Hawaii is famous for its postcard-pretty beaches, amazing natural scenery and tropical climate. Sounds like it’s a dream paradise for most people, right?
But you will have to consider the “livability” factor, whether you want to live in Hawaii permanently or temporarily. It depends on many things, which may include: cost of living, job opportunities, access to education, safety, crime rate and local amenities. You really have to ponder on these points to help you decide whether some places in Hawaii are really a good fit to live, or not.
One of the reasons of wanting to visit and live in Hawaii is its numerous gorgeous beaches, with many of them untouched by commercialism. Imagine that — paradise awaits you just a few feet away as you step outside of your abode! Check out “Top Beaches of Hawaii” to discover some of its most popular and beautiful beaches.
To help you out a little further, let’s explore five of the best places in the Aloha State:
Honolulu, as you know, is Hawaii’s capital and largest city, home to almost 400,000 people. Located on the island of Oahu, Honolulu is one of the island’s major tourist destinations. The Waikiki beach is a popular tourist attraction with its several hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops and places to have some good fun and great nightlife. Honolulu is very much an urbanized city, with towering skyscrapers, commercial properties and residential communities sitting just between the shores and the mountains. Tourism alone has brought in over $10 billion to the capital. Aside from its major tourism sector, Honolulu also has a thriving banking and manufacturing business.
As it is an urbanized area, Honolulu has plenty of opportunities to live, with rental properties available. The average monthly rent can go up to $1300, which is pretty reasonable, as you can have access to most of the transportation and amenities (not to mention a stunning beach just a short drive away).
However, Honolulu is densely populated compared to other cities and towns and Hawaii. So if you have some concerns about safety and living in a heavily-populated area, you may consider the other following suggestions:
Munawili is a census-designated place located just north of Honolulu. Considered one of the best places to live in Hawaii, the community is home to only 2,040 people. Maunawili is more of a suburban type of community, although the coastal vibe is still persistent.
However, living in Maunawili can be a bit steep. If you have a million dollars to invest in a new home, for instance, the average residential property value is almost $915,000, but at least you’ll still get a change from your money. Most homes in Maunawili are quite modern and spacious.
According to the 2000 census, the median income for a household in Maunawili is $82,148 and the median income for an entire family is $84,294. However, the disparity between the income for males and income for females is quite significant – $51,078 and $36,324, respectively. This has to be considered seriously if you’re a female professional looking for a much higher pay.
From Oahu, let’s go over to the Hawaii state’s biggest island, the Island of Hawaii. Hilo is the island’s biggest city which overlooks a couple of volcanoes, Mauna Loa (an active volcano) and Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano). In fact, Hilo was partly built from Mauna Loa’s lava flows. Like many other cities and towns in Hawaii, Hilo heavily derives its economy from tourism. Hilo is unique in that it is the only place in the world where you could find a museum devoted only to tsunamis. It also has several shopping centers, restaurants, cafes, hotels, as well as an international airport.
Hilo has a population of 43,263 in an area of about 58 square miles, just slightly smaller to Honolulu (which has an area of 68.4 sq. mi. and a population of almost 400,000). So if you want to live in a place with complete amenities but you hate to live in a populous environment, Hilo can offer that to you.
4) Ocean Pointe
Ocean Pointe is a coastal town located on Oahu Island, home to about 8,000 people.
Developed by Haseko Corporation during the 1990s, Ocean Pointe is one of the relatively new communities on Oahu. Ocean Pointe has fast become a popular place especially for real estate business. It has also become a big magnet for millennials who are looking for a great place to settle, work and play.
There are plenty of excellent residential options in this lovely, family-friendly community, as well as amenities including two elementary schools, a middle school as well as a private school. There are also shops, cafes, gyms, restaurants and lots of parks.
However, the cost of living in Ocean Pointe is pretty steep for an average American family, as median property rates go around $540,000. But what you’ll get are the quality housing and local amenities. Ocean Pointe also enjoys a low crime rate (19% lower than the rest of Hawaii) so there’s additional peace of mind too. Add those things with its proximity to the beach, and Ocean Pointe has all the makings of a near-perfect community to live and work.
Kailua is a city on the Island of Hawaii. Residents just love living in Kailua not just because of its picturesque scenery, although the city boasts some attractions such as Kahana and Lanikai beaches, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and Maunawili Falls Hike.
There are several schools in Kailua that give parents plenty of options. Public transport there is absolutely accessible, making commuting (and living, in general) in Kailua definitely a lot easier.
The early 2010s saw Kailua rising from its slump and now it enjoys a significant economic development. Kailua’s median household income is around $94,000, almost double the national average (take note – not just the entire state, but national). As you can expect, property rates are pretty steep in Kailua – and properties located right on the beach obviously command higher prices.
Among the amenities in Kailua are shopping centers, fitness gyms, cafes, restaurants, several parks as well as public and private schools.
Kaneohe is a residential community situated in the city and county of Honolulu. Tourist spots include three golf courses, the Kaneohe bay where you can do boating and kayaking, and the award-winning Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden. There are good schools in the area, including the Windward Community College (which is run by the state). As for food, you can enjoy the best and the freshest catches of the day.
Waipahu is a former sugarcane plantation town, located on the southern part of Oahu. For those who have been to Waipahu, they will most likely remember the town’s biggest shopping center, the Waikele Outlets. There are two high school districts that serve residents, while the Hawaii Plantation Village remains the town’s most popular tourist attraction.
If you look at Princeville from the bird’s-eye view, it’s as if you’re looking at a real-life version of a town from The Sims game — it is everyone’s idea of a utopian paradise. Well, actually, Princeville is an upscale, master-planned community on the north portion of Kauai. You can find houses and condo-style apartments there, whose price tags go up to $3 million mark, although you can find more affordable options there. It also boasts the best public schools. Not far away from Princeville you can find scenic spots such as Queen’s Bath and Hanalei Pier. Once you set foot in Princeville, it’s certain that you will fall in love with it right away, and never wish to leave!
9) Pearl City
Going back to Oahu once again, you can find another great place called Pearl City which is located just north of the Honolulu International Airport. For the connoisseurs of war history in particular, they will surely have a field day at the city’s most popular attraction, the Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese launched a surprise military attack in 1941. While it is a great place to live, relax and do business here, Pearl City has more affordable housing options compared to the other areas in Hawaii, making the city more attractive especially for budget house-hunters.
If you are a big fan of shopping, then Kahului on the island of Maui might be right up your alley. It is Hawaii’s retail hub, and credit that designation to a plethora of commercial stores and shopping centers. It is also the home of several light industrial areas. It boasts good schools, such as Maui High School and Maui Waena Intermediate School, that produce high achievers. The Kahului Airport serves both domestic and international flights.