Neighborhoods on Oahu August 25, 2023

What It’s Like Living in Kailua

What it’s like living in Kailua: A military-friendly neighborhood guide by Daniel Lee Kim

Picture a mix of beach vibes with plenty of activities to keep you busy with a dash of urban amenities for comfort. If you are moving to Oahu, Hawaii and are considering living in Kailua, this blog will give you an idea of what it’s like living in Kailua, one of the most beautiful places on earth! I’m Daniel Lee Kim, former U.S. Marine Officer turned real estate agent, and I’m here to guide you through the unique lifestyle Kailua has to offer. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the heart of Kailua, exploring its rich culture, breathtaking scenery, and top-notch amenities. As you read on, you’ll discover why Kailua is the perfect place to call home.

Location Vibes in Kailua

Google Maps Location of Kailua

Location of Kailua, Hawaii

Although its only a short distance away from downtown Honolulu Kailua is a world away from the hustle and bustle you will find in town. Kailua is located on the Windward side of the island surrounded by the Ko’olau mountains and white sandy beaches.  Kailua gives you a relaxing beach town vibe while providing you with all the amenities you need such as outdoor lifestyle, diverse cuisine, shopping, etc.

The H-3 highway connects you directly into Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Honolulu International Airport.  Additionally, you can access Marine Corps Base Hawaii through back gate right from Kailua.

Kailua Neighborhood Amenities

Kailua is a vibrant town that has something for everyone. Whether you’re a foodie, a beach lover, or an adventure seeker, Kailua has you covered.

If you’re a fan of fresh, local produce, then you’ll love the Kailua Town Farmers Market, while grocery stores like Whole Foods and Down to Earth provide a wide range of healthy foods with local options.

If you love to be active and exercise, there’s also an abundant number of options from UFC Gym to Core Power Yoga, and even local companies like Gracie Jiujitsu Kailua and CrossFit Kailua.

UFC Corepower Beaches

1. UFC Gym in Kailua Town offers an immaculate facility for you to get your workout in. 2. Corepower Yoga located near Wholefoods in Kailua is perfect for a morning Yoga and a recovery green drink from Whole Foods. 3. Kailua Beach Park looking towards MCBH. 4. Picture of Mokulua Islands (Mokes) in Lanikai Beach.

Kailua’s biggest attraction is its stunning white sandy beaches. Castle Beach, Kalama Beach, Kailua Beach Park, and my personal favorite Lanikai Beach are all coastal treasures to enjoy various water sports like snorkeling, surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, and canoeing in the crystal-clear waters of Kailua.

For those looking for a little adventure, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a must-do activity, offering breathtaking sunrises and views of Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands or you can hike the Maunawili Falls and enjoy the green tropical lush.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Lanikai Pillbox Hike with the views of the Mokulua Islands.

If you’re an avid golfer, you can check out Royal Hawaiian Golf Course which is well known for its beautiful scenery which was featured in Jurassic Park movie, and you can also tee off at Mid Pacific Country Club, a hidden gem located in Lanikai.

Mid Pacific Country Club

Mid Pacific Country Club located in Lanikai, Kailua Hawaii

Local Eats & Treats

No matter what you’re in the mood for, Kailua’s food scene promises to have something that will satisfy your cravings. Whether it’s casual beachside grab and go’s or a fine culinary excellence.

For breakfast: Cinnamons and Over Easy are the popular choices for a sit-down, and for a quick grab and go try Morning Brew or The Sunrise Shack. My favorite thing to do is to grab an avocado toast and a bullet coffee from The Sunrise Shack and go watch the sunrise from the beach, you should try it!

The Sunrise Shack Paia Nalu Konos

1. The Sunrise Shack located near Kailua Beach Park. 2. Paia fish market in Kailua. 3. Nalu, one of local and tourists’ favorite. 4. Konos provides you a local fusion breakfast burrito option.

For Lunch: Try Paia Fish market which offers large portions of fish with your choice of preparation and sides. Also, Maui Brewing Company and California Pizza Kitchen are good options for a sit-down meal. The Hibachi Kitchen, Nalu Health Bar, Paniolos, and Konos are all good grab and go options which include fresh poke, healthy salads/sandwiches, and burrito bowls.

For Dinner: For an unforgettable dining experience, Goen and 22 Kailua are my personal favorites. Goen delights with Japanese-Hawaiian fusion cuisine, combining traditional Japanese dishes with locally sourced island ingredients, you have to try the Miso Butterfish!  At 22 Kailua, prepare for a unique Japanese Omakase experience, where a cozy atmosphere and exceptional dishes come together to create a culinary adventure in the heart of Kailua.

Cocktails: If you are feeling like having a few cocktails with your friends and family, I recommend The Boardroom with a relaxing outdoor seating area and live music on certain days. They are known for their unique craft cocktails, my personal favorite is the Melon Margarita.

The Boardroom

1. The Boardroom is perfect for craft cocktails and live music. 2. They also have a coffee shop outside where you can relax and enjoy the warmth.


Kailua’s shopping scene offers a plethora of unique local boutiques and art galleries mixed with some big-name favorites as well! If you’re looking for a shopping adventure that combines beachy style with island flair, boutiques and stores here are some recommendations:

Coco Trading Post specializes in handmade jewelry, clothing, and home décor items that are sourced from around the world but give an island feel. If you love the Rattan and bamboo inspired furniture, you should check this place out.

Soha Living is a home décor store that offers a range of products inspired by island living. From Hawaiian-print throw pillows to elegant glassware, this shop has everything you need to add a touch of aloha to your home.

Fighting Eel is a local favorite for contemporary women’s clothing that is both stylish and comfortable. Their signature “Fighting Eel” dress is a must-try.

Woven By Shaolin is a newer interior design store where you can get inspiration for decorating your new home.

Schools in Kailua

Kailua is known to have one of the best education districts on the island of Oahu from private schools to public school. Public options include Ka’elepulu Elementary , Maunawili Elementary, and Kalaheo Highschool, while Le Jardin Academy and St. Anthony are couple of private school options.  For public school districts and school information, click here.

What is the Real Estate Market Like?

Although Kailua is relatively small neighborhood, it has many sub neighborhoods with their own sub market. However, as of July 2023 median sale price for Single Family Homes was $1,560,000 whereas the median sale price for condominiums was $750,500. Kailua is a popular neighborhood and high on every future home owners’ list to include international buyers. Click here to look at homes for sale in Kailua.

Kailua Waimanalo Market Report Jul 2023

Kailua Waimanalo Market Report Jul 2023

Hidden Gems

This Kailua guide wouldn’t be complete without an insider scoop on all the hidden gems in the area. First up is Salvation Army. Unlike others, this thrift store gets donations from brands like Jimmy Choo, Sax Fifth, billabong, and many other high-end brands. It is also the perfect place to get gently used beach furniture for a fraction of the cost.

Another hidden gem is for all of you who don’t like to wash and fold your clothes. Foldy’s laundry service offers dry cleaning and folding services. They wash your clothes, fold them up, and wrap them in a bow for you to pick up when it’s ready.

Finally, Grace and Growlers is another favorite. Located behind Empty Elle Bagels, they offer craft beer tastings via beer wall. With a very inviting and warm atmosphere, you can grab a glass, pour as much or as little as you want and pay by the ounce.

Whether you’re planning a move to Hawaii or simply curious about island living, Kailua is where beach town meets modern comforts. If you are considering moving to Kailua and have additional questions, feel free to contact me.

Call (808) 292-3427| Email: | Schedule a consultation