Living in Kailua, Oahu is “no ka ‘oi” – the best. Certainly, it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Having lived in some pretty great places, such as San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, and even on Maui, I think this is saying a lot.
Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach are just two of the reasons I love living in Kailua, (c) Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn.
What Makes Living in Kailua, Oahu Great?
Here are my top 5 things I love about living in Kailua, Oahu:
#5 – Kailua’s Local Food & Drink
For the foodies out there, Kailua has some great places to eat, and I’m not talking about just restaurants. Drive down the street in Kailua, depending upon the season, and you might see signs for “Fresh Ahi” or “Mango Salsa” in your neighborhood. Delicious! We even have several food trucks in Kailua now, frequently parked along Hamakua Road and on the north side of Kailua Road, where you can get food truck tacos and more.
Fresh fish for sale roadside in Kailua (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
Restaurants also have become much more abundant in Kailua over the last several years. There are still the great old stand-bys, like Buzz’s Steak House Lanikai at Kailua Beach and yummy Italian at Baci Bistro. But there are also all the new restaurants going in at A&B’s new Lau Hala Shops. Roy Yamaguchi will have a new place there, along with the Maui Brewing Company.
Buzz’s Steakhouse at Kailua Beach, (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
Speaking of beer, craft beer has also become very popular in Kailua. Lankai Brewing Company has a tasting room, and there are specialty beer tasting rooms such as Grace in Growlers and Three Peaks Island Craft Beer that cater to beer connoisseurs.
I also can’t forget to mention that there are several weekly Farmer’s Markets in Kailua with lovely local produce, flowers, and plants. They also serve prepared items. My favorites are Andy’s Bueno Salsa and Pacifikool Hawaiian Ginger Syrup. Local vendors, including some great Honolulu restaurants, like The Pig & The Lady serve up dinner plates too.
Fresh produce at the Thursday Night Kailua Farmer’s Market (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
Whole Foods, Down to Earth, Safeway, Foodland, and Times Market, provide the usual sources of groceries, and there are also specialty markets, in Kailua, such as R. Field, The Hibachi, Tamura’s Fine Wine, and now, an Island Olive Oil store.
Whole Foods Market in Kailua (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
#4 Best Recreational Activities on Oahu are in Kailua
This is obvious, but Kailua, Oahu is well-known for its recreational activities, in particular, having two of the best beaches in the world: Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach. Kailua Beach has over 3 miles of white sand edging the calm turquoise waters of Kailua Bay. Lanikai Beach is known also for its beauty and the iconic twins, the Mokulua Islands, which are seen offshore.
Kailua Bay & Beach, just one of the reasons I love Living in Kailua (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
Watersports abound in this stunning area, whether your choice is fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing, SUP, or swimming. Several outrigger canoe paddling clubs are based in Kailua, as well.
Outrigger Canoes at Kailua Beach (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
Kailua has a few very close hikes, in addition to watersports. There’s the short, but still spectacular Pill Box Hike, which starts, right in Lanikai, near the Mid-Pacific Country Club. Views from the top of this hike are world famous. The Maunawili Falls hike in the Maunawili residential neighborhood is beautiful too, terminating at a lovely waterfall and swimming hole. Mount Olomana trails provide amazing scenery for more experienced hikers.
Another pastime for Kailua residents is golf. We have at least five golf courses to choose from within an area of only a few miles. The Pali Golf Course is public. There are also private courses. Kailua also has the Kailua District Park with a pool, basketball, and tennis courts, and there is the private Kailua Racquet Club facility in Kailua also.
Mid-Pacific Golf Course in Lanikai, Kailua (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
New bicycle paths and lanes have also gone in, in Kailua, for both recreation and commuters. With such temperate weather, outdoor activity is year-round for those living in Kailua.
#3 – Kailua’s Sense of Community
One fun place to go to get a feel for Kailua’s great sense of community is the Thursday Kailua Farmers’ Market (mentioned above). At the Farmers’ Market, right in the Long’s Drugs parking structure, you will see people of all ages, buying fresh local items, talk story, get pre-made dinner plates, and sometimes, hear live music. There’s also a Sunday Kailua Town Farmer’s Market at Kailua Elementary School, and a small market Wednesday at Kailua District Park.
The Kailua Community gathers at the Farmer’s Market for produce, plate dinners, music, and fun! (c) 2018, Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
There are many weekly and monthly community events in Kailua. One musical series is the Lanikapila, and there are other gatherings in Kailua where the community can get together.
Annual Events in Kailua include the Kailua 4th of July Fireworks and Parade, which draws residents from all over Oahu, as well as tourists, and the I Love Kailua Town Party, which is a gathering of artisans, food vendors, and entertainers in April of each year. Proceeds from the Kailua Town Party benefit the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle. There is also an annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Castle Hospital, which is a lot of fun!
Kailua neighbors getting together for the 4th of July Parade
Kailua’s sense of community stems from its neighborliness. Unlike some other places I’ve lived, I’ve found Kailua to be a place where you get to know your neighbors. In my neighborhood, we sometimes do things like Christmas caroling together. We also get together with our pontoon boats and party barges to watch fireworks on the 4th of July.
In addition to all the fun, generally, people care for and watch out for one another. I have never experienced a better sense of community than when I have been living in Kailua. People are friendly in Kailua, and there is a sincere spirit of Aloha.
#2 Kailua’s Location on Oahu
There’s no better physical spot on the island than Kailua, in terms of both proximity to everything else, and weather. Kailua is close enough to make daily trips to Honolulu, for work or school, but you can avoid the crowds, most of the heavy traffic, and the high-rise jungle. Kaneohe and its bustling business district is just next door. Want some country? It’s a few miles to Waimanalo or an hour to the North Shore. You have three scenic freeway options to get across the Koolau and into Town (H-3, Pali, or Likelike). Or, you can go around the coast for an oceanfront scenic view.
Located in Windward Oahu, Kailua has the best weather on the island. The annual average high temperature is 81.8 degrees F and the annual average low temperature is 71.4 degrees F. We get the beautiful, cooling tradewinds from the East/NE. There is also, enough rain to keep things green and lush. Add in plenty of days of sunshine. It does not get better than this!
Lush yard at a charming Coconut Grove, Kailua cottage (c) Yvonne Jaramillo Ahearn
#1 Best Real Estate Environment on Oahu
As a REALTOR and homeowner, I prefer living in Kailua. One reason is that I feel the homes provide more value than in other areas of the island. Real estate here is expensive. However, it has tended in the past to hold its value better than in many other areas of the island. Being near the Oahu’s best beaches and the beautiful Koolau mountains, yet also close to the financial center in Honolulu, makes real estate in Kailua very desirable.
Kailua real estate is in high demand and the market can be competitive, but that can also be good for homeowners. Both sales and rental demand are also generated by the proximity of the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base between Kailua and Kaneohe, and Camp Smith, which is easily accessible by H-3. Many military buyers find their homes in Kailua.
Lots in Kailua tend to be a bit larger than in most areas of Honolulu and in Leeward Oahu. There is a feeling of space here. There is also a more relaxed vibe here than in Town (Honolulu). You have the choice of many types of housing in Kailua, at various price ranges. Do you desire townhomes, high-rise condos, single family ranch-style homes, mid-century bungalows, plantation-style post and pier homes, beachfront homes, golf course frontage homes, stream or lakefront homes, view homes, acreage properties, or something else? There are even a few mega-mansions here if that is your style. Kailua has it all!
Lovely home on spacious lot, in Enchanted Lake, Kailua on Mid-Pac Golf Course, PC – Andy Landgraf, 360 Photos.
For all the reasons above, Kailua is simply a great place to live.
I live and work in Kailua, and know its neighborhoods well. For more information on Kailua lifestyle and purchasing or selling Kailua real estate, please contact me at 808.721.8088.