Windward Beach Scores Best of the Best
Bordered by nearly three miles of sandy coastline running from the edge of Mokapu Peninsula to Lanikai, Kailua Beach is famous across the globe for windsurfing, kite boarding, paddling sports, swimming, snorkeling and walking.
The sand is white and soft, the water is typically calm and clear, and the scenery creates a beautiful selfie backdrop!
That said, it’s no surprise that “Dr. Beach” has tapped popular Kailua Beach Park as tops in his 2019 list of Best Beaches in the U.S.
A coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, Stephen Leatherman has been publishing his annual list under the moniker of “Dr. Beach” since 1991. For the first 25 years of ranking, any beach that landed in the number one spot previously was ineligible for inclusion in following years.
In 2015, however, Dr. Beach reset the clock by allowing all U.S. beaches to once again be eligible. That was especially good news for Kailua, as it had been named the Best Beach in the U.S. in 1998.
When making his list, Dr. Beach uses 50 criteria that include safety, water cleanliness, and management of both the beach environment and its facilities.
What Beach Lovers Love Most about Kailua Beach
The 2.5-mile stretch of Kailua Beach is one of those enduring places that many locals discover early on and continue to frequent. The “new” never quite wears off since it’s so relaxing and the setting is so spectacular.
Here are five reasons that Kailua Beach Park is a favorite among locals, visitors and Dr. Beach.
1) Perfect Beach Conditions
Steady trade winds create awesome conditions for kite boarders and kite surfers. Yet, the calm bay is also popular for those who love to swim and for families wanting more mellow conditions. You can almost always count on favorable conditions for swimming, boogie boarding and bodysurfing in its turquoise waters. And even if you’re not into kite boarding and windsurfing, it’s still a thrill to watch the action.
2) The Facilities
A 30-acre public park with visitor amenities, Kailua Beach Park is a perennial favorite for soaking up the sun and sights. You’ll find lifeguards, picnic tables, bathrooms, showers and plenty of parking. Many people pack a cooler and settle in for the day beneath an umbrella to people watch.
3) Kayaking to The Mokes
The small islands offshore of Kailua Beach Park are designated bird sanctuaries called Popoia, Moku Nui and Moku Iki–jointly called “The Mokes.” On a calm day, Moku Nui is just a short kayak paddle away. You’ll likely see green sea turtles and living coral reef teeming with vibrant fish. If you’re really lucky, you may spot see a humpback during whale season (December-April), elusive Hawaiian monk seal or spinner dolphin.
Twogood Kayaks and Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks teach beginning and refresher courses for kayaking, plus windsurfing and kite surfing.
If you’re interested in a rental and going for the gusto on your own, Twogood will set you up to haul your kayak on top of your car. Kailua Sailboards sets kayaks onto wheel carts that can easily be walked to the beach in about three minutes.
4) Grabbing a Bite by the Beach
This neighborhood also is home to two of Oahu’s most iconic beachy eateries. A long-time favorite for its casual attitude and prime location across from Kailua Beach Park, Buzz’s Lanikai has garnered a following from those seeking one of the most potent mai tais in all Hawaii as well as its hearty salad bar served at dinner along with entrees like Alaskan crab legs, scampi and top sirloin.
Panoramic view of Kailua as seen from the Nu`uanu Pali Lookout
Also nearby is popular Kalapawai Market & Café, where you’ll find everything you need for a sunny day at Kailua Beach Park. You’ll find everything from snacks and drinks to ice and pantry items. Or grab a take-out lunch from the deli that features wraps, hot and cold sandwiches, pizza and fresh salads.
5) July 4 Fireworks
Following a full day of activities that includes a parade, Kailua Beach Park pumps up the patriotism with its annual fireworks celebration.
Kailua’s annual July 4 fireworks display can be seen from MCBH to Waimanalo.
This crackling display is made possible each year by local business and residents donations and sponsorships. This year, attendees can also look forward to the pre-fireworks skydiving show at 6pm, followed by an aerial fireworks display at 8pm. Check KailuaFireworks.net for more details.
It’s your opportunity to help Kailua celebrate our country’s freedom, and thank the men and women who helped and continue to help keep the U.S.A. free!
We hope you enjoyed our little taste of Aloha! If you ever have any questions or story ideas, please e-mail us at [email protected]!
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