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Kailua, Hawaii County, Hawaii

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Kailua, Big Island
Census-designated place
Kailua-Kona from Holualoa
Kailua-Kona from Holualoa
 • Total 39.8 sq mi (103.0 km2)
 • Land 39.8 sq mi (103.0 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 11,975
Time zone Hawaii-Aleutian (UTC-10)
ZIP code 96740
Area code(s) 808
FIPS code 15-23000
GNIS feature ID 365355

Kailua is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaiʻi.[1] The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaiʻi. Its post office is designated Kailua-Kona[2] to differentiate it from the larger Kailua located on windward Oʻahu, and it is sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech. The city is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP.[3] Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Hawaiʻi Earthquake.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demographics 3
    • 2000 Census data 3.1
  • Attractions and events 4
  • Notable Residents 5
  • Media 6
  • Education 7
  • Rising issues 8
  • Sister cities 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


King Kamehameha's court at Kailua-Kona, receiving Otto von Kotzebue in 1816.

The community was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated rule of the archipelago, and it later it became the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The capital later moved to Lāhainā, then, to Honolulu. Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. The town later functioned as a retreat of the Hawaiian royal family. Up until the late 1900s, Kailua-Kona was primarily a small fishing village.[4] In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the region has undergone a real estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.


Kailua is located at (19.649973, −155.994028),[5] along the shoreline of Kailua Bay and up the southern slope of Hualālai volcano. There are no major rivers or streams in Kailua or on the Kona side of Hawaii.[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 39.8 square miles (103 km2), of which, 35.5 square miles (92 km2) of it is land and 4.3 square miles (11 km2) of it is water. The total area is 10.71% water.

The Kailua-Kona postal code is 96745. Other communities located in this zip code include: Kalaoa, Kealakehe, Kahaluʻu, and Keauhou.


Kona has a tropical, semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with warm temperatures year-round, typical of its latitude in the tropics. The coolest month is February, with a daily average temperature of 74.6 °F (23.7 °C), while the warmest is August, with a daily average of 81.0 °F (27.2 °C). Humidity is generally between 50% and 70%. Kona is generally dry, with an average annual precipitation of 18.4 inches (467 mm). Mornings are typically clear while thermal clouds created in the day raise the temperature during the day.[6]

Climate data for Kailua Kona, Hawaii (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 81.6
Average low °F (°C) 68.2
Record low °F (°C) 56
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.41
Source: WRCC/NCDC[7][8]

Vog can cover parts of the Kona coast from time to time depending on the activity of the Kilauea volcano and the island winds. Kailua-Kona is located on the leeward side of the Hualalai Volcano sheltering the town from wind and rain.[4]


2000 Census data

Kailua from southern shore

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 9,870 people, 3,537 households, and 2,429 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 278.0 people per square mile (107.3/km²). There were 4,322 housing units at an average density of 121.7 per square mile (47.0/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 38.65% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 0.46% Native American, 18.28% Asian, 13.16% Pacific Islander, 1.93% from other races, and 27.07% from two or more races. 10.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,537 households out of which 35.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.8% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $40,874, and the median income for a family was $46,657. Males had a median income of $30,353 versus $26,471 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $20,624. 10.8% of the population and 6.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.9% of those under the age of 18 and 3.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Attractions and events

Kailua is the start and finish of the annual Ironman World Championship triathlon, the annual Kona Coffee Festival, and the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.

Kona coffee is the variety of Coffea arabica cultivated on the slopes of Hualālai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts.

Kailua Bay

Ali'i Drive (shown above), Kailua's oceanfront downtown street, starts at Kailua Pier. It has also been given the designation as a Hawaii Scenic Byway called the "Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast".[10] This byway offers archaeological sites that have survived over hundreds of years. Kailua Pier is the starting and finishing point for the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in October.[11] North of the pier is the Kamakahonu royal residence and Ahuʻena Heiau. Another royal residence is Huliheʻe Palace, used by members of the Hawaiian royal family until 1914.[12] The Historic Kona Inn and other shops are on the street. Churches on the drive include Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaiʻi's first Christian church built in 1820, and Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. Parks include Laʻaloa Bay (also known as Magic Sands or White Sands Beach) and Kahaluʻu Bay, which has some of Hawaii's best snorkeling.

Notable Residents

Kaleo Wassman, Bret Bollinger and Yesod Williams of the rock band Pepper are from Kailua-Kona.

Artist John Paul Thomas who established his studio and home in the Ali'l Kai Subdivision in 1970, to his death in 2001. He is buried in the Veterans Cemetery, North Kona.


Kailua-Kona is served by the newspaper West Hawaii Today which is owned by the Stephens Media Group.[13]


Hawaii Department of Education operates public schools. Kealakehe Elementary School, Kahakai Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, and Kealakehe High School are in the Kailua CDP.[14]

Rising issues

Kailua-Kona has been struck hard by the 2008 national financial crisis. With tourism down, restaurants and hotels are either closing down or scaling down their operations. The main restaurant drive, Ali'i drive, has been greatly plagued by closures of restaurants and stagnant economic growth. Debate has been spurred by recent plans to upgrade the Keahole International Airport by making it indoor with a jet way. Those for it believe it will provide for more comfort and modernness for tourists. Those opposed to the idea believe that it eliminates the unique Kona experience of landing on the tarmac, and actually walking out from the plane to one's destination, which thrills many first-comers and returners alike. Rising levels of vog have taken its toll on Kona citizens, prompting some to move to nearby, clean-air towns, such as Waikoloa and Waimea. There is a proposal to build a UH campus on the Kona side, in hopes that it would boost the local economy by providing more white collar jobs and spur upper level thinking. For now, online education provided from Hawaii Community College is a source of higher education for local residents.

Sister cities

Country City
 Djibouti City of Djibouti


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kailua Census Designated Place
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Kailua-Kona Post Office
  3. ^ "Kalaoa CDP, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Doughty, Andrew. Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, 4th ed, p. 58. Lihuʻe: Wizard. ISBN 978-0-9717279-4-6. ISBN 0-9717279-4-5.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  6. ^ a b Doughty, Andrew. Hawaii The Big Island Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook, 4th ed, p. 26. Lihuʻe: Wizard. ISBN 978-0-9717279-4-6. ISBN 0-9717279-4-5.
  7. ^ "Station Name: HI KAILUA KONA KE-AHOLE AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  8. ^ "Monthly Normals Kailua Kona Int'l AP, Hawaii". WRCC/NCDC. Retrieved August 31, 2011. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  10. ^ Hawaii Scenic Byway - Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast
  11. ^ "Course Maps: World Championship". Ironman official web site. Retrieved August 3, 2010. 
  12. ^ Kona Historical Society, 1997, A Guide to Old Kona, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0-8248-2010-7
  13. ^ "West Hawaii Today". official web site. Retrieved May 15, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Kailua CDP, Hawaii." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on May 21, 2009.

External links

  • Konaweb community web site
  • Kona Historical Society web site
  • Hawaii Scenic Byways
  • Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce web site
  • i County web siteʻNorth Kona shoreline access map at Hawai
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