Kailua Beach

While nearby Lanikai Beach has lured droves of beachgoers seeking that postcard-perfect, powder-soft white sand beach you’d see in marketing brochures for the Islands, the larger — and more versatile — Kailua Beach is often overlooked. This beach spans two miles, curving around Kailua Bay, where you can surf, dive, parasail, and kiteboard. You can also rent kayaks from nearby shops — check out Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks (130 Kailua Road)--and paddle to Popoia Island, commonly known as Flat Island. This islet, located about a quarter-mile from the boat ramp, is a state seabird sanctuary, with a popular surf break on the island’s south side. Or make the longer trek to the Mokulua Islands off Lanikai Beach, the larger of which is a state seabird sanctuary that’s accessible to the public. The cobalt-blue water at Kailua Beach is typically calm — save for north swells during the winter months that bring rolling surf and shorebreak to the area — and perfect for swimming and wading. Residents walk the beach, often with their dogs, in the early mornings and evenings. And families picnic under ironwoods or in the pavilions in the park on weekends.