While Kailua is a small town located on Hawaii’s windward side, the area is becoming a big destination spot for tourists as of late. The reasons are simple: gorgeous beaches, charming small-town feel, and breath-taking scenery. The Hawaiian town has caught the attention of the world, with U.S. President Barack Obama, and the First family vacationing there for their last seven Christmases.
And there is a good reason the Obama clan have chosen Kailua as their holiday destination. In fact, the incredible white-sandy beaches and reef-protected bays traditionally rank amongst NationalGeorgraphic.com’s top ten worldwide beaches list. As such, the town’s bay is also the perfect destination for water-enthusiasts who love paddle boarding, snorkeling, kayaking, and kite surfing; not to mention the surreal waters are incredible for those who love a good swim. The small town appeal of Kailua offers tourists a simpler way of vacationing, and is an excellent alternative to the busy shopping markets and chaos that some other warmer destinations spots offer; really providing a true Hawaiian cultural experience that many visitors thirst for. Lastly, Kailua offers tourists a once-in-lifetime experience at Island Snow; where visitors not only get to sample some shave ice, but is a great spot to cool down after basking in the Hawaiian sun and warmth all day. In fact, the spot is said to be President Obama’s favorite location within the entire town – ensuring he and his family visits the attraction, every time they are in Kailua for the holidays.
However, due to the increase in demand, the current hotels and bed and breakfasts simply cannot keep up with tourist requests. As such, many are turning to illegally renting homes. This has sparked a tremendous debate among locals. While some see the tourism increase as an excellent way to garner revenue for the town; others view it as descaling their communities. As these illegally rented homes are used for tourist, and not those wanting to actually move to the small down, some feel this decreases the opportunities to bring in families who would contribute to building the neighborhood through volunteerism and community pride.