Kapolei Guide

5 stars from 1 reviews
Address , Kapolei, HI
A guide to the city of Kapolei, Oahu. Complete with history and modern day attractions like the Ko Olina Resort.

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Guide Series: Hawaii City Guides
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Kapolei is one of Oahu’s newest and fastest growing cities, but it wasn't always this way.


You'll find the city of Kapolei on the leeward, or west, side of the island of Oahu. More specifically, it's located on the southwest tip of the island. To the north is the Waianae Coast and to the east is the city of Ewa Beach. The 16 mile journey from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) takes around 25-30 minutes. If traffic is bad expect it to take a lot longer. You see, the one thing the developers didn't do is to create a road network that, well, works.

Another nearby airport is Kalaeloa Airport (JRF) which has recently started providing some inter-island flights. Still, the vast majority of flights on and off the island are still served by Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL).

Kapolei History

Back in 1877, James Campbell purchased 41,000 acres of land for $95,000 USD. After drilling Hawaii's first artesian well, he uncovered a huge amount of ground water. That water transformed once barren land into a thriving sugar plantation.

By 1955, the Estate of James Campbell first created the long term Ewa Master Plan. This plan would transform the land so it could be used for agricultural, commercial, industrial, and residential uses. The first tenant in this new master plan was Standard Oil, which today is Chevron.

In 1977, the City & County of Honolulu designated the Ewa Plains as Oahu's second city (the first being Honolulu) to accommodate future growth. And grow it did! Barbers Point Harbor was built in 1985 to allow for large ships to dock. A year later and ground breaks on the Ko Olina Resort.

Beginning in 1990, they broke ground on what will officially be the City of Kapolei. The following few years see the development of new housing and commercial buildings. The first official government building opened in 1998 and major additions have been happening ever since.

Kapolei Today

The city today has changed a lot in such a short span of time and continues to expand and grow daily. With less than 12,000 homes and 43,000 residents in 1990 to over 34,000 homes and 107,000 residents in 2015, it's easy to see why this is Oahu's second city. The city is expected to gain over 50% more homes and people over the next 20 years.

Major Attractions

The big attraction in Kapolei is the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. This master planned resort complex features a mix of residential housing along with hotels. Developers carved out four man made lagoons, complete with perfect sandy beaches. These picture perfect settings have attracted Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club, Aulani A Disney Resort And Spa, and the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina.

Inside the Ko Olina Resort you'll find plenty to see and do including several stores, restaurants, Paradise Cove Luau, and the Ko Olina Marina. Wet 'n' Wild Hawaii is a fun water park that's perfect for kids and adults alike. Golfers will enjoy the Ko Olina Golf Club or Barbers Point Golf Course.

Lynn F
Joined: Feb 2016
Reviews: 10
Likes Received: 4
Kapolei is a busy and growing city on the Western (Leeward) side of Oahu. It is a master-planned city and is known as "The Second City" of Oahu. The central area of Kapolei used to be mostly sugarcane, but it is now bustling with stores, homes, and multiple places to eat. Kapolei is surrounded by Makakilo, Ewa Beach, Waipahu, Ko Olina, and the Waianae coast. Changes are happening almost every day in Kapolei; it is the starting point for HART, or the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit, there is the fairly new University of Hawaii West Oahu Campus, the Kroc Center, and the very soon to be completed Ka Makana Alii, Hawaii's 3rd largest shopping mall.

This new mall will include over 75 shops and restaurants, two hotels, and a Consolidated theater. This is in addition to the new Regal Cinemas opening in the Kapolei Commons shopping area near Target and Sports Authority. Kapolei is also home to Costco, Down to Earth, Home Depot, and many other large retailers. There are also some of Hawaii's favorite places to eat in Kapolei. You can find every type of food that you could possibly be craving. Places to eat include Chun Wah Kam, Zippy's, Aloha Salads, Aloha Subs, and your general fast food restaurants. You can also find places like Ruby Tuesdays, Outback Steakhouse, Chilis Bar & Grill, Kua Aina, Denny's, and Assaggio's. There is a large number of homes in Kapolei, with multiple schools including elementary, middle & Kapolei High School, home of the Hurricanes.

There are lots of parks and you may even catch a hula halau doing their weekly practice. If you are looking for fun things to do, Kapolei has that too. You can hang out at Wet & Wild water park, drive a go-kart at K1 Speed, burn off some energy at iTrampoline, hit the batting cages at Batters Box Hawaii, get in some indoor ice hockey at Kapolei Inline Hockey Arena, or just hang out at one of the beaches, including White Plains Beach, which is a great place for families. You can swim or surf, there are lifeguards on duty, somewhat decent public restrooms, and areas for barbecuing. One of Kapolei's best-known beach areas is Ko Olina Resort, home to the Aulani Disney Resort and four beautiful lagoons for swimming and relaxing. Kapolei is a great place to live, work & play!
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