Kailua, also known by its post office designation Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from Kailua located on the windward side of Oʻahu island, and sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech, is an unincorporated town (Census Designated Place) in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census, up from 9,870 at the 2000 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaiʻi. Kailua-Kona is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP. Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.
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 in 1795. It was later designated as the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi. The capital was later moved to Lāhainā, and 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.