Kailua and East Oahu
Bordered by the Koolau Mountain Range, the eastside of Oahu manages to maintain a small town vibe with a high-end feel. The shoreline here is very unique and unlike other beaches on the island, the sand at Kailua beach is white and powdery. Strong on-shore winds and a sandy bottom make Kailua extremely popular with windsurfers and kite boarders, while its reef-protected waters make it popular with kayakers, snorkelers and swimmers. Between Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach, there are three small islands (Na Mokulua, which are two islands side by side, and Flat Island) that are accessible via paddle board, kayak or flat bottom boat. The clear turquoise water surrounding these islands is filled with tropical fish and other marine life. Depending on the time of the year, you may even encounter humpback whales, spinner dolphins and the elusive monk seal.
Today the town of Kaneohe is primarily a residential community with its commercial center located alongside Kamehameha Hwy. Most of the residential developments in Kaneohe are built around Kāne‘ohe Bay. Kaneohe Bay is the largest sheltered body of water in Hawaii measuring 12.7 km long and 4.3km wide. Coconut Island, commonly known as Giligan’s Island, is located in the southern area of the bay. Known in Hawaiian as Moku o Loe, Coconut Island is owned by the State and home to the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Visitors are not allowed on the island but there are boat rides that will take you near the island. Chinaman’s Hat is another prominent island located in the bay and is accessible by kayak.