Kailua Bay

Kailua Bay – A Great Spot for a Swim Near the Historic Kailua Village
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When you want to take a quick dip in the water, jet on over to Kailua Bay. This tiny beach sits right by the historic Kailua Village, allowing you to go for a swim in between all your shopping and dining adventures. There are no lifeguards on duty though, so swim at your own risk.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Are you looking for a fun spot to go for a swim in between all your Kailua Village shopping and dining adventures? If so, you need to zip on over to the tiny beach along Kailua Bay. Set right off of Alii Drive, this ultra-cute beach serves as a great place to go whenever you want to take a quick dip. The beach sits along the eastern side of the bay and the Kailua Pier is on the western side. Kamakahonu Beach sits right behind the pier, giving you another well-protected place to swim if you want.

There are never any lifeguards on duty, so you’ll have to get in the water at your own risk. More often than not, you’ll find the beach filled with tourists taking a break from it all, making it easy to call for help if you need it. It’s also right by the cityscape, which allows first responders to get to the shores quickly whenever someone needs aid.

Due to this beach’s central location, it serves as the starting point for the annual IRONMAN triathlon’s swimming course. The participants arrive onsite ready to swim their hearts out in October each year. So, plan to avoid the beach during that time. In fact, the whole area gets quite full of tourists when the competitors come to town, which can make it difficult to enjoy all your favorite venues to the fullest.

Even if you’d rather stay out of the water, this beach is still well worth a visit. The relatively tiny sandy shores do not have room for a stroll or even sandcastle building, however. But you can just come here to gaze at the beautiful views if you’d like. If you want to enjoy a meal while gazing upon the picturesque oceanside, just stop by a local restaurant for takeout before swinging by.

Overall, the bay protects the beach from powerful waves, while keeping currents rather mild. The winter season does turn up the intensity of the waves and current a bit. But that’s pretty common all over the Hawaiian Islands. As with all the beaches, it’s best to check the weather and surf conditions before arriving. Avoid coming over to the water’s edge when it’s stormy out, especially when the wind speeds pick up.

When the weather is on your side, find parking at the public pay lot along the Kuakini Highway. If that lot is full, you may need to wait around for a spot to open up. Do not park at the nearby hotels or other businesses – or you run the risk of your car getting towed. If you’re driving an SUV or other large vehicle, watch out for cramped spots. Many of the spots in the pay parking lot will only fit compact vehicles, although they’re not marked as such.

The beach does not have any amenities onsite. You can go over to Kamakahonu Beach to use the restrooms, showers, and other facilities. There’s also a rental kiosk over there in case you want to rent snorkel gear, standup paddleboards, and more. Either way, be sure to bring a trash bag, so you can pack out what you pack in. And pick up any trash you see on your adventures to help protect the beauty of the Hawaiian landscape and waterways.

Insider Tips:
-Bring an underwater camera if you want a chance to capture photos of sea turtles and other marine life.
-If you get a chance to see any sea turtles, stay far back to respect their space. They are protected marine species, so you could end up with a serious fine if you get too close.