Are you thinking of moving to Oahu and want to know what it’s like? In this episode of Aloha Oahu, I’m going to give you the pros and cons of living in Kailua, a gorgeous town in Oahu. I’ll share everything from beautiful scenery to cost of living so you know if this area is right for you.


Why People Love Kailua

While every place has its pros and cons, we’re going to start with the top three reasons people love living in Kailua: gorgeous views, outdoor activities, and a small town feel. 

The first and most popular reason is that there are beautiful views in every direction. This is one of the great things about Oahu’s Windward Side. As you come through any of the tunnels from Honolulu, you're immediately greeted by the Pacific Ocean as far as the eye can see. 

On the Windward Side from the beach, you can also turn around and simply enjoy the wonderful views of the coastal mountains, which are a personal favorite of mine. After a long or hard rain, it's especially beautiful. The mountains are filled with countless natural waterfalls coming straight down the lush cliff sides.

Cost Of Living

While Oahu is beautiful, some people that move to the island are shocked by the cost of everyday items like milk and bread. Any other kind of daily necessities you're going to pick up at the grocery store will be more expensive.And if you drive through McDonald's, the prices are so much more here than they are on the mainland. It's not that people want to charge you more just because we're in Hawaii. Rather, it's because the cost of getting these goods to the island is so much more expensive. 

Also, real estate prices here can be a shock. If someone's not used to the market, I often have to explain to people that what you can get in North Carolina is not what you're going to be able to get in Hawaii. You're comparing apples to oranges, not apples to apples. Many other necessities such as gas costs more here than on the mainland. Keep in mind, you're in your car a lot and you’ll have to drive across the mountains. That cost of gas really adds up.


If you're able to deal with the higher cost of living and you understand all of those elements, maybe you won't mind all of the traffic that we have here on the island. The Windward Side of Oahu is a relatively small area and can get congested, especially if there's an accident on one of our main roads. 

While all areas of the island have a lot of traffic, especially the other side, the Windward Side can get crowded when tourists are in full force. This is especially true in Kailua. If you're a local, you may be able to navigate around some of the traffic, but you definitely can't miss it all. Also, mileage doesn't mean a lot on Oahu. Sometimes, a map may say 8 miles is terms of distance, but that could be a 45 or 50 minute drive. It all depends.

Traveling Around The Island

One thing you may need to be prepared for is driving a long way if you want that one thing at a certain store. While the small-town feel of the Windward Side is wonderful, you may have to leave its comforts if something is only available in Honolulu.

If you're looking for a big box store like Costco, you’ll find that on the other side of the island. There are three Costcos on the island, but not on the Windward Side. If you're used to a lot of the big box stores that you can find on the mainland, we don't have a lot of them here. Honestly, it's not a big deal in the long run. If you really need something we do have Amazon. 

Enjoy Kailua Living

I hope this helped you understand some of the pros and cons of living in Kailua and on the island of Oahu. If you should have any additional questions about Kailua, Kaneohe Bay, or anywhere else, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask. 


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