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Get to know Kailua

Twelve miles northeast of Honolulu, tucked between towering mountains and a crescent-shaped beach, lies Kailua, a close-knit community that perfectly embodies the Aloha Spirit. Despite an upswing in popularity in recent years, Kailua has retained an easygoing personality. You won’t find shopping malls or major hotel and resort towers nearby. Instead, you’ll make friends in family-run cafés and farmers' markets — and along the way encounter some of the Oahu's best boutiques and restaurants. Of course, Hawaii's natural wonders unfold here, as well. The nearby Ka‘iwa Ridge trail offers an unforgettable 1.8-mile hike high above gorgeous Lanikai Beach — frequently named one of the best in the world thanks to its aquamarine waters, gentle rolling waves, and powdery sand.

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Living on Oahu

Nicknamed the Gathering Place, Oahu is for most visitors the gateway to the Hawaiian Islands. Arrival at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, named for Hawaii's long-serving U.S. senator, brings dazzling views of the Honolulu skyline and famed Waikiki Beach, the dramatic crater of Diamond Head, and the Ko'olau Range, a lush volcanic ridge commonly referred to as "the Pali." The island's verdant Leeward and Windward coasts are dotted by quiet rural communities and seldom-trodden beaches, and the windswept North Shore, with its renowned waves and 7 miles of sand, is renowned as the birthplace of surfing. In Honolulu, in contrast, is a bustling business hub of 400,000 people that's also home to vibrant shopping, dining, and arts scenes.