Kailua: Oahu's low-key paradise

When you're looking for an alternative to Honolulu's bustle, check out Kailua. One visit and you'll be tempted to stay

Lanikai Pillbox Trail view
Photo: Erin Kunkel

Your perfect Kailua day

Bike it. Flat and compact, Kailua is made for exploring by two wheels, though weekend traffic can be busy. Bike share B-cycle (hawaii.bcycle.com) gives you 24-hour access to a bicycle for $5 plus usage fees. Another option: the Bike Shop (from $20/day; bikeshophawaii.com).

Coffee and culture. Grab a latte, admire custom skateboards, and hear local music at Sheila Lou and Matt Rosete’s ChadLou’s Coffee & Tea Lounge. 45 Kihapai St.; 808/263-7930.

Get elevated. The short (1 mile one way) but steep Lanikai Pillbox Trail takes you up to World War II–era bunkers and an Imax-worthy view of windward Oahu. The trailhead is across from the Mid Pacific Country Club (266 Ka‘elepulu Dr.; mpcchi.org).

Juice up. Kailuans love Lanikai Juice, where the smoothies are made with local papaya, passion fruit, and pineapple. 600 Kailua Rd.; 808/262-2383.

Brain freeze. Cool down with shave-ice at Island Snow, just a five-minute walk from Kailua Beach Park. 130 Kailua Rd.; 808/263-6339. 

Beach time. The calm surf at Kailua Beach Park (21 S. Kainalu Dr.) is made for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding; you can rent gear at Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks (kayaks from $39/half-day, boards $49/half-day; kailuasailboards.com) and at Twogood Kayaks Hawaii (kayaks from $45/half-day, boards $39/half-day; twogoodkayaks.com). For more bodysurfing-friendly waves, try nearby Kalama Beach Park (248 N. Kalaheo Ave.) and Lanikai Beach (Mokulua Dr.).

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