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Calm waves and small crowds make Kailua Beach a nice change from Waikiki’s lively masses and the North Shore’s crashing waves. Located on O’ahu’s east coast, Kailua’s steady breeze makes it ideal for windsurfing. Challenge yourself by going kitesurfing or head inland to hike trails and play a round of golf.
Surf the web for a live beach cam of Kailua to monitor the crowds and waves before your visit. Other beaches offer live cams as well, so you can choose which beach has the best conditions on the day. It’s easy to drive between the beaches but doing your research in advance can save time.
Kailua Beach offers plenty of services for people with limited mobility. Phone ahead to book an all-terrain wheelchair. The large rubber wheels are able to move smoothly even on Kailua’s soft sand. There is also a mat that covers the sand from the showers to the surf, so you can access the water with ease.
Away from the ocean, take one of several hiking trails just inland from the beach. The path along the Kawainui Marsh is the easiest. Watch for wildlife including native birds as you walk. Somewhat more strenuous is the trail to Maunawili Falls. Hike up to the pool at the base of the falls. You will need waterproof shoes with good grip, as the path crosses over the stream and can be slippery when wet.
If you’re an experienced hiker, take the challenge of the Olomana Trail for some of the most rewarding views on the island. Described as “scrambling on a knife’s edge”, this popular hike features some stretches that require hand-over-hand and rope-aided climbing. It takes about 3 hours to reach the first peak, so carry plenty of water. The trailhead lies near the Royal Hawaiian golf course and can be difficult to find. Ask for directions if you need it. Or, go no further than the picturesque golf course and play an 18-hole round.
Just 19 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Honolulu, Kailua Beach is an easy-to-reach retreat that offers activities on land and on the water.