What Are the Best Things to Do in Kailua, Hawaii?
Are you looking to explore Hawaii off the beaten path? Located on the windward side of Oahu, the town of Kailua is one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets. In addition to lush rainforests and beautiful beaches, this hidden gem offers a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the island’s larger cities. If you’re looking to break free from the crowds of tourists and experience your vacation to the fullest, you must plan a visit! We’ve put together a list of the best things to do in Kailua to help you plan your trip. Check it out and make sure to request access to our complimentary Vacation Guide for more great tips about things to see and do in Oahu!
Here Are the Best Things to Do in Kailua
Kailua Beach Park
With sugar-white sand and turquoise blue waters, it’s hard to envision a more gorgeous paradise than Kailua Beach Park. This 2.5-mile stretch of beach is continuously ranked among Oahu’s top beaches, and for very good reason! Besides the picture-perfect views, this spot is a prime destination for kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and beachcombing. Lounge on the beach and soak up the sun, enjoy a picnic lunch, or dive into the crystal-clear water and swim among the colorful fish. At the end of a perfect day, make sure to stay and watch the sunset. We guarantee you have never seen anything more beautiful!
While there are many great beaches on Oahu, Lanikai beach is consistently rated number one. The name Lanikai means “heavenly sea,” and this beach absolutely lives up to its name. Miles and miles of tranquil blue water reach as far as the eye can see, and tall palm trees line the half-mile stretch of shoreline. There are no posted signs leading to Lanikai Beach, but there are several beach access points located off Mokumanu Drive.
In addition to beautiful beaches, Kailua offers miles of picturesque hiking trails. If you’re looking for fun and free things to do in Kailua, Hawaii, you’ll definitely want to add the Lanikai Pillbox Hike to your bucket list. This uphill trek is short but steep, but the incredible views are well worth the climb. Along the way, you’ll see colorful wildflowers, two historic military bunkers, and panoramic views of Mokulua Islands, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach. If you look out into the distance, you’ll also see Makapu’u Lighthouse peeking out of the water!
Maunawili Falls is another great hike to add to your Oahu itinerary. The moderate hike winds through the lush jungle, leading to a thundering waterfall and a great swimming hole. On any given day, you may see brave souls jumping from the waterfall into the pool below (jump at your own risk). Make sure to wear great hiking shoes, as you’ll be traversing muddy areas, large tree roots, and rocky streams. Don’t forget to bring your camera! Afterward, be sure to try a few of these other amazing waterfall hikes on Oahu.
When it comes to dining in Kailua, the hardest decision you’ll have to make is where to go first! From casual beach bars to fine dining, there are several excellent restaurants throughout town. If you are craving fresh seafood, we recommend reserving a waterfront table at Huggo’s in Kailua Kona. Enjoy a spectacular sunset while you dig into the catch of the day. For a more casual experience, head over to Bob’s pizza for some of the best pizza you will ever taste. Then, stop by Manoa Chocolate Hawaii for a sweet treat! Check out our dining guide for more great recommendations about restaurants on Oahu.
There is plenty of great shopping in Kailua if you know where to go. Whether you’re on the hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures or the top brands, you’ll find it all in Kailua Town. Take your time browsing the trendy boutiques, unique island stores, national retailers, and art galleries. When you take home all of your great finds, you’ll be glad you stopped by!
Kailua Town Farmers’ Market
If you’re looking for things to do in Kailua when it rains, a trip to the market is a wonderful option. The Kailua Town Farmers’ Market is open every Sunday from 8:30 a.m. until noon, rain or shine. Here you’ll find local produce, delicious food, live music, and tons of fun family activities. Another option is to visit the Kailua Night Market, which is independently-owned offers a completely different experience. Open every third Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9 p.m., this market features diverse culture and food, incredible local artwork, and exciting entertainment. Entry and parking are free, and pets are always welcome!
Paddle to Mokuleia Islands (The Mokes)
When searching for things to do in Kailua Kona, kayaking to the Mokuleia Islands should be at the top of your list! Nicknamed by locals as “The Mokes,” these two islets are located just a few miles off the shoreline of Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach Park. The island on the right is closed to the public. However, the one on the left is a great spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, cliff-jumping, or simply lounging on the powder-soft sand.
To paddle to The Mokes, you’ll need to launch your watercraft at the canal in Kailua Beach Park near the bridge. The journey to the islands typically takes anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours. There are also several tour companies that can take you on a guided tour of the islands. Keep an eye out for turtles, seabirds, and dolphins!
Formed thousands of years ago, the Halona Blowhole is one of Hawaii’s natural wonders that you’ll have to see to believe! The scenic outlook overlooks the unique lava rock formation and the crashing waves of the Pacific. When the water rushes into the lava tubes below, the Blowhole erupts, shooting sea spray high into the air like a geyser. You can actually hear and feel the rumble just before an eruption. While you’re there, make sure to check out Halona Beach Cove. Several movies have been filmed in this idyllic cove, revered for its natural beauty. When the waters are calm, this is a great place to go swimming and snorkeling.
Book Your Stay With Private Homes Hawaii
Now that you know all of the best things to do in Kailua, it’s time to start planning your tropical getaway! Located just minutes away from all of these incredible attractions, Private Homes Hawaii offers the ideal accommodations for your stay. Each of our Oahu vacation rentals is fully equipped with top-notch amenities to ensure that your vacation is a relaxing one. From spacious oceanfront estates to casual beach homes, we offer a wide array of lodging options to choose from.
For a truly memorable experience, we recommend booking a stay at our newest beach house, Pueohala. Located directly on the white sands of Kailua Beach, this oceanfront gem has everything you could ever want or need while on vacation. The newly renovated 3-bedroom home can comfortably accommodate 8 guests. Enjoy the panoramic ocean views from the front lanai, lounge on the comfortable sofa with a good book, or take a refreshing outdoor shower. Feel free to use the boogie boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, coolers, beach toys, or BBQ during your stay. So, what are you waiting for? Check our availability and book your Hawaiian vacation today! We can’t wait to welcome you to paradise!