Kailua, Honolulu County, Hawaii

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For the town known as Kailua-Kona, see Kailua, Hawaii County, Hawaii.
Kailua, Hawaii
Census-designated place
Aerial photo of Kailua, Enchanted Lake and Mokapu Peninsula
Aerial photo of Kailua, Enchanted Lake and Mokapu Peninsula
Location in Honolulu County and the state of Hawaii
Location in Honolulu County and the state of Hawaii
Coordinates: 21°23′51″N 157°44′22″W / 21.39750°N 157.73944°W / 21.39750; -157.73944Coordinates: 21°23′51″N 157°44′22″W / 21.39750°N 157.73944°W / 21.39750; -157.73944
Country United States
State Hawaii
 • Total 10.6 sq mi (27.4 km2)
 • Land 7.8 sq mi (20.1 km2)
 • Water 2.8 sq mi (7.3 km2)
Elevation 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 38,635
 • Density 3,700/sq mi (1,400/km2)
Time zone Hawaii-Aleutian (UTC-10)
Zip Code 96734
Area code(s) 808
FIPS code 15-23150
GNIS feature ID 359894

Kailua /kˈlə/ is a census-designated place (CDP) in Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States. It lies in the Koʻolaupoko District of the island of Oʻahu on the windward coast at Kailua Bay. It is in the judicial district and the ahupua'a named Ko'olaupoko. It is 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Honolulu – over Nu‘uanu Pali. The population was 38,635 at the 2010 census.[1]

In the Hawaiian language Kailua means "two seas" or "two currents", a contraction of the words kai (meaning "sea" or "sea water") and ʻelua (meaning "two"); it is so named because of the two lagoons in the district or the two currents which run through Kailua Bay.

Kailua is primarily a residential community, with a centralized commercial district along Kailua Road. The population was 50,000 in 1992.[2]

Places of note in Kailua include Kailua Beach Park, Lanikai Beach, Kawai Nui Marsh, Maunawili Falls,[3] and Marine Corps Base Hawaii.


Early history[edit]

During the reign of King Kakuhihewa and his successors, Kanekapu, Kahoowaha, Kauakahiakahoowaha, and Kualii, Kailua replaced Waikiki as the residential seat of the Alii Aimoku of Oahu. Many ancient temple ruins, such as those at Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site, are in the area.[4]


Kailua Beach is crescent-shaped, about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, and ranging between 50 and 150 feet (15 and 46 m) wide. The ocean bottom fronting the beach slopes gently to overhead depths without any coral heads. Light to medium waves support surfing and bodysurfing. The steady trade winds make Kailua Beach a top windsurfing and kitesurfing destination. Robby Naish, first World Champion of windsurfing and Professional Windsurfers Association Hall of Fame inductee, grew up in Kailua.[5][6][7]

Sea kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to the protected seabird sanctuaries Flat Island and the Mokulua Islands, popularly known as "the Mokes", have become increasingly popular water activities at the beach.


Kailua is located at 21°23′51″N 157°44′22″W / 21.39750°N 157.73944°W / 21.39750; -157.73944 (21.397370, −157.739515).[8] Nearby towns include Kāneʻohe, Maunawili, and Waimānalo.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 10.6 square miles (27.4 km2). 7.8 square miles (20.1 km2) of it is land, and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) of it (26.62%) is water.[9] A significant portion of this water area is Kawai Nui Marsh, the largest wetland in the Hawaiian Islands and a nominated Ramsar Convention site.


The Hawaiian voyaging canoe, Hokuleʻa, arrives off Kailua Beach

Kaʻōhao (pronounced [kəʔˈoːhao]) is the earliest known Hawaiian name for the place known as "Lanikai." Kaʻōhao means "the tying" and is derived from an old story in which "two women were tied together here with a loincloth after being beaten in a kōnane game".[10] Kaʻōhao was commercially developed in the 1920s and renamed "Lanikai."[11] It is now an unincorporated community in Kailua on the windward coast at Kailua Bay. Lanikai Beach was rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world by Sherman's Travel Magazine.[12] The area is known for its white powder-like sandy beach, easy access to Nā Mokulua, and its hiking trail along the Keolu Ridge to the World War II military bunkers commonly known as the "Lanikai Pillboxes".[13] Because of its small community and easy access to its famous beach, Lanikai has one of the most expensive real estate markets in Hawaii.[14] It is served by Kailua's zip code, 96734.


Historically, Kailua was an ahupuaʻa, or area of land ruled by chief or king and managed by the members of the ʻaliʻi.

As of the census of 2000,[15] there were 36,513 people, 12,229 households, and 9,318 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 5,495.8 people per square mile (2,123.2/km²). There were 12,780 housing units, at an average density of 1,923.6 per square mile (743.1/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 43.84% White, 0.76% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 21.11% Asian, 8.07% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 24.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.10% of the population.

There were 12,229 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.8% were non-families. 16.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98, and the average family size was 3.33.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 26.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $72,784, and the median income for a family was $79,118. Males had a median income of $46,789, versus $35,612 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $29,299. About 3.3% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under the age of 18 and 1.5% of those 65 and older.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Honolulu Police Department operates the Kailua Substation in Kailua.[16] The United States Postal Service operates the Kailua Post Office.[17]

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety operates the Women's Community Correctional Center in Maunawili CDP,[18][19] near Kailua.[20] The Hawaii Department of Human Services operates the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF) in Maunawili,[19][21] near Kailua.[22]

Winter White House[edit]

Main article: Plantation Estate

Barack Obama has taken winter vacations in 2008 & 2009 in Kailua and in the rented, ocean-front house Plantation Estate in the Paradise Point Estates in 2010, 2011 & 2012. The house was built by developer Harold Kainalu Long Castle, who also lived there.[23] Obama also took a vacation break in August 2008 at a different Kailua house, Oahu Lani, during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.

Obama signing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 on January 2, 2011.
President Obama signing the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 on December 26, 2013.


The arrival of Obama as well as various social media and travel sites have contributed to Kailua becoming overrun by tourists looking to get out of Waikiki.[24] Kailua, once known as a sleepy beach town, became a hot tourist attraction overnight. Local residents, known for being very vocal, have been at war with legislators and developers, protesting various issues such as the arrival of Target, tour buses, and illegal vacation rentals that have opened due to the lack of appropriate legal accommodations. Crime, traffic and beach parking issues have been increasing since 2014. The Kailua neighborhood board asked the Hawaii Visitors Convention Bureau to stop promoting Kailua which lead to various articles implying that "Tourists are not welcome".[25]


Public schools[edit]

The Hawaii Department of Education operates the public schools.

Elementary schools in the CDP include Aikahi, Enchanted Lake, Kaelepulu, Kailua, Kainalu, Keolu, Lanikai, Maunawili, and Mokapu. Kailua Intermediate School, Kalaheo High School, and Kailua High School are also in the CDP.[26]

Area private schools[edit]


Movies and TV shows that have been filmed in Kailua include:

  1. Hawaii Five-O (1968): "King of the Hill" – TV episode
  2. Waikiki (1980) (TV)
  3. Mädchengeschichten (1998): Shea – "Surfer girl" – TV episode
  4. Lost (2004–10) – TV episodes
  5. Magnum, P.I. (1980–88) – TV episodes
  6. Hawaii Five-0(2010)- TV episodes


Kailua hosts various events throughout the year, from block parties to fireworks.[27]

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Kailua CDP (Honolulu County), Hawaii". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ "History of Kailua". Kailua, HI, USA: Kailua Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Na Ala Hele - Hawaii Trail System: Oahu: 14". Hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov. 2000-09-21. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  4. ^ "Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site". Department of Land and Natural Resources. State of Hawaii. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Kailua, Oahu". aloha-hawaii.com. Media-HI, Inc. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  6. ^ World of Windsurfing : Robby Naish
  7. ^ PWA Profile – Naish
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  9. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Kailua CDP (Honolulu County), Hawaii". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved May 18, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Hawaiian Place Names". Ulukau.org. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  11. ^ "History". Lanikai Association. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  12. ^ "Top 10 beaches we love". msnbc.com. Microsoft. February 28, 2006. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ A Windward Hike To Remember | Keeping Score | Midweek.com
  14. ^ Lanikai Real Estate
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ "Contacting HPD." Honolulu Police Department. Retrieved on May 19, 2010.
  17. ^ "Post Office Location – KAILUA." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  18. ^ "Women's Community Correctional Center." Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on May 19, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Maunawili CDP, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  20. ^ "LexisNexis sells its database to prisons." Associated Press at MSNBC. March 16, 2004. Retrieved on May 19, 2010. "Harry Fuchigami, librarian at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua."
  21. ^ "Frequently Called Numbers." Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on August 22, 2010. "Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility" "42–477 Kalanianaole Highway Kailua, HI 96734"
  22. ^ "Re: Investigation of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, Kailua, Hawaii." United States Department of Justice. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  23. ^ President Returns to Paradise Point Estates, the Obama Winter White House – KAILUA, Hawaii, Dec. 23, 2010
  24. ^ "Is This Charming Town Hawaii's Next Waikiki?". Huffington Post. March 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Stop Sending Tourists Here!". Huffingtong Post. November 14, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Kailua CDP, Honolulu County, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  27. ^ "Kailua Events". Kailua, HI, USA: Kailua Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 18, 2012. 

External links[edit]