Kailua/Lanikai

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Kailua offers the ultimate Hawaii experience. Once a sleepy beach town, Kailua now bustles with activity. Residents and visitors alike wake with the sun and begin their active days. Yoga on Lanikai beach, strolls on Kailua beach, or hiking the famous “Pillboxes” hike to watch the sun rise between the Mokuluas, the two islands just offshore, all offer a serene and beautiful start to any day. Kailua town hosts many tasty restaurants and boutique shops, all within its small town center. Breakfast favorites such as Boots and Kimo’s, Crepes No Ka Oi, Cinnamon’s, and Moke’s draw locals from all over the island. Kailua also boasts delicious dinner spots, such as The Food Company, Kalapawai Café, and Assagio’s.

For the typical sunny and perfect beach day, Kailua beach, a 2.5 mile stretch of white sand and clear blue water, is less crowded than the North Shore or Waikiki beaches and an ideal place to spend the day. With gentle waves to play in, wind surfing, kite boarding, boogie boarding, surfing, kayaking, body surfing and stand up paddleboarding all are common activities. More crowded than Kailua beach, Lanikai beach is just down the road from Kailua and has been voted the most beautiful beach in America. Located in a small neighborhood with still warm waters, a picturesque view of the Mokuluas and soft white sand, beach lovers from all over the island and the world flock to the small, but breathtaking, beach. A Lanikai must-do is to kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or even snorkle out to the Mokulua islands. Although most famous for its beaches and small town feel, if hiking is your thing, Kailua has several different hikes to choose from.

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For a rainy day, Kailua’s boutiques are a great way to fill an afternoon. Clothing, jewelry, and home décor shops are widely available, all with a local flair. Despite its small town feel, Kailua is a quick drive over the Pali highway to Honolulu if you so desire, but many residents prefer not to leave—Kailua has all that they need! Whole Foods, Target, a weekly farmer’s market, and many smaller stores provide Kailua with all that is necessary.

Kailua’s beachfront real estate is often in the multi-millions of dollars, with more affordable homes located in areas further from the beaches such as Enchanted Lakes, Kalaheo Hillside, and Keolu Hills. A fixer-upper with in walking distance of the beach can often be around $1 million, while gorgeous beachfront homes can run up to $20 million. Further from the beaches, more modest homes range from $700,000-$1 million. There are also a handful of condos for a more affordable home.

With a few respected local public schools, such as Lanikai Elementary, there is also one of the top private schools of Oahu, Le Jardin, located conveniently in Kailua. Kailua is a relaxing home to locals and visitors alike. The beaches, streets, and trails always bustle with happy, relaxed, active people. Those who live in or have visited Kailua know that it is something special—it is more than just a place to live, Kailua is a way of being.