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

Peter Fish

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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