One of the best places to travel in the world is the breathtaking Aloha state in the United States. The Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the most beautiful beaches and landscapes in the world with some of them carrying active volcanoes.
Depending on the island, there can be high-rise hotels along the beach or small bungalows and beach houses with their own private space.
Hawaii is a great place to take part in outdoor activities, especially if you love spending time on golf courses, and tennis courts. The major islands also provide plenty of stunning waterfalls and hiking trails overlooking volcanic landscapes for nature lovers.
When it comes to the housing market in Hawaii it can seem quite expensive but it depends on the location. Most places have local grocery stores, public schools with some schools achieving a performance above the national average.
The most popular islands might not have the cheapest places, so it’s viable that you do your research.
Some of the volcanic islands are home to more locals than tourists with a strong sense of community drawing back to the values of the Hawaiian people.
Here’s the scoop on the best places to live in Hawaii!
Living in Hawaii Guide
1. Maunawili, Oahu
Maunawili is a peaceful neighborhood nestled against the Olomana section of the Koolau Mountains. The small neighborhood is made up of lush vegetation, tropical plants, and streams beside many homes. This secluded neighborhood in Oahu is purely residential with no hint of tourism.
You can easily walk to a local market for a taste of Hawaiian culture.
However, the small residential community is only five minutes away from shops and restaurants in Kailua Town and 25 minutes from Downtown Honolulu. These single-family homes also have easy access to a golf course and a few hiking trails.
2. Waikele, Oahu
Live in the suburbs of Honolulu with Waikele on the island of Oahu, home to Kaneohe Bay! With an above-average school system, this dense town ensures kids receive some of the best education on the island.
Most of the residents in Waikele own a home but some of them are listed as rental properties with fairly expensive monthly rates.
The family-oriented island has plenty of parks, a community center, and a swimming pool. The neighborhood is also one of the safest on the island with easy access to shops and restaurants. You won’t find a shortage of shopping centers here.
3. Kailua, Oahu
Kailua is the safest place with low crime rate and is one of the best places to live in Hawaii on the east coast of Oahu. This town is known for its sandy beaches on Kailua Bay with endless opportunities to try out water sports at Kailua Beach Park and Kalama Beach Park.
On the quieter side of the main island, Kailua is a beautiful place that allows visitors to connect with nature and learn more about the town’s historic connection with World War II.
The beachy town showcases the stunning cliffs of the Koolau Mountains and Kailua Bay with easy access to boutiques and restaurants.
4. Kapolei, Oahu
Known as the second city in Oahu, Kapolei has a seamless learning community as well as established healthcare places making it an ideal place for people looking to move to Hawaii. The city is also a shopping and dining haven with endless diverse activities.
The most exciting parts about Kapolei are a large water park, a beautiful golf course, and three lagoons at the Disney Aulani Resort.
5. Kula, Maui
Experience a connection with nature in Kula, a district in Maui. This district is located in the scenic upcountry Maui region right on the hills of Haleakala Volcano. This region in Hawaii has great access to colorful flower farms, farmland, and views of the Pacific Ocean.
The best things to do in Kula are Surfing Goat Dairy, Kula Botanical Gardens, and the Kula Country Farms.
6. Lahaina, Maui
A census-designated place in Hawaii, Lahaina in West Maui is a central hub for history, art galleries, restaurants, and beaches. Since Lahaina use to be the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the historic town is dripping with history dating back to the early 19th century.
Visitors can explore this Maui town and come across Maui’s oldest living banyan tree or the Pioneer Inn. This is a great place to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture with a plethora of entertainment.
7. Princeville, Kauai
Located on the north shore of Kauai, Princeville is one of the best places to live in Hawaii for people looking to escape the tourist areas of Hawaii. However, Princeville is on the pricey side with an exclusive resort and golf courses.
Choose between a condo or a home while diving into the area’s pristine natural beauty. Princeville is home to the gorgeous Queen’s Bath, Hanalei Bay, and Hideaways Beach.
Known as the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu has the largest community and is one of the most popular locations to relocate to due to the city being in close proximity to shopping, dining, and hiking.
Honolulu is also famous for its bustling nightlife and breathtaking beaches backed by palm trees and high-rise hotels. Waikiki beach is the most popular place to go. The city also provides a view of Diamond Head in East Honolulu, the state capital, and a cultural center for a background of the Hawaiian people’s heritage.
Compared to residential communities on the Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu is more tourist based with a strong economy and has fewer opportunities to soak in the local culture. The median household income to live here is around $80,000 a year. The best high school is Moanalua High School.
9. Pearl City, Oahu
Time to relocate to the beautiful community of Pearl City along the north shore of Pearl Harbor. Other than the place drawing remembrance from the Japanese attack in 1941, Pearl City is a great location to stray away from tourists while also being within driving distance from Downtown Honolulu.
The family-friendly place is home to beautiful hiking trails, parks, parties, and shopping.
10. Hilo, Big Island
Hilo is an outdoor enthusiasts and nature lover’s paradise and with calming, lush landscapes that overlook Hilo Bay. This town is known as the capital of the Big Island and is often on the rainy side of the island. The charming town of Downtown Hilo has an array of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
If you decide to buy a property here, you won’t have to worry about your child recieving good education as this area has great schools but the median home value is around $800,000.
For a taste of the local culture, visit Hilo Farmer’s Market to buy produce and crafts. The best places to explore are the Rainbow Falls, Kaumana Caves, Liliuokalani Gardens, and the Pacific Tsunami Museum.
11. Mililani, Oahu
Just like most places in Hawaii, Mililani is an expensive city to live in but boasts plenty of family-oriented activities like recreation centers and parks.
The nightlife isn’t at the forefront of this city like in Honolulu, but visitors can still expect to come across one or two bars and restaurants with live music.
12. Ocean Pointe, Oahu
Ocean Pointe is a housing development community in Oahu, specifically in the Ewa District. The modern housing area is a suburb with a population of over 15,000 people.
Ocean Pointe is one of the best places to live in Hawaii for adventurous people and is home to the Coral Crater Adventure Park, White Plains Beach, and Kahe Point Beach Park.
13. Waimea, Hawaii
Take ranching style to the next level by relocating to Waimea! The town sticks to its cowboy culture laying out a list of activities like rodeos and horseback riding for visitors and locals.
Besides the country-style living culture, the area is filled with rolling hills and green pastures for ranches and cattle.
However, Waimea is known for so much more than their paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy). This region of Hawaii has a thriving community blended with local food and culture. Visitors can also witness special performances by renowned musicians at the Kahilu Theatre or visit the Waimea Canyon State Park.
14. Kealakekua, Big Island
A place meaning “the pathway of the God,” Kealakekua Bay is a small village bordered by volcanic mountains. The most famous aspect of this area on the largest island is that it was the landing spot for Captain Cook who sailed into the bay back in 1779.
Moreover, at the base of the cliffs, Kealakekua has some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in all of Hawaii.
It is also an ideal place to witness the beauty of wildlife in their natural habitats like sea turtles and dolphins. The median income of this small community is slightly cheaper coming in at $66,000.
15. Makawao, Maui
One of the best places to live in Hawaii is the rural town of Makawao. Similar to other small towns, this region is also considered to be filled with paniolo and offers horseback riding and other upcountry activities.
The quaint town has a plethora of art galleries, and gift shops without having to travel for souvenirs for the local culture.
The best things to do in Makawao are the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, the Sacred Garden of Maliko, and the Makai Glass Maui.
16. Mililani Mauka, Hawaii
A community across from Mililani town, Mililani Mauka consists of a rural neighborhood and is known to be the crown jewel of central Oahu.
Since the area is located near Mililani, visitors and locals have access to the farmers market, Mari’s Gardens, the town center, and the Mililani Golf Club. This is one of the best areas to settle down in with the best schools.
17. Kahuku, Oahu
Relocate to the small island town of Kahuku on Oahu’s northeastern coast which is home to many native animal species and a ton of green spaces. When visiting the town, make sure to book the 2-hour shark dive and the North Shore snorkeling tour.
This spot in Oahu is also popular with people who love to fish as well as beach lovers with its breathtaking selection of white sand beaches.
18. Kapa’a, Kauai
Away from the busy tourist areas, Kapa’a is a tight-knit community with plenty of white sand beaches and colorful storefronts. The median rent is around $2,500 a month for a 1 bedroom and 1 bath.
This laid-back place in the Hawaii Island, Kauai brings in delicious local cuisine with several stunning resorts, waterfalls, and markets.
19. Wailuku, Maui
Discover a charming town at the bottom of the West Maui mountains. Wailuku, the capital city of Maui, is the perfect place to explore Mom and Pops shops with a plethora of historical and cultural attractions like the Wailuku River State Park.
This area in Maui also provides the ideal getaway with the lush, Iao Valley. The laid-back neighborhood is ideal for families but can be fairly expensive like other parts of the island.
20. Paia, Maui
One of the best cities in Hawaii is Maui, which is home to the cute town, Paia and Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Paia is a surf paradise that is geared toward tourists and offers beautiful boutiques and gift shops.
If you want a simple lifestyle in Hawaii, Paia is one of the best places to live in the aloha state if you have a little extra money to spend on housing. The median home price in real estate is around $1.1 million, which is a little more than the state average.
One that makes this region stand out amongst other areas is the Bohemian-style town with old, rustic storefronts. Connect with nature and the local culture when living in Paia.
21. Hanalei, Kauai
A small town on the north shore of Kauai, Hanalei is home to a crescent-shaped beach with a great surf area for ambitious visitors and locals.
This charming town is also near Princeville with its own historic places and galleries. The Hanalei Pier is one of the best places for families who love swimming, fishing, and playing music.
22. Haleiwa, Oahu
Haleiwa gives visitors the opportunity to soak in local artists that are often free for the public.
This town has plenty of residential areas and also has a strong sense of history with several buildings dating back to when plantations were common. This small town is a perfect getaway from the crowds and has good schools for children wanting to grow academically.
After exploring the history, spend the rest of the day laying on beautiful beaches like Laniakea Beach.
23. Waipahu, Oahu
A plantation town in Oahu, Waipahu is famous for its sugar mill and Hans L’Orange Park. The town is located in the southern portion of Oahu and is home to middle-class families. If you live in Waipahu, you can visit Pearl Harbor and the Waikele Outlets.
24. Waimalu, Hawaii
Near Pearl City, Waimalu is one of the best places to live in Hawaii due to the inexpensive housing properties despite close proximity to Honolulu. The property prices start at around $200,000 with a diverse collection of condos, apartments, and houses.
The diverse set of residents and the outstanding historic landmarks keep the area vibrant and lively.
25. Laupahoehoe, Big Island
Find your own coastal paradise by relocating to Laupahoehoe. Tucked within green sea cliffs, Laupahoehoe Beach offers stunning views of the lush vegetation and ocean.
This place is also in the district of Hilo with plenty of outdoor and indoor activities. The close-knit community brings a welcoming atmosphere to visitors and is home to a few luxurious estates.
The US average for owning a home is much more expensive than in other parts of the world. In Hawaii, most locations have a high cost of living despite the number of tourists, so it might not be one of the most affordable places in North America.
It is wise to choose the town or city that best fits your budget when moving to Hawaii. The average salary can vary depending on the area and island.
Even though Hawaii is not a state that is big on public transportation except for cities like Honolulu, most locations can be easily accessible with a vehicle and offer plenty of job opportunities since the state no longer has the highest uemployment rate.
The tropical climate brings visitors of all kinds to the popular tourist destination with enough outdoor activities like visiting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to always discover something new whether it’s a popular waterfall or a rare hidden gem.
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