Kailua, Hawaii County, Hawaii

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For the town in Oahu, see Kailua, Honolulu County, Hawaii.
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Kailua, Big Island
Census-designated place
Kailua-Kona from Holualoa
Kailua-Kona from Holualoa
Coordinates: 19°39′0″N 155°59′39″W / 19.65000°N 155.99417°W / 19.65000; -155.99417Coordinates: 19°39′0″N 155°59′39″W / 19.65000°N 155.99417°W / 19.65000; -155.99417
 • Total 39.8 sq mi (103.0 km2)
 • Land 39.8 sq mi (103.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 11,975
Time zone Hawaii–Aleutian (UTC−10)
ZIP code 96740
Area code(s) 808
FIPS code 15-23000
GNIS feature ID 365355

Kailua is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaiʻi.[1] The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaiʻi. Its post office is designated Kailua-Kona[2] to differentiate it from Kailua located on windward side of Oʻahu island, and it is sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech. The city is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP.[3] Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Hawaiʻi earthquake.


King Kamehameha's court at Kailua-Kona, receiving Otto von Kotzebue in 1816.

The community was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated rule of the archipelago, and it later it became the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The capital later moved to Lāhainā, then, to Honolulu. Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. The town later functioned as a retreat of the Hawaiian royal family. Up until the late 1900s, Kailua-Kona was primarily a small fishing village.[4] In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the region has undergone a real estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.


Kailua is located at 19°39′0″N 155°59′39″W / 19.65000°N 155.99417°W / 19.65000; -155.99417 (19.649973, −155.994028),[5] along the shoreline of Kailua Bay and up the southern slope of Hualālai volcano. There are no major rivers or streams in Kailua or on the Kona side of Hawaii.[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 39.8 square miles (103 km2), of which, 35.5 square miles (92 km2) of it is land and 4.3 square miles (11 km2) of it is water. The total area is 10.71% water.

The Kailua-Kona postal code is 96740 (post office boxes – 96745). Other communities located near this zip code include: Kalaoa, Kealakehe (96750), [[Kahalu'u-Keauhou, Hawai'i|Kahaluʻu, and Keauhou] 96739].


Kona has a tropical, semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with warm temperatures year-round, typical of its latitude in the tropics. It is the warmest place in the United States of America in January on average. The coolest month is February, with a daily average temperature of 74.6 °F (23.7 °C), while the warmest is August, with a daily average of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C). In addition to being the warmest place in the United States in January, it is also the is the city with the highest record low in the United States with an all-time low temperature of 56F. Humidity is generally between 50% and 70%.[citation needed] Kona is generally dry, with an average annual precipitation of 32.05 inches (814.07 mm.) Mornings are typically clear while thermal clouds created in the day raise the temperature during the day.[6]

Climate data for Kailua Kona, Hawaii (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 81.6
Average low °F (°C) 68.2
Record low °F (°C) 56
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.41
Source: WRCC/NCDC[7][8]

Vog can cover parts of the Kona coast from time to time depending on the activity of the Kilauea volcano and the island winds. Kailua-Kona is located on the leeward side of the Hualalai Volcano sheltering the town from wind and rain.[4]


2000 Census data[edit]

Kailua from southern shore

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 9,870 people, 3,537 households, and 2,429 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 278.0 people per square mile (107.3/km²). There were 4,322 housing units at an average density of 121.7 per square mile (47.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 38.7% White, 0.5% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 18.3% Asian, 13.2% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 27.07% from two or more races. 10.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,537 households out of which 35.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $40,874, and the median income for a family was $46,657. Males had a median income of $30,353 versus $26,471 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $20,624. 10.8% of the population and 6.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.9% of those under the age of 18 and 3.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


Kailua-Kona saw an economic downturn during the 2008 national financial crisis but in the early 2010s has seen significant growth and economic development.[10] Tourism also saw a downturn in the late 2000s but has since seen some resurgence.[11] University of Hawaii has plans for its Hawaii Community College Palamanui Campus.[12][13] Since the early 2000s the Kona side has seen significant amounts of vog from Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Kīlauea via wind patterns up the South Kona Coast around Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.[14] Visitor industry statistics show the vog has little effect on tourism traffic to the Kona area.[15]

Attractions and events[edit]

Kailua is the start and finish of the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon,[16] the annual Kona Coffee Festival, and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.

Kona coffee is the variety of Coffea arabica cultivated on the slopes of Hualālai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts.

Kailua Bay

Ali'i Drive, Kailua's oceanfront downtown street, starts at Kailua Pier. It has also been given the designation as a Hawaii Scenic Byway called the "Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast".[17] This byway offers archaeological sites that have survived over hundreds of years. Kailua Pier is the starting and finishing point for the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in October.[18] North of the pier is the Kamakahonu royal residence and Ahuʻena Heiau. Another royal residence is Huliheʻe Palace, used by members of the Hawaiian royal family until 1914.[19] The Historic Kona Inn and other shops are on the street. Churches on the drive include Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaiʻi's first Christian church built in 1820, and Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. Parks include Laʻaloa Bay (also known as Magic Sands or White Sands Beach) and Kahaluʻu Bay, which has some of Hawaii's best snorkeling.

Old Airport Beach, north of Kailua

The boat tours to swim with dolphins, watch whales, and do fishing in the ocean usually depart from Honokohau Harbor.


Kailua-Kona is served by the newspaper West Hawaii Today which is owned by the Black Press.[20]


Hawaii Department of Education operates public schools. Kealakehe Elementary School, Kahakai Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, and Kealakehe High School are in the Kailua CDP.[21]

Notable Residents[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kailua Census Designated Place
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kailua-Kona Post Office
  3. ^ "Kalaoa CDP, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Doughty, Andrew. Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, 4th ed, p. 58. Lihuʻe: Wizard. ISBN 978-0-9717279-4-6. ISBN 0-9717279-4-5.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b Doughty, Andrew. Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, 4th ed, p. 26. Lihuʻe: Wizard. ISBN 978-0-9717279-4-6. ISBN 0-9717279-4-5.
  7. ^ "Station Name: HI KAILUA KONA KE-AHOLE AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  8. ^ "Monthly Normals Kailua Kona Int'l AP, Hawaii". WRCC/NCDC. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "Hawaii's Big Island economy improving despite tourism slowdown". Pacific Business News. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  11. ^ https://www.fhb.com/en/assets/File/Marketing/FHB_2013-14_HawaiiEconForecast.pdf
  12. ^ "Palamanui may offer marine science degree". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "UH heads lay out vision for Hawaii Community College — Palamanui". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Coping with vog". Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Honolulu Star-Bulletin. "starbulletin.com – News – /2008/05/17/". Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Ironman World championships". Ironman.com. Retrieved 2016-05-22. 
  17. ^ Hawaii Scenic Byway – Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast
  18. ^ "Course Maps: World Championship". Ironman official web site. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  19. ^ Kona Historical Society, 1997, A Guide to Old Kona, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-2010-7
  20. ^ "Official website". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved June 13, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Kailua CDP, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.

External links[edit]