Oahu is the third-largest island in Hawaii. Despite covering an expanse of just 597 square miles, it’s home to around 1.43 million people. With so many people packed into such a small space, traffic and congestion can be a problem. Even so, there’s still plenty of tranquil spots that fulfill the fantasy of the perfect island getaway. For those who prefer the thrills and the spills of the big city, Honolulu is on hand to deliver the goods. If you dream of making Oahu your next permanent home, here are the ten best places to live in Oahu for your consideration.
On Oahu’s southern shores lies Hawaii’s largest city and state capital, Honolulu. If you dream of living in a bustling, vibrant city with a stunning beachside location, Honolulu makes a great choice. The city is already home to around 400,000 people, and it’s growing every day. Rental properties are easy to come by, while the median rent stands at an agreeable $1300 per month. The job market is healthy and the range of amenities on offer will be please even the most hardened city slicker. In fairness, it’s not the ideal base for people who dream of escaping the rat race. But if you’re willing to sacrifice tranquility for big-city thrills and spills, it’s perfect.
9. Mililani Mauka
The large suburban neighborhood of Mililani Mauka has a lot to offer, not least a stunning location on the fringe of the Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge. Easy access to Honolulu comes by way of its convenient position on Highway 2/201. Peaceful, close-knit, and infused with small-town charm, Mililani Mauka is an excellent destination for families and singletons looking to enjoy the tranquil beauty of Hawaii without giving up on the conveniences and comforts of city living.
With just 2,149 people to its name, the community of Maunawili feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. Yet appearances can be deceptive. The city is actually just a short hop, skip, and jump north of the state capital, making it an appealing base for commuters. Although amenities aren’t as extensive as they are in Honolulu, there are still more than enough shops, restaurants, and bars to keep residents entertained. Its stunning coastal location also affords plenty by way of outdoor recreation. As you’d expect of such a desirable location, property prices are steep: if you want to set up camp here, don’t expect much change from $1 million. On the plus side, the vast majority of properties are exceptional, coming with swimming pools, sports courts, and acres of manicured grounds.
Kahala is a small, upscale neighborhood located on the southern shore of Oahu. As you’d expect from one of the island’s most coveted areas, the median home value is no laughing matter: expect to part with upwards of $700,000 for a single-family home. Fortunately, you get a lot of return for your investment, including access to some of the best white sand beaches in the area. Amenities are bountiful and include a multiplex, a Whole Foods Market, and dozens of smaller retailers. Thanks to its location off the beaten path, it’s relatively free of tourists, resulting in a low-key, blissfully tranquil vibe.
Travel just 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu and you’ll stumble on the small community of Manoa. Despite sitting on the doorstep of the capital city, Manoa is gorgeously peaceful. Very few tourists make it to the town, resulting in a close-knit community and mercifully little traffic. Its array of parks and hiking trails will keep outdoor enthusiasts happy, as will its easy access to the area’s beaches. The well-stocked Manoa Marketplace offers all the essentials for day-to-day life. If you need anything it doesn’t stock, Honolulu is only a short drive away. If all that wasn’t enough, it also boasts some great schools, including the private Punahou K-12 school which counts President Obama among its former students.
5. Hawaii Kai
As Hawaii Life comments, some of the best neighborhoods in Oahu are set on the lush green slopes of the island’s Windward side. Among them is Hawaii Kai, a gorgeous neighborhood that was developed by the real estate magnate Henry Kaiser in the 1960s. The neighborhood packs a lot into its small size, including a marina, a golf course, and plenty of great shopping opportunities. The schools have a great reputation, making it a popular destination for families. Its one pitfall is its property prices: with a median home value of $950,000, Hawaii Kai isn’t the place for the cash-strapped.
4. Ewa Beach
Ewa Beach is located on the southwest edge of Oahu. Although the southwest is more developed and commercialized than the northern shore, it’s blessed with superior infrastructure, allowing easy access to all the attractions of the area and to the job and recreation offerings of the state capital. Despite being relatively small, Ewa Beach boasts all the essential amenities you’ll need for a comfortable life. Even better, its median home value of just $620,000 makes it one of the most affordable destinations in the area.
Waianae has a lot to recommend it, not least a median home value that List With Clever ranks as one of the lowest in Hawaii. For just $322,000, you could get a very attractive single-family home in the community. In fairness, its cost of living index is higher than the US average, but it’s still much more affordable than the rest of Hawaii. Amenities are excellent and the nearby beaches are pristine and blissfully uncrowded.
Laie is located on the quiet north shore of Oahu. In general, the north is far less crowded and touristy than the south. Although the relatively undeveloped infrastructure can make commuting to other parts of the island a challenge, it’s not without its perks. The vibe is decidedly friendly and low key, supporting a relaxed, easy-going lifestyle that’s perfect for people who dream of escaping the crowds. At $950,000 for a single-family home, it’s certainly not the cheapest place in Oahu to live. It is, however, definitely one of the best.
1. Mililani Town
Mililani Town is a small city located just northeast of Honolulu. According to The Crazy Tourist, the city is ‘true Hawaii’, combining as it does the military history of the area with the island’s picturesque natural landscapes. Although a trip to nearby Honolulu will be needed for specialty items, there are enough shops on hand to keep residents in essentials. There are also plenty of small, family-owned restaurants to enjoy. With just over 28,000 people, the city doesn’t compare to Honolulu in terms of size, but it’s more than a match for the state capital in terms of charm.