Views of Lanikai Beach and the Koolau Mountain Range from the Pillbox Hike in Kailua

15 Best Things to Do in Kailua Oahu

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Kailua, look no further!

We’ve compiled a list of the top activities and attractions in Kailua so you can make the most of your visit.

There’s something for everyone herefrom swimming and snorkeling at Lanikai Beach to hiking the gorgeous Lanikai Pillbox Hike or the more advanced Olomana Trail.

We know that you’ll love these activities as much as we do.

So what are you waiting for? Keep reading below for more information!

Note: To make planning easier for you, we have included a downloadable map at the end of this post with all of the locations listed in this article. Be sure to check it out!

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. It’s well known for its clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand, and gorgeous views of the Mokulua Islands. It’s a great place to relax and soak up the sun.

There are also plenty of activities to keep you busy if you’re looking for something more than just relaxation. You can go swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding.

View of the twin islands from Lanikai Beach in Kailua
Gorgeous sunrise from the Lanikai Pillbox Hike with a view of Lanikai Beach and the Mokes in Kailua Oahu

If you’re looking for a place to picnic or take in the amazing views, Lanikai Beach is definitely your spot.

See Also: 25 Best Beaches in Hawaii For A Spectacular Trip

The following three beaches on this list are part of Kailua Bay, which stretches for about 5 miles.

Kailua Beach Park

Kailua Beach is a gorgeous white sand beach on the windward side of Oahu and one of the most popular beaches on the island.

Gorgeous blue water and soft white sand at Kailua Beach Park in Oahu
People enjoying the beach with gorgeous blue water, soft white sand, and mountain views at Kailua Beach Park in Oahu

It’s well known for its crystal clear turquoise waters. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Kailua Beach Park, including swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, kitesurfing, and windsurfing.

If you’re looking for a place to relax with stunning scenery and lots of activities, Kailua Beach is the perfect spot.

Kalama Beach Park

Kalama Beach Park is a beautiful white sand beach known for its clear turquoise waters and stunning views.

There are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Kalama Beach Park, including swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, kitesurfing, and windsurfing.

Me walking towards the beach at Kalama Beach Park in Kailua Oahu with white sand, blue water and a big tree
Me walking on the beach at Kalama Beach Park in Kailua Oahu with white sand, mountain views, and blue water.

If you find Lanikai and Kailua Beaches crowded (the most popular beaches), visit Kalama Beach instead. It’s not as crowded but just as stunning.

Castles Beach

Castles Beach is a secluded beach on the east side of Kailua Bay. It’s known for its clear blue waters and lovely white sand beaches.

It’s worth a visit if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and take in the natural beauty of Oahu.

Cody enjoying the views of the ocean with soft white sand and gorgeous mountain views at Castles Beach

Kailua Shops and Restaurants

There are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you busy in Kailua. You can find everything from Hawaiian souvenirs to local art.

If you’re looking for a place to eat, there are plenty of great options. You can find everything from Hawaiian regional cuisine to sushi.

Our personal favorites are Kono’s Northshore – Kailua, Nico’s Kailua, Lanikai Juice, and Over Easy, to name a few.

Cars parked on the street at Kailua Town where all the shops and restaurants are located
Front door views of Kono's restaurant in Kailua. This is one of the best restaurants on Oahu
Lanikai Juice restaurant in Kailua town

Kailua Town Farmers Market

The Kailua Town Farmers Market is a great place to find local produce and souvenirs. It’s open every Sunday from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Avocados and papayas from the Farmers Market

You can find everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to baked goods and jams. It’s the perfect place to stock up on supplies for a picnic or to have something to eat.

Manoa Chocolate Factory

The Manoa Chocolate Factory is a must-visit for anyone that loves chocolate. They offer free tours of their chocolate factory where you can learn about the process of making chocolate. They also offer some delicious samples.

They have unique flavors such as lilikoi, vegan milk chocolate, rum-infused chocolate, and more.

Front entrance of the Manoa Chocolate Factory with cars parked outside

You can also buy some of their delicious chocolate to take home with you.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you definitely won’t want to miss this place.

Get Malasadas from Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop

If you’re looking for a delicious treat, you have to try a malasada from Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop. This is one of the best places on Oahu to get a malasada.

For those of you who don’t know, a malasada is a fried doughnut-like pastry covered in sugar.

The white and orange Agness Portuguese Bake Shop food truck located in Kailua Oahu

I know Leonard’s Bakery gets all the gloryand they should because they are probably the best malasadasbut Agnes’ is a close second, in our opinion.

Get Shave Ice

A trip to Kailua is not complete until you’ve had a shave ice. There are plenty of places to get shave ice in Kailua, but our favorite is Island Snow Shave Ice.

They offer a wide variety of flavors, and you can even add sweetened condensed milk on top for an extra delicious treat.

Cody holding Shave Ice from Island Snow in Kailua

If you’re looking for a refreshing treat, you need to try Island Snow Shave Ice. This store made our list of the best places on Oahu to get shave ice.

Kailua Breweries

If you’re looking for a place to grab a drink and maybe a pizza, Kailua has many great options.

Some favorites include Lanikai Brewing Company, Maui Brewing Company – Kailua, and Olomana Brewing Company.

These are just a few of the best things to do in Kailua.

As a side note, Lanikai Brewing Company has some of the best pizza on the island, so it is worth checking out if you are in the area and love pizza and beer.

Lanikai Pillbox Hike

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is a very popular hike in Hawaii and one of the best hikes in Oahu. It’s short but has some steep sections.

The hike leads to two WWII-era pillboxes with stunning views of the windward side of Oahu, Mokulua Islands, and Lanikai Beach.

The hike is only about 1.7 miles round trip, so it’s perfect for a quick hike.

Cody and I holding hands on top of the Lanikai Pillbox hike with views of the Koolau Mountain range and the windward side of Oahu
Me sitting on top of the Lanikai Pillbox hike with views of the Koolau Mountain range and the windward side of Oahu

Make sure you’re prepared for the hike before you go. It’s recommended that you wear proper hiking shoes, bring plenty of water, and start the hike early in the day.

If you love watching sunrises, the Lanikai Pillbox Hike is one of the best sunrise hikes on Oahu, so be sure to check that off your list.

Gorgeous sunrise at the Lanikai Pillbox in Kailua

See Also: 12 Easy Hikes in Oahu

Kayaking – Mokulua Islands

Kayaking to the Mokulua Islands is one of the best activities in Oahu. These twin islands are a popular spot for kayaking and cliff jumping. It’s a great way to explore the island and get some incredible views.

The best way to do this is to kayak from Lanikai Beach or Kailua Beach. It’s a 30-45 minute paddle to the twin islands.

4 people kayaking to the Mokulua islands from Lanikai Beach in Kailua

Once you’re on the island, you can relax, go for a swim, or explore.

Just be sure to pack plenty of reef-safe sunscreen or a rashguard, water, and snacks for your adventure.

Olomana Ridge (Three Peaks) Trail

Olomana is a popular hiking trail that leads to three peaks with stunning 360-degree views of the windward side of Oahu, Ko’olau Mountain Range, Chinaman’s Hat, Mokulua Islands, Makapu’u Point, and Rabbit (Mānana) Island.

The hike is challenging, but it’s worth it for the incredible views.

View of the second and third peak from the first peak of the three peaks trail
Me rock climbing on the Olomana Trail in Kailua

Make sure you’re prepared for the hike before you go. It’s recommended that you wear hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.

Only attempt this hike if you are an experienced hiker, are not afraid of heights, and are okay with rock climbing.

Visit the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens are located in Kaneohe, about a 19-minute drive from Kailua Beach. This is a beautiful garden that covers over 400 acres. It’s a great place to walk, hike, or picnic. There are also plenty of photo opportunities.

The best time to visit the gardens is in the morning when it’s cooler and not as crowded.

Me enjoying the scenery at the  Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Oahu near Kailua
Me walking at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Oahu near Kailua with a view of the Koolau Mountain Range

Make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen because it can get hot, especially during the summer.

The garden is free to visit and is one of the best botanical gardens on Oahu.

How to get to Kailua

Kailua is located on the Windward side of Oahu. The best way to get there from Honolulu is to take the Pali Highway (H-3) or the Likelike Highway (H-2).

It usually takes about 30 minutes to get from the Honolulu/Waikiki area to Kailua.

Alternatively, you can also Uber or Lyft if you prefer those options. A bus goes there too, but it takes much longer and doesn’t give you as much flexibility.

Map of The Best Things To Do in Kailua

The Wrap Up

Kailua is a great place to visit if you’re looking for some stunning beaches, incredible hikes, good restaurants, or just a place to relax. It’s an excellent place for families, couples, or friends. There is truly something for everyone here.

There are plenty of things to do in Kailua, so be sure to add these to your list. And, as always, make sure you’re prepared and don’t forget your essential items such as sunscreen and water.

Mahalo for reading our post. Until next time, aloha, and have fun exploring the town of Kailua!

See Also: The Most Popular Leis in Hawaii