There are so many beautiful beaches in Hawaii that it can sometimes be tough to decide which one to visit.
Kailua Beach is a beautiful, calm, and quiet beach with clear blue water and white sand.
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, make sure to fit Kailua Beach into your schedule! There are tons of things to do for families with kids, or just adults looking for some fun in the sun. From swimming to paddleboarding and kayaking, there is something for everyone.
This post will tell you everything you need to know about Kailua Beach and why it’s one of our favorite beaches on Oahu!
We’ll also give you some tips on how to get there so that you can discover this fantastic place for yourself!
Kailua Beach: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Kailua Beach known for?
Kailua Beach is known for its serene atmosphere, clear blue waters, and soft white sand.
Is it safe to swim at Kailua Beach?
Yes, it is safe to swim at Kailua Beach. The water here is calm and is great for kids as well.
Is parking difficult?
Parking can be tight during popular times like weekends and holidays, but you should be able to find something if you get there early.
What is the temperature of the water?
The temperature of the water varies depending on the time of year, but it is generally pretty warm.
Is Kailua Beach busy?
Kailua Beach can get busy during popular days and weekends, but it’s nowhere near the number of people you will find at Lanikai Beach.
Is Kailua Beach safe?
Yes, Kailua Beach is safe. Always take precautions and practice safety at all times.
Overview of Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach is located on the Windward Coast of Oahu, just north of Lanikai Beach.
As part of the Kailua Bay, the beach is long and wide, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
This large park stretches for about 2 miles and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
Kailua Beach breaks down into three main parts: Kailua Beach Park, Kalama Beach Park, and Castles Beach.
With its crystal clear waters and soft white sand, Kailua Beach Park is one of the most popular beaches on the island. The park offers restrooms, showers, a lifeguard on duty, and picnic areas, making it the perfect spot to spend a day at the beach.
Kailua Beach Park
The park is located on the eastern side of Kailua Beach towards the southern end of Kailua Bay.
The beach faces east, which means you will get optimal sunrises. There is also beautiful white sand and turquoise water here, making it one of our favorite beaches on Oahu!
You can walk along the shore for over half a mile. This beach area is about 37 acres and has restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.
You can also find a few small shops and restaurants across the street from the beach.
The beach is also close to a few small shopping plazas, including a water sports rental center and a shave ice shop.
Kailua Beach Park is the perfect spot for a relaxing day by the ocean with stunning views.
So if you’re looking for a beautiful and peaceful beach to relax on, Kailua Beach Park is the place for you!
Kalama Beach Park
Kalama Beach Park is located northwest of Kailua Beach Park and Lanikai Beach, right in the middle of the Kailua Bay.
Kalama is lesser-known than Kailua or Lanikai Beaches, which means fewer crowds.
This section of the beach has a small parking lot available (free), or you can also park on the street. You will also find a bathroom and showers at this beach.
The beach is a gorgeous long stretch of powdery white sand and clear blue waters.
Here you can kayak, swim, snorkel, sunbathe, windsurf, or kite surf. This area gets a little windy, so it’s very suitable for kitesurfing or windsurfing.
Bathrooms and Showers (very clean and well-maintained)
Castles Beach is an exposed beach and reef break located at the end of Kailua Bay.
It’s much quieter than Kailua Beach, and it’s an excellent spot for novice and experienced surfers, as many good waves break here.
Unlike Kailua and Kalama Beaches, Castles Beach does not have a parking lot. You will need to park on the street. Also, there is no lifeguard here, so surfing is not recommended for children here.
The History of Kailua Beach Park
Kailua Beach Park was established in 1940 and is one of the oldest parks on Oahu.
It was initially Camp Kailua, and it became a recreational park in 1940.
President Obama and his family frequently visit Kailua over Christmas holiday breaks, so you may get lucky and spot them while you’re there!
How to Get to Kailua Beach
You have two options to get to Kailua Beach. You can either drive there or take the bus.
Driving is the best option, as it is faster and will give you more flexibility than riding the public bus.
If you’re driving, the best way to get there is to input the address into your GPS.
From Waikiki, you’ll want to get on H1 W, then take Hwy 61 northeast until you get to the coast.
If you want to get there by bus, the below photo shows multiple bus routes you can take. Bus #671 will take you to Kailua Beach Park.
From Waikiki: Below is the bus schedule from the Moovitapp website:
Facilities at Kailua Beach
There are many facilities at this park, including:
- Toilets and Showers
- Picnic Tables
- Free Car/Bicycle Parking
- Kayaking Rentals at Kailua Beach Adventures
- Lifeguard on Duty
Kailua Beach Park Water Activities
Swimming and snorkeling: The water here is calm and amazing! You can go swimming or snorkeling here. It’s worth mentioning that while the water is suitable for swimming, you won’t get the best snorkeling at Kailua Beach, but it’s still worth it if you are already in the area.
If you are looking for the best snorkeling in Oahu, be sure to check out Hanauma Bay, Waimea Bay, and Sharks Cove.
Surfing: There are also good surfing spots here, so be sure to bring your surfboard! The best time to surf at Kailua Beach is usually in the springtime.
Kayaking: Kailua Beach Adventures is a great place to rent kayaks and paddle around the bay. It’s a popular thing to do here, and you can kayak to Flat Island, Lanikai Beach, or the Mokulua Islands. Kailua Beach is definitely one of the best places to kayak in Oahu.
Windsurfing/Kitesurfing: Kailua Beach is a great place to windsurf. Be sure to bring your gear! The wind is great here for windsurfing and kiting.
Other Things to Do in Kailua
Watch the Sunrise
Kailua Beach is east-facing which means lots of opportunities to catch the sunrise. The sunrises here are beautiful, and it’s definitely a sight that you don’t want to miss.
Have a Picnic
There are many picnic tables at this park, so you can have a nice picnic lunch while you’re there.
There are some great hikes located near Kailua Beach Park. You can check out the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, a very popular and easy hike in Oahu, but worth it and deserves a visit. Lanikai is also, one of the top hikes in Oahu.
You can also hike the Kawai Nui Trail and Maunawili Falls Trail (although this one is currently closed for an improvement project), which are fun and beautiful hikes.
See also: The 12 Best North Shore Oahu Hikes
Visit Lanikai Beach
The beautiful Lanikai Beach is located near Kailua Beach Park. It’s become very popular in recent years, but it’s worth the visit.
This white sand beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu, and it’s worth checking out if you are visiting Kailua Beach Park.
Visit Waimanalo Bay
Waimanalo Bay is a beautiful white sand beach located about a 19-minute drive from Kailua Beach Park. This beach is definitely worth checking out if you have some extra time.
Go to Downtown Kailua
Kailua is a beautiful city with lots of great spots to see. If you have time, be sure to make time for it!
Driving there from Kailua Beach should take you about five minutes, so it’s worth going there if you are already in the area.
Here you will find some nice shops and restaurants to choose from.
Go to Kailua Town Farmer’s Market
Kailua is a pretty cool little town, and if you’re in the area be sure to check out the farmer’s market located at the Keolu Shopping Center, about an 8-minute drive from the beach.
Here you will find a lot of food options, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Definitely check it out if you’re in town.
Buzz’s Steakhouse: Located right across from Kailua Beach, Buzz’s is a great place to get a steak dinner and relax. If you are not a steak lover, don’t worry, as they have other excellent options on their menu such as seafood, chicken, lamb, and so much more.
Be sure to try their freshly made Mai Tais and margaritas; you will thank me later!
Bob’s Boston Pizza Kailua: If you’re looking for some good quality and large-sliced pizza, Bob’s is the place to go. They have delicious pizzas with a variety of toppings, as well as wings and other tasty eats.
Kalapawai Market: This is a great little market that you can check out if you’re in the area.
The market offers gourmet food, souvenirs, clothing, wine, and beer selections that are sure to please!
The cafe is located in the back and is a great place to get breakfast, some of the best coffee on the island, lunch sandwiches, and more.
Island snow: This is an excellent option for some Hawaiian-style shave ice! They have amazing flavors like pineapple, mango, strawberry, and more.
Be sure to stop by here after a hot day at the beach. It’s so worth it, and you deserve some shave ice! It’s definitely one of the best places in Oahu to get shave ice.
Tip: If you are an ice cream eater, be sure to get the ice cream at the bottom. It makes it taste 100 times better!
Sunbathing: Relax on the beach and catch some rays! Be sure to add sunscreen to your Hawaii packing list to make sure your skin is protected while relaxing in the sun.
Tips for Visiting Kailua Beach
Visit in the Morning
Try to get to the beach before the big crowds start rolling in, which is around 10:00 AM. While not as popular as the neighboring Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach does get a little crowded, and parking can be hectic if you show up in the afternoon.
Another tip that we tried is to visit towards the end of the day when many people have already left. The sun might not be as hot around 5 PM, but it’s worth it if you don’t care much about getting a tan.
Be sure to park LEGALLY in designated parking and always pay attention to parking signs. This applies when visiting Lanikai Beach (and really anywhere) as well.
Trust me on this one; we got our first-ever parking ticket in Hawaii at Lanikai Beach because we parked on the street facing the wrong side of traffic.
Also, do not leave any valuables in your car as this attracts thieves.
Take the Pali Highway Route 61
If you are looking for an impressive scenic drive, take the Pali Highway (Route 61) from Honolulu. It will take about 30 minutes to get to Kailua from Honolulu, and the views along the way are breathtaking.
Be sure to stop at the Pali Lookout for some incredible views of Oahu. You can see views of Kailua town, Kaneohe Bay, and the Ko’olau Mountains.
Pack a Picnic
I highly recommend packing a lunch and having a picnic on the beach. There are some great spots to sit and enjoy your meal while taking in the incredible views.
Bring some Beach Toys
Make sure to bring some beach toys with you, as there are plenty of things to do in the water with your kids.
Kailua Beach Etiquette
- Always clean up after yourself and leave the beach as clean or cleaner than when you arrived.
- Keep noise to a minimum.
- Avoid walking on coral, as this damages it.
- Avoid touching/feeding the fish and wildlife.
- Be respectful of other beachgoers.
The Wrap Up
If you’re looking for a place to relax and recharge, Kailua Beach is the perfect destination. You’ll find incredible views of the Pacific Ocean with miles of white sand that stretches out into deep blue water.
The waves break gently onto the shore, making it ideal for swimmers and surfers alike.
This beach is also a great alternative to visiting Lanikai Beach for people who want some quiet time, as it’s not as crowded.
You can enjoy your morning coffee uninterrupted (depending on how early you get there) on one of the many benches overlooking the beautiful scenery.
We hope that our article has helped you discover Kailua Beach. Mahalo, and happy beach chasing in Oahu!
Until next time, Aloha!