The Best Places to Live in Hawaii

Aloha, fellow Hawaii dreamers!

I get it – you’re searching for that perfect slice of paradise to call home. But with so many beautiful and unique options in this tropical haven, where do you even start? Well, fear not, because my boyfriend and I embarked on the ultimate Hawaiian adventure to help make your decision a little easier.

You see, we didn’t want to just wing it – we wanted to find the absolute best spots Hawaii has to offer. So we dove deep into each island’s communities, visiting towns and neighborhoods from a buyer’s perspective. We even lived as locals for a bit (best few months ever!), experiencing first-hand what makes each location special.

With years of travel experience under our belts, we poured our energy into closely examining factors like housing prices, schools, job opportunities, crime rates – all that important stuff that’ll help make sure you’re getting the most out of your new life in paradise.

Warning: After reading this article, you may find yourself daydreaming about palm trees swaying gently outside your window or sipping Mai Tais on the beach after work. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

So let’s dive into those enchanting shores together and uncover the true gems of Hawaii living. Ready? Let’s go!


Consistently voted the best place to live in Hawaii, Maunawili is a suburban neighborhood in Honolulu, Oahu, with a population touching 2000 and quiet surroundings. 

Maunawili has a good education system in place through public schools, low crime rates, and closeness to nature through the nearby Kailua beach park.  

In addition, the homes in Maunawili are well-maintained, spacious, and modern, with most having their own pools and gardens. 

Here’s why we consider Maunawili one of the best places to live in Hawaii:

  • The community is ideal for families with younger children in terms of safety and a great society. 
  • The area gives a rural feeling as most people own their homes. 
  • The median home value is $900,000+ in Maunawili, which is well worth the neighborhood. 


As the capital city of Hawaii, Honolulu is a terrific place to live for people seeking an urban lifestyle close to the city. The population falls at 400,000 in Honolulu, the most densely populated city in Hawaii. 

Honolulu offers a terrific public schooling system, low crime rates, and a lively town life with nearby bars, restaurants, and shopping centers. 

There is diversity in the population, many good opportunities for employability, and a great housing market to choose single-family homes, apartments, and condos. 

My boyfriend and I have spent months in Honolulu and even rented an apartment for a short period, so we consider it one of the best places to live in Hawaii. Here’s why you will too:

  • The neighborhoods in Honolulu are good for families, couples, and the elderly.
  • Downtown Honolulu has many botanical gardens, parks, and many public spaces to engage in. 
  • The housing prices are high, but you can rent an apartment for $1300/month in a good area.


Not to be mistaken with Kailua on Big Island, this densely populated neighborhood lies in suburban Honolulu and is a great community to live in away from the crowded city. Kailua has a population of 37,000+ people and a close-knit feeling to the town. 

There are plenty of schooling options in Kailua, very low crime rates, and a great public transportation system which makes commuting to the city easy. 

The area is considered a well-developed neighborhood of Hawaii, has good employment opportunities, and plenty of parks and restaurants nearby to give it a town feel. 

Here’s why we consider Kailua one of the best places to live in Hawaii:

  • It’s great for families and retirees wanting to own their homes. 
  • Properties are set right on the beach, with many secluded patches of shore accompanying properties.
  • The housing prices compete with Maunawili at $992,000, as the community is a favorite for second-home buyers.


If you’re looking to live in a developed neighborhood close to Hawaii’s natural beauty, Mililani is the place for you. With 27,000+ residents, and a secluded, suburban feeling, Mililani is a great neighborhood for families, retirees, and the elderly. 

The schooling in Mililani is mostly public, with zero to no crime rates and a terrific local community with many family-owned shops and restaurants. 

There are fewer niches for employment than in the larger neighborhoods and cities, but this is ideal for Mililani as its cost of living is also lower. 

My boyfriend and I have friends living in Mililani, and every time we visit, it’s like staying in a private corner of Oahu. Here’s why we consider it one of the best places to live in Hawaii:

  • There are plenty of markets for daily necessities and transportation leading to the city.
  • The housing market is more affordable than other Hawaiian neighborhoods, at $683,000 for single-family homes. 
  • With 45 schools, Mililani is ranked as the neighborhood with the best schools in Hawaii. 


Last but not least on our list is Hilo, a densely populated neighborhood on the Big Island, whose well-developed and peaceful community makes it a favorite for retirees. With 45,000+ residents, Hilo has a suburban feel, and most residents own their own homes. 

Hilo is known for its beautiful rainforests, good weather conditions, non-existent crime, and many historical sites, which makes it a great place for settling long-term. 

In addition, Hilo is steeped in art galleries, beautiful parks, and museums, which makes it a very cultured place to live. 

Here’s why we consider it one of the best places to live in Hawaii:

  • Hilo has good public schooling and a safe community, making it ideal for families. 
  • The housing prices are some of the lowest in Hawaii, at $341,500, with rents as low as $900.
  • It has great farmers markets, local stores, and eateries, making the neighborhood self-sufficient. 

Wrap-Up: Best Places to Live in Hawaii

If you’re coming to Hawaii to buy a home, rest assured there are terrific places to make your permanent residence from the state’s many safe towns and cities. You can find places for your family, retirees, couples, and professionals in Hawaii which are well-developed and offer all the amenities of a place on the Mainland. 

Need a cheap place to settle in Hawaii? Consider Hilo on the Big Island and Mililani on Oahu. 

Looking for an urban place close to the city in Hawaii? Consider Honolulu, which is in the heart of Oahu.

Need a place to settle with your family in Hawaii? Try Maunawili, Kailua, and Mililani in Oahu. 

The best places to stay in Hawaii promise everything you need in a home!

Last Updated on April 3, 2023 by Brigitte