Hawaiʻi Kai is a largely residential area located in the City & County of Honolulu, in East Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu. Hawaiʻi Kai is the largest of several communities at the eastern end of the island. The area was largely developed by Henry J. Kaiser around the ancient Maunalua fishpond and wetlands area known as Kuapā (meaning "fishpond wall").
The Hawaiʻi Kai or Koko Marina was dredged from Kuapā Pond starting around 1959. Dredging not only transformed the shallow coastal inlet and wetlands into a marina, but was accompanied by considerable filling and clearing of the pond margins. In 1961, Kaiser-Aetna entered into a lease agreement with the land owner, the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate, to develop the 521 acre (2.11 km²) fishpond into residential tracts with a marina and channels separated by fingers of land and islands upon which house lots and commercial properties would be laid out and developed (ACOE, 1975). Nearly all of the low-lying lands surrounding the marina have since been developed, and neighborhoods now extend back into the several valleys and up the separating ridges.
Maunalua Bay curves along Kalanianaole Highway and is just a short drive from Waikiki or the Windward side. Hawaii Kai's Town Center is located just across the street, with plenty of food options and anything else you might need during a day at the beach.
Since it is a bay, the water is calm, clear, and shallow. It's a popular kayaking, canoeing, and SUP spot, and you'll likely see numerous fishing lines scattered down the beach as well as families set up in the sand.
In addition to paddling activities, it's a favorite on the island for parasailing and jet skiing. The boat launch provides easy access to the ocean and during the winter months, the area is a popular playground for humpback whales.
Although Maunalua Bay is suited more for fishing and other water activities rather than swimming, you will see young children splashing around in the shallow water and, sometimes, snorkelers exploring the clear bay.
The Hawaii Kai Towne Center, anchored by Costco, is home to a variety of shops and restaurants, and hosts live entertainment and family-friendly events throughout the year. Neighboring Koko Marina includes Consolidated Theatres, 24-Hour Fitness and Kona Brewing Company, which overlooks the marina.
Families are drawn to Hawaii Kai’s wide sidewalks, ample parks and recreation facilities, and its mix of low-maintenance condominiums and single-level homes alongside some of Oahu’s grandest luxury estates. Water-sports enthusiasts enjoy body-surfing at legendary Sandy Beach, snorkeling at world-famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, and paddling, boating or kayaking at Maunalua Bay Beach Park. A pet-friendly community, the Hawaii Kai Dog Park and the nearby Makapu’u Point Trail are popular stops for residents and their four-legged companions. Come and enjoy the east side!
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