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A Little About Kailua

Kailua is one of two major population centers found on the Windward Side of Oahu. Although it is technically considered a part of the City and County of Honolulu, Kailua has a substantially different character and lifestyle than urban Oahu. Kailua and neighboring Kaneohe are found across the Ko’olau Mountains, about twenty to thirty minutes away from downtown Honolulu. Kailua has a total population of approximately thirty seven thousand residents, although that figure may have fluctuated somewhat since the last census was conducted. There are three main ways to get to Kailua from Honolulu – the H-3 Interstate Freeway, the Likelike Freeway, and the Nu’uanu Pali. Kailua is a primarily residential community, although there is also a growing commercial district in the town. The area which is now Kailua was an ancient Hawaiian ahupua’a as many as fifteen hundred years ago. In early Hawaiian history, Kailua was largely a fishing and residential community, but about five hundred years ago it became a destination of royalty. Kailua was a government center of ancient Oahu, and had a considerable population when European explorers first arrived in the Sandwich Islands. Much of the land in Kailua was originally granted by King Kamehameha the Great to his warriors and officers following the unification of the islands. However, Kailua continued to be sparsely populated until the middle of the twentieth century, when the area began to grow due to the emergence of a small commercial core and an influx of military spending.

Despite a fair amount of growth in the past several decades, Kailua maintains more of a small town, personal feel than other parts of Oahu. Its scenery and charm have been showcased in a number of popular television shows throughout the years, such as the hit TV shows Hawaii Five-O, Magnum, P.I., and Lost. More recently, Kailua has been on the national news as a vacation site for President Barack Obama. President Obama, who was originally born in Hawaii, has vacationed at two different sites in Kailua over the past few years. Although Kailua is a diverse community, it is also fairly well off, meaning that the town’s condos, apartments, and houses can be well above the median property values for Oahu. For beachfront properties and larger mansions in particular, sale prices routinely eclipse one million dollars. There are a number of government buildings and service facilities in Kailua, including the Kailua Substation of the Honolulu Police Department, the Kailua Post Office, and the Kailua Public Library.

Although there are no university campuses located in Kailua, the community is home to a number of public and private schools. The Hawaii Department of Education is responsible for eight elementary schools, Kailua Intermediate School, and Kalaheo High School as well as Kailua High School, which is ironically located in an adjacent community called Maunawili. Kailua has a high proportion of private schools as well, such as Saint John Vianney School, Le Jardin Academy, Saint Anthony School, and the Huakailani School for Girls. There are a number of popular stores and local shops in downtown Kailua, ranging from small boutiques to larger stores such as Safeway and Macy’s. Perhaps the best known attraction in Kailua is Kailua Beach, which has been recognized as the best beach in the United States. Kailua Beach stretches over two miles of white, sandy coastline, and is ideal for wind and kite surfing. Kailua Beach is popular among stand up paddle boarders and kayakers, as well as tourists looking for a good place to swim and sunbathe. Another one of the island’s top beaches, Lanikai Beach, is found along Kailua Bay in the smaller enclave of Lanikai.

 Information provided by Kailua real estate agent American Dream Realty broker, Jeff Manson.

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