Kailua and Lanikai

Day 20

Destination: Kiteboarders in Kailua

Focus: Sports and Recreation

Soundtrack for the drive: No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom

Quote of the Day: I’m just a girl, lucky me ~ Gwen Stefani

If you’re selling your coop in Park Slope Brooklyn and moving to paradise, Kailua is where you want to settle. If you’re white and have a dog and an obnoxiously expensive baby stroller, Kailua is what you’re looking for. If you like to jog and can define kiteboarding, Kailua is the place for you. Yes, Kailua is where the yuppies live. And don’t I wish I lived there with them.

It’s actually only a 15 minute drive from my house in Kaneohe to Kailua Beach Park. This place has a gorgeous white sandy beach and a hill to the side of the bay that makes a perfect spectator stand for watching the kiteboarders below. Trade winds blow year round at this spot, which makes for ideal conditions, and when the wind picks up man do they fly!

The park is very dog-friendly. Folks can be seen romping at the water’s edge with their pups in the wee hours of the morning. There’s an exercise path that runs the length of it and continues onto Mokulua Drive through Lanikai. You can see Mokulua and Mokuluai Islands from here, both of those are protected bird sanctuaries.

Lanikai is where the extra rich yuppies live in sprawling waterfront mansions. But here’s a fun fact about the state of Hawaii: there are no private beaches here. So even in the swankiest neighborhoods everyone gets to play on the beach together. Parking is always free and every few houses there’s a public right of way from the street to the shore.

Lanikai is kind of around the corner from Kailua, which makes a big difference with the wind. It’s very peaceful here and if ever I do make my way out into the waves, this might be where I’ll do it.

After a nice walk with the dogs we’re back on the Kailua side camped out on the hill with an incredible view of the beach and the boarders. Kaneohe Marine Corps Base looms in the distance. I’ve counted at least 16 kiteboarders out there zipping back and forth. It seems a miracle that they never bump into each other. One of them is particularly good at catching 5 or 6 feet of air at a time.

There are also kayakers, stand up paddlers and a surfer or two. Not far from the beach is Popoia (Flat) Island, another bird sanctuary. Even though the three islands are protected, you can kayak to them, walk around and have a picnic if you’d like.

After a while I make my way into town to check out Kalapawai Market, a standard here since 1932, and visit one of Lanikai Juice’s other locations (their third is in Kahala) for another killer smoothie. Town is a yuppie heaven of Pier 1 Imports, a decent sized health food store and a mall of trees down the middle of the main drag. Yes indeed, I’m in love!

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