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Kailua, Hawaii

Coordinates: 21°23′51″N 157°44′22″W / 21.39750°N 157.73944°W / 21.39750; -157.73944
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(Redirected from Kailua, Honolulu, Hawaii)

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
Kailua is located in Hawaii
Location in Hawaii
Coordinates: 21°23′51″N 157°44′22″W / 21.39750°N 157.73944°W / 21.39750; -157.73944
CountryUnited States
 • Total10.59 sq mi (27.44 km2)
 • Land7.77 sq mi (20.13 km2)
 • Water2.82 sq mi (7.31 km2)
16 ft (5 m)
 • Total40,514
 • Density5,212.82/sq mi (2,012.67/km2)
Time zoneUTC−10 (Hawaii–Aleutian)
Zip Code
Area code808
FIPS code15-23150
GNIS feature ID359894

Kailua /kˈlə/ (Hawaiian pronunciation: [kɐjˈluwə]) 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.

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 former fishponds in the district (Kawainui and Kaʻelepulu) or the two currents that run through Kailua Bay.[2]

Kailua is primarily a residential community, with a centralized commercial district along Kailua Road. The population was 50,000 in 1992.[3] In 2017 census, the population had dropped to 38,000.[4] The population was 40,514 at the 2020 census.

Places of note in Kailua include Kailua Beach Park, Kaʻōhao or Lanikai Beach, Kawainui Marsh, Maunawili Falls,[5] and Marine Corps Base Hawaii. It was home to Barack Obama’s winter White House.


Early history[edit]

During the reign of King Kākuhihewa and his successors, Kanekapu, Kahoowaha, Kauakahiakahoowaha, and Kualiʻi, Kailua replaced Waikiki as the residential seat of the Oʻahu Rulers (aliʻi nui of Oʻahu). Many ancient temple ruins, such as those at Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site, are in the area.[6] After the Oʻahu army's defeat by King Kamehameha the Great at the Battle of Nuʻuanu in 1795, the political capital and residential seat of the aliʻi nui of Oʻahu was relocated from Kailua to Honolulu.[7]


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.[8][9][10]

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


Kailua Bay

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).[11] Nearby towns include Kāneʻohe, Maunawili, and Waimānalo.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has an area of 10.6 square miles (27.4 km2), of which 7.8 square miles (20.1 km2) is land and 2.8 square miles (7.3 km2) (26.62%) is water.[12] A significant portion of the water area is Kawainui Marsh, the largest wetland in the Hawaiian Islands and a Ramsar Convention site.


The Hawaiian voyaging canoe, Hokuleʻa, arrives off Kailua Beach
Kailua Bay Sunset

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".[13] Kaʻōhao was commercially developed in the 1920s and renamed "Lanikai."[14] It is now an unincorporated community in Kailua on the windward coast at Kailua Bay. Lanikai Beach was rated one of the world's top ten beaches by Sherman's Travel Magazine.[15] The area is known for its white, powder-like sandy beach and its hiking trail along the Kaʻiwa Ridge to the World War II military bunkers commonly known as the "Lanikai Pillboxes".[16] Because of its small community and easy access to its famous beach, Lanikai has one of Hawaii's most expensive real estate markets.[17] It is served by Kailua's zip code, 96734.


Kailua has a tropical savanna climate.[18]

Climate data for Kailua, 1985-2013
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 80.0
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 67.7
Average rainfall inches (mm) 5.13
Source: WRCC[19]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
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 2020, there were an estimated 40,514 people and 12,387 households with an average of 3.04 people per household in Kailua. The population density was 5,212.8 inhabitants per square mile (2,012.7 inhabitants/km2), which was less dense than that of Honolulu (5842.0 per square mile or 2255.6/km2).[21] There were 4,322 housing units in Kailua at an average density of 121.7 per square mile (47.0/km2).[22]

The racial makeup of Kailua was 44.8% White, 0.9% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 19.3% Asian, 4.4% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from other races, and 29.0% from two or more races. The Kailua population had a greater percentage of White residents and a lower percentage of Asian residents than the state in aggregate (25.3% and 38.6% respectively). 8.6% of the Kailua population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

12.7% of Kailua residents reported having a language other than English spoken at home, less than the state average of 26.1%. The age of the population in Kailua was varied, with 5.8% of inhabitants being under the age of 5, 21.6% being under the age of 18, and 19.3% being above the age of 65. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males.[22]

The median annual household income in Kailua was $122,706, and the per capita annual income was $51,260. 5.0% of the population in Kailua was estimated to be below the poverty line, which was below the state average of 11.2%. Approximately 35.0% of businesses in Kailua were minority-owned, a rate nearly double that of the national average of 18.7%.[23]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Honolulu Police Department operates the Kailua Substation in Kailua.[24] The United States Postal Service operates the Kailua Post Office.[25]

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety operates the Women's Community Correctional Center;[26] it was defined in the Maunawili CDP as of the 2000 U.S. Census,[27] but was redefined as being in the Kailua CDP as of the 2010 U.S. Census.[28] NBC News stated that the prison was in Kailua.[29]

The Hawaii Department of Human Services operates the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF),[30] which was defined as Maunawili by the Census Bureau in 2000,[27] and as Kailua by the same organization in 2010.[28] The United States Department of Justice also stated the facility was in Kailua.[31]


View across Kailua Beach to the offshore islet known as Moku nui, one of Nā Mokulua off Lanikai
View of Kailua from the Kaiwa Ridge Trail (Keolu Hills)
View of Kailua Town from Ahiki, the third peak of Olomana

Historically, most tourism on the island of O'ahu has centered around Waikiki and other tourism-designated areas. But tourism has also been a major economic force in Kailua, and tourism-related jobs have historically made up roughly one-third of total employment in Hawaii.[32] The Obama family vacations, as well as coverage from various social media and travel sites, sparked new interest in Kailua as a tourist destination and led to an influx of tourists to Kailua.[33] This influx led to pushback from some Kailua residents, prompting proposals of legislation to limit tourist activity there.

Winter White House[edit]

Barack Obama vacationed in Kailua between 2008 and 2012. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the Obama family stayed in the rented, ocean-front house Plantation Estate in the Paradise Point Estates. The house was built by developer Harold Kainalu Long Castle, who also lived there.[34] Obama also took a vacation break in August 2008 at a different house in Kailua, Oahu Lani, during the 2008 United States presidential election.

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


Although tourism is the primary driver of Kailua's economy, it remains a contentious issue among the town's residents. On several occasions, residents have successfully introduced legislation to discourage tourism in the town. One such example is Bill 41, introduced to the Honolulu City Council in October 2021.[35] In 2022, Honolulu County Mayor Rick Blangiardi signed Bill 41 into law at a press conference held on Kailua beach. The bill places additional limits and restrictions on short-term rental units. These include requiring a permit to rent living space in a residential area for less than 90 days, as well as requiring hosting platforms (such as Airbnb) to report all listings in Honolulu County (which includes Kailua town) to the county government.[36] Proponents of Bill 41 expect its passage to dramatically reduce the volume of tourists in Kailua.


Public schools[edit]

The Hawai'i Department of Education operates the public schools.[28]

Elementary schools in the CDP include Aikahi,[37] Enchanted Lake,[38] Kaʻelepulu,[39] Kailua,[40] Kainalu,[41] Keolu,[42] and Maunawili.[43] Kailua Intermediate School,[44] Kalaheo High School,[45] and Kailua High School are also in the CDP.[46] Kailua High and Maunawili Elementary were defined as being in the Maunawili CDP as of the 2000 Census,[27] but in Kailua CDP as of the 2010 Census.[28]

Kaʻōhao Public Charter School was previously known as Lanikai Elementary Public Charter School and opened in 1964.[47] It became a charter school in 1996,[48] and it received its current name in 2017.[47]

Mokapu Elementary School is on the nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), outside of the CDP but with a Kailua address.[49]

Area private schools[edit]

Catholic schools of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu:

  • St. Anthony School[50]
  • St. John Vianney School[51]



Movies and TV shows 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.[56]

Notable people[edit]

Scott Feldman


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  2. ^ "Ka'elepulu Wetland General Information" (PDF). kaelepulupond.org. Enchanted Lakes Resident Association. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "History of Kailua". Kailua, HI, USA: Kailua Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "Kailua, HI". datausa.io. Data USA. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "Na Ala Hele - Hawaii Trail System: Oahu: 14". Hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov. September 21, 2000. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site". Department of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii. Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  7. ^ Gael, Mustapha (1985). Kailua, Oʻahu: A Community History. United States.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  8. ^ "Kailua, Oahu". aloha-hawaii.com. Media-HI, Inc. Archived from the original on April 2, 2010. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  9. ^ World of Windsurfing : Robby Naish
  10. ^ PWA Profile – Naish
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Kailua CDP (Honolulu County), Hawaii". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 18, 2012.
  13. ^ "Hawaiian Place Names". Ulukau.org. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  14. ^ "History". Lanikai Association. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  15. ^ "Top 10 beaches we love". msnbc.com. Microsoft. February 28, 2006. Archived from the original on December 8, 2005. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  16. ^ "A Windward Hike To Remember | Keeping Score | Midweek.com". Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  17. ^ "Lanikai Real Estate". Archived from the original on October 21, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  18. ^ "Kailua, Hawaii Climate Summary". Weatherbase.
  19. ^ "WRCC". Desert Research Institute. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Urban Honolulu CDP, Hawaii; Hawaii". www.census.gov. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  22. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Hawaii; Kailua CDP (Honolulu County), Hawaii". www.census.gov. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  23. ^ "Census Bureau Releases New Data on Minority-Owned, Veteran-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses". Census.gov. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  24. ^ "Contacting HPD Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Honolulu Police Department. Retrieved on May 19, 2010. "219 Kuulei Road Kailua, HI 96744"
  25. ^ "Post Office Location – KAILUA Archived July 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on August 22, 2010. "335 HAHANI ST KAILUA, HI "
  26. ^ "Women's Community Correctional Center." Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on May 19, 2010.
  27. ^ a b c 2000 Map: "CENSUS 2000 BLOCK MAP: MAUNAWILI CDP" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
    2010 Map: "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Maunawili CDP, HI" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2020. - Maunawili Elementary, Kailua High, and the prisons were in the CDP in 2000, but in 2010 were no longer in the CDP.
  28. ^ a b c d "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Kailua CDP, HI" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
    2000 boundaries: "CENSUS 2000 BLOCK MAP: KAILUA CDP" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2020. - Pages 1 and 2
  29. ^ "LexisNexis sells its database to prisons." Associated Press at NBC News. March 16, 2004. Retrieved on May 19, 2010. "Harry Fuchigami, librarian at the Women's Community Correctional Center in Kailua."
  30. ^ "Frequently Called Numbers." Hawaii Department of Public Safety. Retrieved on August 22, 2010. "Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility" "42–477 Kalanianaole Highway Kailua, HI 96734"
  31. ^ "Re: Investigation of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility, Kailua, Hawaii Archived May 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." United States Department of Justice. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  32. ^ Kelley, Richard (June 1999). "WTTC Hawaii Tourism Report 1999" (PDF). World Travel and Tourism Council.
  33. ^ "Is This Charming Town Hawaii's Next Waikiki?". HuffPost. March 28, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  34. ^ President Returns to Paradise Point Estates, the Obama Winter White House – KAILUA, Hawaii, Dec. 23, 2010
  35. ^ "City Council Records". City & County of Honolulu. Retrieved October 5, 2022.
  36. ^ Bill 41. Honolulu City Council. 2022.
  37. ^ "Contact". Aikahi Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 281 Ilihau Street Kailua, HI 96734
  38. ^ "Home". Enchanted Lake Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 770 Keolu Drive, Kailua, HI 96734
  39. ^ "Home". Ka'elepulu Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 530 Keolu Dr. , Kailua ,HI 96734
  40. ^ "Kailua Elementary". Hawaii Department of Education. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 315 Kuulei Road Kailua, Hawaii 96734
  41. ^ "Home". Kainalu Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 165 Kaiholu Street Kailua, HI 96734
  42. ^ "Home". Keolu Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 416 Keolu Dr. Kailua, HI 96734
  43. ^ "Home". Maunawili Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 1465 Ulupi'i Street, Kailua, HI 96734
  44. ^ "Home". Kailua Intermediate School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 145 South Kainalu Drive, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
  45. ^ "Home". Kalaheo High School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 730 Iliaina Street Kailua, HI 96734
  46. ^ "Home". Kailua High School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 451 Ulumanu Drive Kailua, HI 96734
  47. ^ a b Hiraishi, Kuʻuwehi (June 2017). "Kaʻōhao School Name Change Revives History, But Can it Spark a Movement?". Hawaii Public Radio. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  48. ^ Adelman, Nancy; Finnigan, Kara. ""We're Here to Complete, Not Complete": A Report from a Demonstration Project to Connect Charter Schools and Other Public Schools". SRI International/National Education Association. p. 4/28. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  49. ^ "Home". Mokapu Elementary School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. Mokapu Elementary [...] is the only school aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii.[...]1193 Mokapu Rd. Kailua, HI 96734 - The address shows it is outside of the CDP.
  50. ^ "Home". St. Anthony School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 148 Makawao Street Kailua, Hawaii 96734
  51. ^ "Home". St. John Vianney School. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 940 Keolu Drive Kailua, HI 96734
  52. ^ "Trinity Christian School".
  53. ^ "Hawaiian Mission Academy".
  54. ^ "Home". Le Jardin Academy. Retrieved October 8, 2020. 917 Kalanianaole Highway Kailua, HI 96734 - A comparison shows it is not in the CDP.
  55. ^ "Home". Huakailani School for Girls. Retrieved January 8, 2020. 45-035 Kaneohe Bay Drive, Kaneohe, Hi 96744 (YWCA Kokokahi)
  56. ^ "Kailua Events". Kailua, HI, USA: Kailua Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved October 18, 2012.

External links[edit]