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Surrounded by the towering volcano-formed mountains to the west and silky-soft white sandy beaches to the east, Kailua is known for its natural beauty. Cross though the Ko‘olau Mountain Range to the eastern shore of Oahu, and you will discover this tranquil community.
Kailua’s appeal includes not only its picturesque Hawaii landscapes but also its convenience and close-knit community. Kailua also has a variety of schools, shops and restaurants, including Whole Foods and Target, along with popular farmers’ markets and community events, such as the “I Love Kailua” neighborhood party. For those who work in Honolulu, the winding commute to “town” on the Pali Highway is only 12 miles. Kailua borders Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, making it a preferred relocation spot for military families. Kailua is loved by local families who call it home as well as celebrities and tourists who like to visit.
What kind of homes can you buy in Kailua? Kailua has a range of housing options, including newer homes, as well as older homes built in the 1950s and 1960s. There are single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses in Kailua's many neighborhoods. There are also executive homes on larger lots, as well as smaller, quainter homes. Kailua’s diverse housing options make it a neighborhood for all types of homebuyers – whether first-time homebuyers, expanding families, downsizing empty nesters, single professionals, military families and more. Read more about Kailua’s many neighborhoods and the housing each neighborhood offers here.
Kailua has a great location on Oahu, easily accessible to Honolulu yet far enough away to escape the big city bustle. It is 13 miles east of Honolulu through the Pali Tunnel and adjacent to Marine Corps Base Kaneohe. While Kailua was once was marsh lands, it was transformed in the 1950s and 1960s to become one of Oahu’s most well-known neighborhoods. Now, Kailua has many large single-family homes, as well as a few condominiums and townhomes. Kailua offers world-famous beaches and array of amenities, including its own movie theater and Whole Foods. Within the larger Kailua neighborhood, there are a number of smaller neighborhoods with different types of housing options. From newly built mansions in the lush tropical neighborhood of Maunawili to the old plantation-style homes of Keolu Hills, to the beachside oasis homes of Lanikai, Kailua offers many housing options.
Kailua has numerous retail and dining options, along with public and private school options. Kailua Town features more than 125 stores and restaurants, and a UFC Gym, along with a newly revamped shopping center. Kailua has its own movie theater, which offers reclining chairs and special movie night events. Are you a foodie? Kailua might be the neighborhood for you, as there are over 100 restaurants in this small community, ranging from upscale country club settings to popular Indian and vegan takeout options, and wine bars.
Despite the residential and commercial development in Kailua, surfing, hiking and golfing, along with other typical Hawaii outdoor activities can be found nearby. Kailua is also known to have some of the best beaches in Hawaii, which are popular with residents and tourists alike. Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach boast fine white sand and calm waters, which is great for kayaking, kitesurfing, windsurfing or simply swimming. The beauty of Kailua remains with the majestic Ko’olau Mountain Range and the glistening Pacific Ocean waters almost always in sight.
The neighborhood of Kailua offers a close-knit community as well as a wide range of activities. Living in Kailua means having a quintessential Hawaii beach lifestyle along with great shopping and eating options.
Kailua was once home to taro fields, then rice paddies and then cattle who roamed free in its marshy land. Today, Kailua is known for its world-class beaches and small-town vibe.
Kailua reaches downtown Honolulu via the Pali Highway, which tunnels through the Ko‘olau Mountain Range. Kailua is still far enough to “get away” from the urban core. The Pali Highway is the main road to Honolulu, or “Town,” as locals call Oahu’s main city, but there is also a scenic route that goes around Oahu’s east side through Waimanalo and Hawaii Kai via Kalanianaole Highway.
Kailua’s Windward Oahu location makes it accessible to Honolulu and all its attractions, but Kailua also has a range of attractions itself, including Target, Whole Foods, restaurants, parks and gyms. Without traffic, the trip to downtown Honolulu from Kailua might take around 22 minutes; however, traffic or an accident on the Pali Highway or the H-1 Freeway can double that time.
Living in Kailua is an option for military families, due to its location near many Oahu military bases. Kailua boarders Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, with an entry in Kailua. Kailua is also 18 miles (about 30 minutes) to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam via the H-3 Freeway, 17 miles (25 minutes) to Camp Smith and 11 miles (25 minutes) to Bellows Air Force Station. How far is Kailua from Waikiki? With minimal traffic, it takes 25 minutes to go to Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. TheBUS, Honolulu City & County’s public bus service, serves Kailua with routes 56, 57, 57A, 70, and 77. The average travel time to work is 30 minutes, according to the U.S. Census.
Kailua has convenient shopping centers that offer options for finding all your family’s needs. Shopping centers, a movie theater, Whole Foods, Target and more making living in Kailua easy and fun. Here are the main shopping centers:
Restaurants in Kailua include local, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Moroccan, Indian, Chinese, and eloquent golf course dining options at Mid-Pacific Country Club.
Kailua has some outstanding golf courses to enjoy.
Royal Hawaiian Golf Course. 770 Auloa Road. This is a reasonably priced, clean and lush course that offers kama‘aina (Hawaii residents) and military discounts. There is also a restaurant and event space.
Kailua parks offer athletic fields, a pool, areas for dogs and more.
Kailua has a few surf spots to enjoy Hawaii’s waves, many of which are more friendly for beginning surfers with swimming experience. Kailua is also a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
An active lifestyle is typical of most Kailua residents, with not only great beaches but also some of the most popular hikes on Oahu in the area.
The neighborhood’s name means “two seas” or “two currents” in Hawaiian, describing the two lagoons in the area – Kaelepulu and Kawinui – or the two currents that run through Kailua Bay. Hawaiians settled in Kailua as early as 500 A.D., enjoying the rich irrigated lands, 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 gave the lands of Kailua to chiefs and top Hawaiian warriors.
Kailua’s rich soil was then 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 to people who could meet certain qualifications, ending the ahupua’a system. 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 change again; at that 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, paving the way for the Kailua residences and businesses seen today. After the completion of the Pali Highway in 1961, even more people decided to call Kailua home, creating the close-knit community filled with an abundance of amenities that Kailua is now known for.
Take a swim in the beautiful white-sand Kailua beaches any time of the year – with optimal swimming months being from August through November, as the water temperature averages above 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Kailua is located on the Windward side of the island and is cooler and wetter than other areas of Oahu, such as Ewa and Hawaii Kai. Over the entire year, the temperature varies from 69 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit, with the coldest days of the year being at the beginning of January with an average low of 69 and high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It rains in Kailua typically from the end of October to April, with more than 15 percent of those rainy months’ days experiencing rain. The rainy season typically peaks in mid-January.
Kailua feels humid and muggy some months of the year and more comfortable and drier other months of the year. The more comfortable months with less humidity are from January to April. The most humid month is usually August. Kailua often experiences clear skies with minimal clouds and has some breezes flowing from the ocean. The windiest days of the year peak in July, with average hourly wind speeds hitting around 16 miles per hour. With many sunny days, solar panels and solar water heaters can definitely be an option for homeowners – along with surfing and sunbathing.
451 Ulumanu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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 freshmen. 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.
730 Iliaina Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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.
145 South Kainalu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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.
770 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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 research-based curriculum that inspires the love of learning. Students learn how to learn and engage in learning with others which leads 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.
530 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734 808-266-7811
“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.
1416 Keolu Drive
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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.
1465 Ulupii Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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.
281 Ilihau Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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.
315 Kuulei Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“Kailua Elementary is committed to improve 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.
165 Kaiholu Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“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.
1193 Mokapu Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
“Mokapu Elementary's academic and cocurricular 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 home school 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.
In addition to the public-school offerings, Kailua has a number of K-12 private schools available
917 Kalanianaole Highway
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
875 Auloa Road & 1110 Kailua Road
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
160 Mookua Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Kailua has a number of health centers nearby for health emergencies and routine care, including a full hospital with an emergency room.
Lanikai. Past Kailua Beach Park along the narrow North Kalaheo Avenue, you will find Lanikai. Known worldwide for its picturesque white sand beaches with calm turquoise waters, Lanikai Beach has been ranked as one of the world’s beach beaches more than once. There is a neighborhood park, as well as a bike lane, known as “da loop” to locals, and a popular walking path. Homes in Lanikai are some of the oldest in Kailua, and many have been remodeled with top architects as designers. Mic-Pacific Country Club, Lanikai Pillbox Hike, and the outrigger paddling Lanikai Canoe Club all have their homes in this quaint, idyllic beach enclave.
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Kuulei Tract. Between Kailua Beach Park and Kailua District Park is this quintessential Kailua neighborhood. When most locals think of Kailua, they will think of the look of this neighborhood. These single-family homes were built between the 1950s and 1970s, and many of the original homeowners or their families still occupy the residences. Most homes are single story and range from 1,900 to 2,500 square feet. The lots are larger at 10,000 to 14,000 square feet, offering space for gardening and beautiful Hawaiian landscaping. With the beach and intermediate school nearby, it is no wonder homes in this neighborhood sell for a high price with few days on the market.
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Beachside. Like the name implies, homes in this Kailua neighborhood are located next to the beach. All these homes are located on the small dead-end roads off Kalaheo Avenue. These roads dead end at beautiful, white sandy Kailua Beach. Homes in this neighborhood have an exceptional Kailua location, near stores, schools, a bike path and the beach. Homes are often large and on bigger lots, some which have views of the Mokulua Islands, commonly known as the Mokes. There are also some smaller beachside cottages as well. Homes tend to be well maintained and often sell for multi-million-dollar prices. This peaceful Kailua neighborhood is ideal for homebuyers looking to be right near the beach in a beautiful Hawaiian-style home.
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Aikahi Park. When the Pali Tunnel opened, these homes were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s. These single-family, ranch-style houses on 8,000 to 11,000 square-foot lots offer space for homeowners and families. Aikahi Elementary School is also in this neighborhood. Its location adjacent to Kaneohe Marine Corps Base and the H-3 Freeway, which offers a quick commute to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, makes Aikahi Park a convenient place for military families to call home.
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Kalaheo Hillside. Between Kapaa Quarry Road and Aikahi Shopping Center, Kalaheo Hillside offers a peaceful neighborhood, further away from Kailua Town. Some of these homes sit on the Oneawa Channel, and some sit near the top of the hill, offering expansive ocean views. Large lot sizes, between 8,000 and 12,000 square feet, provide space for entertaining, gardening or even home expansion. Most homes in this neighborhood were built in the 1970s. Prices in Kalaheo Hillside are average for Kailua.
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Coconut Grove. On the mountainside, or mauka, of Maluniu Avenue, this is one of the more affordable neighborhoods in Kailua. Its homes were built in the 1940s, among the first to be built in Kailua. The vintage, single-family homes are adjacent to Kawainui Regional Park, which has a marsh. There are also a few low-rise condominium buildings in Coconut Grove. Lot sizes range from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet.
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Kalama Tract. Next to Coconut Grove is Kalama Tract, which has larger homes than its neighbor. Lot sizes range from 9,000 to 12,000 square feet in Kalama Tract, and some homes may sell for almost twice as much as its neighbor. Many of these homes were built in Kailu's early years and some are newer, built in the 2000s. These homes are quintessential Kailua homes. Kalama Tract is a beloved Kailua neighborhood for its proximity to Kailua Beach – less than three blocks away from any home.
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Maunawili. A quiet, sleepy neighborhood on the outskirts of Kailua, Maunawili has single-family homes and a small cluster of townhomes. Located off the Pali Highway and against the Olomana section of the Koolau Mountains, this peaceful neighborhood offers lush landscapes filled with fruit trees and flowers. Maunawili is only a five-minute drive to Kailua Town, and within Maunawili there are a few schools, churches and even a horse stable. Maunawili has two famous hikes: Maunawili Falls and Olomana “Three Peaks” Trail. The Olomana Golf Course nearby. Lot sizes in Maunawili range from 10,000 square feet to more than 2 acres. Some homes in Maunawili were built in the 1970s, while others are completely new builds. Most homes are large, and offer tropical Hawaiian landscapes. People who live in Maunawili love the neighborhood for its tranquil surroundings and close-knit community feel.
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Kailua Bluffs. Heading towards Waimanalo on Kalanianaole Highway, is Kailua Bluffs. These homes are located at an elevated position, offering views of the Koolau Mountains, Kailua Town and even the bright blue ocean. Most of the homes in this neighborhood were built by a developer in the 1980s with a similar style: Two stories and a small yard. Lots range from 5,000 to 11,000 square feet, and some homeowners have taken advantage of the larger lot size by adding a pool. There is also a townhome community in Kailua Bluffs, Kaopa Park Place, which was built in the 1990s.
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Hillcrest. Between Kailua Bluff and Keolu Hills, Hillcrest homes are larger and with larger lots. These single-family, terraced homes sit on the hillside overlooking the mountains and ocean. Streets are steep in this neighborhood. Most houses in Hillcrest were custom built by their owners, with construction starting in the 1970s. Lots range from 7,000 to 12,000 square feet, and most homes are more than 2,500 square feet. Hillcrest homes offer breathtaking views of Kailua Bay and privacy.
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Keolu Hills. On the hills behind Lanikai, Keolu Hills is in the Enchanted Lakes section of Kailua. Cruise up Keolu Drive and you will notice the views of Mount Olomana, Kailua Town and the ocean below. Homes in this neighborhood were built in the 1960s, in a single-wall plantation style. However over the years, many homes have been remodeled or rebuilt, offering a wider variety of home styles. Lot sizes in Keolu Hills are smaller than some other Kailua neighborhoods, ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet. Schools, parks, and the Enchanted Lakes Shopping Center are only minutes away, making Keolu Hills a convenient neighborhood for almost all types of homebuyers.
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Kailua has a variety of neighborhoods offering various housing options for all types of buyers. Whether upsizing or downsizing, in the mountains or next to the Pacific Ocean, first-time homebuyers or investors – Kailua might be the right neighborhood for you. We recommend working with your Locations agent to find the right home for your individual situation.
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