Our Favorite East Oahu Neighborhood #1: Hawaii Kai
Hawaii Kai is a residential area with many homes, townhomes and some condominium buildings. Although there are some high rises in this area, it’s not like the Waikiki area or your typical urban neighborhood. Hawaii Kai is home to young families, and retirement age groups. There are many community centers, parks, golf clubs and shopping centers in the area, all key features of family-hosting areas. Hawaii Kai is also home to popular beaches such as Hanauma Bay, Sandy’s Beach and China Walls. All within a few miles of each other, beach goers enjoy a close proximity to beaches and shopping centers (to get poke bowls after the beach!). As a kid growing up on this side of the island, we would always go to the beach and then head to zippy’s or Foodland after for lunch. It was tradition.
Our Favorite East Oahu Neighborhood #2: Lanikai
Lanikai is home to the famous photography of the two islands in the background off the shore, looking off a white sand line and clear blue ocean water. These are the Mokulua Islands, and you can paddle to them. I have kayaked there before. At the time I was in mediocre physical shape and we did it in 2 hours roundtrip. It was a windy day so the surf was relatively big, making it difficult to kayak there. I would recommend peddling out there on a mild day with little to no winds. It makes a difference when you’re out there. Aside from that adventure, the area itself is gorgeous and very popular to visit. Hence, it can be difficult to get a parking spot there on the weekends, especially during the holidays. The only available parking is street parking, and with thousands of people visiting the area, it can be impossible to find parking.
Our Favorite East Oahu Neighborhood #3: Kailua
Kailua is the neighboring area to Lanikai. Most people even call it Kailua-Lanikai. Kailua is home to Kailua Beach and several hot spot restaurants like Cinnamon’s (brunch place) so it attracts a lot of people during the peak summer months. There are popular hikes in this area too, such as Olomana and Maunawili Falls. This area is also home to many military families as there is a nearby military base. Kailua is one of my favorite neighborhoods because you get to drive over the Pali Pass to get there from town. The Pali is such a beautiful area to pass through, and one of the most scenic drives on the island of Oahu. However, a recent storm prompted a mudslide onto the Pali Highway and it may take months to renovate it before people are driving on that pass again.
Our Favorite East Oahu Neighborhood #4: Kahala
The Kahala area is neighboring Hawaii Kai, and home to young families. The area is considered upper scale as some of the beachfront properties anchors the average home price for the area to be in the millions. The area is a big school district with many public schools, shopping centers and child centers such as the YMCA. There are many popular beaches and attractions in this area sauce as Diamond Head and Cromwell’s, and a few others. I love the Kahala area most because of the close proximity to Kahala Mall and the beach. Like I have said before, I love jumping from the beach to the mall in the same day – sometimes multiple times!