN, and National Geographic.
  • The marsh is a natural saltwater wetland that provides a habitat for many species of wildfire. Early Kailua inhabitants used to the marsh to farm, manage fishponds, and pray to gods. A walking and biking path wraps around its edge.

Transportation

Commute Time. The average travel time to work is 30 minutes, according to the U.S. Census from 2012-2016. With minimal traffic, it takes 25 minutes to go to Honolulu. 
Buses.
TheBUS serves Kailua with routes 56, 57, 57A, 70, and 77.

History

Kailua means “two seas” or “two currents” in Hawaiian, alluding to the two lagoons in the area – Kaelepulu and Kawinui – or the two currents which run through Kailua Bay. Hawaiians settled in Kailua as early as 500 A.D., communally enjoying the rich irrigated lands, the freshwater ponds, the cool windward breezes, and the plentiful food provided by pristine Kailua Bay. In 1795, King Kamehameha I fought his famous Battle of Nu‘uanu on the Pali cliffs to unite the Hawaiian Islands, after which he granted Kailua lands to warriors and chiefs. The rich soil was used to cultivate an abundance of agriculture – from taro to bananas to sweet potatoes. 

After the Great Mahele and Kuleana Act of 1850, lands were divided and distributed for sale and lease. Soon taro fields turned to rice paddies, and Chinese immigrant workers came to Kailua to work the land and establish businesses. Around the turn of the 20th century, the land would once again transform; this time the Castle family’s Kaneohe Ranch cattle grazed the windward side. The Castle family held an estimated 80 percent of the property in Kailua by the time World War II broke out. 

In 1942, Kaneohe Ranch closed, leading to the establishment of many of the Kailua residences and businesses seen today. And after the completion of the Pali Highway in 1961, even more people decided to call Kailua home, creating a close-knit community filled with an abundance of amenities.

Real Estate Statistics

Kailua Housing

Restaurants

Uahi Island Grill. 33 Aulike Street. With delicious dishes like the famous red curry fish, irie chicken, garlic ahi, and sweet potato haupia pie for dessert, Uahi Island Grill is a desirable destination for lunch or dinner.

The Beet Box Cafe. 46 Hoolai Street. Serving vegan-friendly fresh food in a cute café from morning to afternoon. Sandwiches, smoothies, acai bowls, baked goods, and more.

Paniolos Hawaii. 600 Kailua Road. A Mexican and Hawaii restaurant inside the Kailua Shopping Place serving quick made-to-order dishes for eat-in or take-out.

Over Easy. 418 Kuulei Road. A breakfast and brunch place serving photo-worthy French toast, pancakes, egg dishes and more.

Yamas Mediterranean Cuisine. 1020 Keolu Drive. A cute restaurant to satisfy a Greek or Mediterranean food fix. They have baklava, pitas, soups, salads, and more.

The Lovin Oven. 418 Kuulei Road. A vegan-friendly pizza place with a variety of Italian dishes, including tiramisu.

Rai Rai Ramen. 124 Oneawa Street. A cute and clean ramen place serving arguably some of the best ramen on Oahu. The excellent service only accepts cash.

Saigon Noodle House. 1020 Keolu Drive, Ste C1. Sip. Divulge in delicious Vietnamese food – pho, garlic shrimp, spring rolls and more! 

Willow Tree Korean Restaurant. 25 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Ste 104. A popular Korean family-owned restaurant serving all the famous fares. Enjoy the plethora of free sides before the meal.

Casablanca. 19 Hoolai Street. Sit down on a floor cushion to enjoy a unique Moroccan dining experience. With mint tea and main courses ranging from Cornish hen to rack of lamb, this dinner will surely delight. 

Shopping and Entertainment



Kailua Town Center. 609 Kailua Road. A recently revitalized shopping center with vibrant energy and a lot to do. Shop at Whole Foods Market, Longs Drugs, Pier One, or one of the many boutique shops. Enjoy the many eateries, like California Pizza Kitchen, Nalo, Miyoshi Ramen, Cold Stone Creamery, and more. Or simply walk around in the pedestrian and pet-friendly area.

Aikahi Park Shopping Center. 25 Kaneohe Bay Drive. A shopping center with a Safeway, a gas station, banks, many restaurants, and ample parking.

Enchanted Lake Shopping Center. 1020 Keolu Drive. A busy neighborhood strip mall that is a treasure trove of reasonably-priced eateries. There is also a craft store, bakery, pet store, and church.

Kailua Cinemas. 1090 Keolu Drive, Ste 114. Located behind the Safeway in the Enchanted Lake Shopping Center, this newly renovated cozy theater has relaxing leather seats.

Golfing

Royal Hawaiian Golf Course. 770 Auloa Road. A reasonably priced clean and lush course that offers kama‘aina and military discounts. There is also a restaurant and great event space.

Mid-Pacific Country Club. 266 Kaelepulu Drive. A private club that offers a beautiful course, pro shop, driving range, delicious restaurant, pristine pool, workout equipment, and more. The clubhouse also serves as a beautiful event venue.

Parks

Kailua Beach Park. 526 Kawailoa Road. Soft white sand, calm waters, and a shallow bottom – a perfect place for relaxation. This is also a popular wind and kite surfing spot. The park has clean restroom facilities, parking, big shade trees and more, attracting both residents and tourists.

Kailua District Park. 21 South Kainalu Drive. Nestled in the heart of Kailua, this park has a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, a soccer field, a gymnasium, well-kept restrooms, and plenty of parking.

Kalama Beach Park. 248 North Kalaheo Avenue. Enjoy the world-class fine sand beach with your family, including your dog. There are restroom and shower facilities.

Kawainui Neighborhood Park. 873 Kihapai Street. This park’s lush landscape showcases the Kawainui Marsh. A three-mile trail that is great for running or biking rewards exercisers with beautiful views of the marsh and mountains.

Maunawili Neighborhood Park. 1489 Ulupii Street. A quiet and clean park with a lot of greenery and areas for the keiki and dogs to play. The park also offers picnic tables, restroom facilities, two tennis courts, a basketball court, and a large play field for soccer, baseball, softball, or volleyball.

Hiking

Lanikai Pillboxes Hike. 382-498 Kaelepulu Drive. A popular hike with a steep, sometimes slippery start that rewards hikers with spectacular views of Kailua Bay. The hike is named after the World War II bunkers or pillboxes scattered atop the mountain.

Maunawili Falls. At the intersection of Maunawili Road and Kelewina Street. A shorter, shaded, often muddy hike that ends with a beautiful waterfall.

Olomana Hike. 770 Auloa Road. Rumored as one of the most difficult hikes on the island, the narrow ridge trail transgresses three hike peaks. This is an all-day hike for advanced hikers who are not afraid of heights.

Surfing

Popoi‘a Island. Park at Kailua Beach Park. A right and left reef break that holds well on a big northeast swell. This spot has fun enjoyed by both locals and tourists and all sorts of surfers – short boarders, longboarders, paddleboarders, and even kayakers.

Dune Circle. Park at Kalama Beach Park. A fun beach-break also known as kalama, these small waves are enjoyed by a lot of the local kids.

Biking

Hawaii Department of Transportation Bike Map Oahu
Oahu Bicycling League Bike Map

People

Kailua People

Schools 

Kailua High (Public)
451 Ulumanu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734 
808-266-7900
https://www.kailuahighschool.c...
 

“Kailua High encourages college and career readiness with career pathways in Arts & Communications, Health Services, Industrial Engineering Technology, Natural Resources and Public and Human Services. The school also offers Advancement Via Individual Determination as an elective course for each grade level, and unique learning experiences in Hawaiian Language, Global Studies and Polynesian Music and Dance. Ethnic Studies is a required course for all incoming freshman. To provide students an opportunity to experience the rigor of college courses, it provides seven Advanced Placement courses. All faculty and administrators mentor students through a weekly Personal Transition Plan/Leadership course to help students plan for post-high school pursuits and assist them in tracking their own progress toward attaining personal and academic goals. Kailua High has various co-curricular activities such as an award-winning Air Force JROTC, Marching Band and an extensive athletic program that fields teams in 19 different sports,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kalaheo High (Public)
730 Iliaina Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-254-7900
https://www.kalaheohigh.org/
 

“Kalaheo High's vision is to promote a community of learners where students prepare for the challenges and opportunities in a diverse and global society. It aims to prepare students for higher education, future employment and responsible citizenship. The curriculum offers a wide range of courses, including high-level language arts, mathematics, social studies and sciences through its Honors and Advanced Placement courses. The school has an award-winning Naval JROTC, and strong career and technical education pathways, including health services, arts and communication academy, public human services, industrial and engineering technology. In support of science, technology, engineering, math, robotics is offered as a regular credit course,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kailua Intermediate (Public)
145 South Kainalu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-263-1500
https://www.kis.k12.hi.us/
 

“Kailua Intermediate focuses on mentoring, service learning, goal setting and early college awareness. The school has teaching and learning teams and offers a respected Honors Program and Special Education Inclusion Program to meet students' diverse needs. Students have access to seven computer labs, three of which are mobile, allowing them to complete research and present findings using various forms of technology. Classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards and LCD projectors to enhance instruction. Kailua Intermediate has strong partnerships with a host of organizations such as Kaneohe Marine Corps Base-Hawaii CSSG-3, Joint Ventures for Education Forum, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Windward Community College, Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, Brigham Young University, Boys and Girls Club Hawaii and The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Enchanted Lake Elementary (Public)
770 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-266-7800
https://enchantedlake.wixsite....
 

“ELES is a learning community that recognizes and values the uniqueness of each student. Success for students is dependent upon the collaborative work among administration, faculty, staff, parents, and students, along with the support of the community. ELES provides a safe, caring, environment in which students explore their full potential and engage in meaningful learning experiences. At our school, the faculty and staff are committed to the success of every student. High expectations are communicated to students and parents. Teachers and parents are recognized as partners in a working relationship to ensure student learning. ELES faculty designs a research-based curriculum that inspires the love of learning. Students learn how to learn and engage in learning with others which lead to them developing into productive, responsible citizens. Every teacher, parent, and student has a clear understanding of the curriculum goals and grade level essential knowledge and skills based on the Hawaii State Standards and General Learner Outcomes. The school staff works together to better meet the needs of the students. Each student's learning is monitored on a timely basis. Data is analyzed in order to improve instructional strategies and promote student learning. Through interventions and enrichment, additional time and support are provided to address individual needs. Teachers communicate student progress frequently to parents to ensure that they work collectively toward promoting student achievement,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kaelepulu Elementary (Public)
530 Keolu Drive|
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-266-7811
http://www.kaelepululadybugs.k...
 

“At Kaelepulu Elementary, all school community members play a critical role in helping students achieve. The school continues to develop and implement a balanced literacy program that integrates various modalities of literacy instruction. The math program comprises real-life applications, while an inquiry-based science program that includes explorations in the school garden is being developed. Special programs include a daily morning broadcast, Kokua Crew (grade 6 community service) and an afterschool Japanese Language program. Participation in community service projects is encouraged at all grade levels. The Junior Police Officers and Student Council programs provide meaningful leadership opportunities for our students. Kaelepulu Elementary values strong partnerships with the Parent Teacher Student Association, the Parent Community Network Coordinator, School Community Council, Kaneohe Marines 3rd Radio Battalion and the Pali Lions Club,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Keolu Elementary (Public)
1416 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-266-7818
https://www.keoluelementary.co...
 

“Keolu Elementary provides supports and interventions for students to help them build a solid reading and math foundation. Book Clubs have become a hallmark of the school’s reading intervention program, providing targeted assistance for all readers. Data has shown the school's investment in professional development has helped close achievement gaps. Keolu Elementary engages the community in school initiatives and has an active School Community Council that helps review its academic and financial plan,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Maunawili Elementary (Public)
1465 Ulupii Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734 
808-266-7822
https://www.maunawili.k12.hi.u...
 

“Maunawili Elementary's staff, parents and community are committed to the highest quality of education for students. The school is known for creative and innovative projects and activities such as an annual Curriculum Fair. Students are also active in-service learning groups such as Student Council, Library Club, Conservation Club, Helping Hands Club, Technologically Empowered Kids and Junior Police Officers. Maunawili values community involvement and has developed partnerships with several organizations to support student achievement,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Aikahi Elementary (Public)
281 Ilihau Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-254-7962
http://www.aikahielementary.co...
 

“Aikahi Elementary's standards-based academic programs occur in a supportive and caring learning environment for all students. Application of the Positive Behavior Support approach to good citizenship helps students develop and reinforce values of respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for actions. The school offers a variety of programs that address the unique needs of students,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kailua Elementary (Public)
315 Kuulei Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-266-7878
https://kailuaes.wixsite.com/w...
 

“Kailua Elementary is committed to improving academic achievement through rigorous, engaging instruction and a focus on PRIDE: Positive Attitude, Respect and Responsibility, Integrity, Discipline and Excellence. The school provides additional services for students with special needs, such as special education, English language learners, a Primary School Adjustment Project and counseling. The school has been able to contract an artist who provides art lessons to all classes, and students participate in service learning through school clubs such as recycling, recess, pathfinders, poster-making and video, in addition to opportunities to serve on a Junior Police Officer squad, Flag/Mail squad and student government. All students at Kailua participate in an Academy. Teachers are assigned a group of twelve students in an area of interest such as sports, nutrition, music, fine arts, and foreign language. A Parent Community Networking Center acts as a liaison for the school, parents and community. The School Community Council includes administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members who review and evaluate an academic and financial plan,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kainalu Elementary (Public)
165 Kaiholu Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-266-7835
https://www.kainalu.org/

“Kainalu Elementary's vision focuses on the involvement of all role groups in 1) creating an environment where everyone has a love of learning; 2) promoting high expectations; and 3) creating an atmosphere that respects individuality, fosters cooperation and provides challenges and opportunities for success. Students are taught to be self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers and problem solvers, quality producers and effective communicators through reading, writing, speaking and use of technology. The school principal schedules walkthroughs, monthly articulation meetings with grade levels and quarterly meetings with teachers. The Parent Community Network Center helps engage parents and military partners from the Marine Base,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Mokapu Elementary (Public)
1193 Mokapu Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
808-254-7964
http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ParentsAndStudents/EnrollingInSchool/SchoolFinder/Pages/Mokapu-Elementary.aspx

“Mokapu Elementary's academic and co-curricular programs include: Gifted and Talented, Special Education, Physical Education, Computer Technology, English Language Learners, Student Council, Supplementary Reading, Speech, and blocks for Math Interventions. The school’s large support staff includes three counselors, a school behavioral health specialist, two Parent Community Network Coordinators and a Transition Center to assist with student and family transition needs. As the homeschool to all families residing on the Marine Base, Mokapu Elementary is pleased to collaborate with Base Family Support and medical programs through Tripler AMC for students with specialized medical needs. The school's Comprehensive Student Support System ensures all student needs are met in a timely and professional manner. Mokapu Elementary provides standards-based academic programs while its discipline program supports appropriate student behavior, teacher and student goal setting, student self-motivation and social skills. Educators received professional development geared toward rigorous instruction that leads to student engagement,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Hospitals and Health Centers

Adventist Health Castle
640 Ulukahiki St, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 24 hours
808-263-5500

Kaiser Permanente Kailua Clinic
201 Hamakua Dr. Bldg. B, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
808-432-2000

Hawaii Emergency Physicians
407 Uluniu St # 4, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday
808-261-3326

Minute Clinic
609 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734, Located in Longs Drugs
Open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
808-261-9794

Urgent Care Hawaii
660 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
808-263-2273

Braun Urgent Care Kailua
130 Kailua Rd # 111, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Everyday
808-261-4411

Emergency Hurricane Shelters

The following hurricane evacuation shelters are provided by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management to offer some protection from high winds, flying debris, storm surges, and flooding. If possible, the Department of Emergency Management recommends the public to “Shelter-in-Place.” Note that more information about shelters will be broadcast over local media and official social media sites during an emergency. Also, you should bring a three-day supply of food, water, clothing, medication, personal hygiene items, and a mat or cot for sleeping, since the shelters are not stocked with supplies. 

Kailua High 
451 Ulumanu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734 

Kalaheo High 
730 Iliaina Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Kailua Intermediate 
145 South Kainalu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Enchanted Lake Elementary 
770 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Kailua Elementary 
315 Kuulei Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Kainalu Elementary 
165 Kaiholu Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Keolu Elementary 
1416 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

Lanikai Elementary 
140 Alala Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734

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