Moving To & Living In Oahu, HI - The Definitive Guide | 2023 Edition
Moving to Oahu
Possibly the most beautiful place on earth, Oahu is a dream vacation destination for many people, and living on the island full of sunshine, beaches, and clear water is like owning a piece of paradise. The third largest of the eight Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, is located in the Pacific Ocean, 2,100 miles from the coast of the United States. Oahu is home to some of the most iconic destinations, including Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Hanauma, Kaneohe Bay, Kailua Bay, North Shore, and the famous Lanikai Beach. Visitors can’t get enough of the beautiful bright flowers, velvet-sand beaches with the clearest water, incredible views, waterfalls, and so much more. If you're preparing and planning to move to Hawaii, it’s clear why the island of Oahu might be your top choice.
What are the Best Places to Live on Oahu?
It depends on what kind of lifestyle you're looking for. Check out our Oahu Neighborhood Tours below and you be the judge!
What is Real Estate like in Oahu?
There are over 309,000 housing units on Oahu. The average Oahu home price is around $1,000,000 with Oahu condo prices hovering around $480,000. The majority of homes were built between 1960 to 1980 but within the last decade there's been an incredible influx of Oahu New Homes being developed in various communities on island. Neigborhoods like Kakaako and Ala Moana are seeing their skylines transformed with new Honolulu condos popping up every year while communities like Ewa Beach and Waipio are seeing new suburbs created in the Hoopili and Koa Ridge master plans.
For ALL things to know about the Oahu Real Estate Market visit our blog, Understanding Oahu Real Estate where you'll find detailed insights into home prices, new construction neighborhoods, Oahu short term rentals, property taxes, and more!
Check out our neighborhood guides below for the most comprensive understanding of what it's like to live and own in each community!
Median Home Price $1,200,000. Located on the southern coast of Oahu, about 5 miles from Honolulu. Between Hawaii Kai & Metro Honolulu. Known for its' convenience to restaurants, shopping, and entertainment of Honolulu. Many hillside communities with incredible city and Ocean views. Also home to some of the most expensive real estate in Honolulu. Closest Beaches: <5 mins from Waikiki & Kahala BeachView Community
Median Home Price $840,000. Located in West Oahu, about 20 miles from Honolulu. Between Waipahu & Kapolei. Known for its new developments like Hoopili, up and coming commercial retail, family-friendly atmosphere. Popular community for military personnel due to proximity to Schofield Barracks Hawaii & Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. Closest Beaches: <5mins from Hau Bush, White PlainsView Community
Median Home Price $1,200,000. Located on the southeastern coast of Oahu, about 12 miles from Honolulu. Between Waimanalo & Diamond Head region. Known for its marina and waterfront properties, as well as its proximity to popular hiking trails like Koko Head Trail. Popular boating community and one of the best places to live in Oahu. Closest Beaches: <5 mins from Sandy Beach, Hanauma BayView Community
Median Home Price $1,400,000. Located on the Windward side of the island, about 20 miles from Honolulu. Between Kaneohe & Waimanalo. Known for its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and laid-back lifestyle. Highly regarded as one of the best places to live in Hawaii. Near Marine Corp Base Hawaii. Closest Beaches: walking distance for most to Kailua Beach and Lanikai BeachView Community
Median Home Price $793,000. Located in West Oahu, about 20 miles from Honolulu. Deemed the "Second City" of Oahu, between Ewa Beach & Waianae. Known for its growing community, easy access to shopping and dining options, and home to Ko Olina Resort. Closest Beaches: 5-10 minutes from White Plains, Hau Bush, Ko Olina LagoonsView Community
Median Home Price $813,000. Kapolei hillside community in West Oahu, Located about 18 miles from Honolulu. Known for its panoramic ocean views with close proximity to Ko Olina resort. Closest Beaches: 10 minutes to Ko Olina Lagoons, White Plains Beach, Hau BushView Community
Located in Central Oahu, about 18 miles from Honolulu. Between Wahiawa and Pearl City. Generally perceived as one of the most family friendly neighborhoods in Oahu for families due to schools, s, and vast number of parks and recreation centers. Near Schofield Barracks Hawaii. Closest Beaches: 20-25 minutes to Waimea Bay, Sunset BeachView Community
Median Home Price: $1,200,000. Located on the Northern coast of Oahu, opposite of Honolulu, about 45 miles away. Known for iconic Haleiwa Town, world-famous surf spots and rural, relaxed atmosphere. Closest Beaches: Everywhere you look!View Community
Median home price: $920,000. Located in Central Oahu, about 13 miles from Honolulu. Between Honolulu & Waipahu. Minutes from Honolulu Airport and Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. Known for its military presence and easy access to the freeway. Closest Beaches: 20 minutes to Sand Island Beach, Ala Moana Beach ParkView Community
Median Home Price $630,000. Located on the western coast of Oahu, about 30 miles from Honolulu. Known for its rural, beachside community. One of the most affordable places to live on Oahu. Close proximity to Ko Olina Resort, Kapolei, & Ewa Beach. Nearest Beaches: 5-10 minutes from Makaha Beach, Yokohamas, Maili Beach, TracksView Community
Interesting Facts About Oahu
- Oahu has the highest population among the eight islands and is home to about 75% of the total population in Hawaii.
- Hawaii’s state capital is Honolulu, Oahu, and there are many buildings with architecture reflecting the Hawaiian Monarchy.
- The North Shore Oahu beaches are a famous destination for surfers and among the top-rated in the whole world.
- Waikiki has around 100 hotels.
- Waikiki is the hub for tourism on all of Oahu, and it features the South Shore.
- Oahu is known as ‘The Gathering Place.’
Depending on where you live on the island, there are different preferred methods of transportation. North Shore living will require residents to have their own cars as it’s not very transit accessible. The rest of Oahu is served by TheBus, which is an award-winning transit system and is considered one of the best transit systems in the country. TheBus offers service to the major areas around the island, and residents can purchase a monthly pass.
What is the History of Oahu?
Oahu has done an excellent job preserving the culture and heritage of ancient Hawaiian times. The influence of Polynesian culture is felt throughout the community. Polynesian explorers arrived on the islands over 1,500 years ago. Diamond Head, which is east of Waikiki beach, is one of the most notable volcanic craters in the world. It was named after calcite crystals in the lava, as seen by the British sailors who arrived on the island in the 1800s.
Fort Ruger was once a major defense fort that occupied Diamond Head, but now it’s a great place to hike and take in the incredible island views. There are many places around the island to learn about the history of Hawaii, like temples, cultural centers, museums, and festivals.
The first sugar plantation was opened on the island in 1835, and the residents of Hawaii realized the agricultural significance of the land and used it to their advantage.
Oahu is the home of Pearl Harbour, where the Japanese launched an unexpected attack during World War II. A memorial and museum now sit on the site.
There are some incredible local restaurants to enjoy on the island with a diverse mix of cuisines. From little cafes to fresh and healthy dishes, there’s something for everyone.
La Mer | 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
La Mer is one of the top-rated restaurants on Oahu that offers fine French dining. Located in Honolulu, this prestigious establishment offers its guests a whole experience and not just an incredible meal.
Poke Bar | 226 Lewers St # L106, Honolulu, HI 96815
A Hawaiian staple, the fresh fish offered at Poke Bar is a must when you’re on Oahu. Also located in Honolulu, this restaurant offers options for all dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
Sweet E’s Cafe | 1006 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Sweet E’s is one of the best breakfast spots for both locals and visitors. Those who love this place have said that the food and service are top-notch, and it’s proximity to Waikiki Beach makes it popular and a great location to grab a coffee or snack on the go.
Hiking Hawaii Cafe | 1956 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815
The freshest and healthiest meals at the Hiking Hawaii Cafe in Honolulu are beloved by locals. Those looking to have great meals like quinoa, acai bowls, and the ever-popular avocado toast also have options when it comes to dietary restrictions. They offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
Waialua Bakery | 66-200 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
A little spot located in Haleiwa, the Waialua Bakery is well known for its incredible sandwiches and large portion sizes. Visitors here have nothing but positive experiences to talk about.
What is there to do in Oahu?
Oahu has endless recreation and entertainment to offer residents.
As a resident of Oahu, most people spend their time outdoors, but there are plenty of great indoor activities to explore, like shopping, museums, waterparks, and so much more. Take a break from the sun or visit these places on a rainy day with the family or solo.
Art & Culture
The Royal Iolani Palace is the only royal palace in the USA, and they offer tours during weekdays. The Summer Palace of Queen Emma, the restored palace of the Hawaiian Monarchy, also offers tours daily. Pearl Harbour, the USS Arizona National Memorial, is open daily for visitors. There’s so much history to learn about Hawaii, and Oahu is a great place to start learning.
The Hawaii State Art Museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art is home to some of the most beautiful artwork and extensive collections from local artists. Including work from the 19th and 20th centuries, there’s so much to explore and see. The Bishop Museum has an extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts, documents, photographs, and much more about the Polynesian culture. The Kakaako community in Honolulu is the place to go for the contemporary art scene, and the streets of the community have been turned into a gallery. Local musicians, actors, dancers, and artists flood the community and support each other.
There are many shopping options around the island, but the busier the city and district, the better the shopping. Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, DFS Galleria (Duty-Free Shops), Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Shopping Plaza, Aloha Tower Marketplace, Koko Marina Shopping Center, Kahala Mall, Windward and Kane’ ohe Shopping Mall, Pearlridge Center, Waikele Center, and Ward Center. There are many common big-box retailers in these malls. The Waikele Premium Outlets is the place to go for luxury shopping. The Waikiki Shopping Plaza has over 70 specialty retailers that have unique gifts and treasures.
Fun for the Whole Family
There’s something for everyone on Oahu, and it’s a great place for people of all ages to explore. Families can find many great activities that will create lasting memories and a closer bond. Some of the best things to do on Oahu include horseback riding, snorkeling, water fun, and a helicopter tour.
Located on North Shore and Windward Koolau Range, residents can go horseback riding along the beaches. Snorkeling is something everyone should experience in Hawaii, and it’s family appropriate. With the crystal clear water, there’s so much to see and experience. Tours are also available so participants can see the coral reef, whales, and dolphins. Along with snorkeling, there are so many things to do in the water and on the beach. Popular pastimes include boogie boarding, surfing, parasailing, and kayaking. Many locals offer lessons for younger kids to learn from the best. Spending the money on a Helicopter Tour is an experience that many residents can’t recommend enough. Seeing your home in a new light is an incredible time.
Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the world, so when residents can take advantage of it, they opt to go sightseeing. Driving around the island to find lesser-known areas is fun, and you may stumble upon some of the most incredible spots around. Many locals also offer tours around the less populated areas, and there are apps available for voice-guided tours.
Oahu is home to some of the most famous and photographed beaches in the world. There are 128 beaches to enjoy. Some of the most popular include:
Ala Moana Beach Park/Magic Island
Known as “The Path to The Sea,” this famous beach is perfect for those who love all things recreation. There are over 70 acres of green space, so it’s perfect for picnics, gatherings, and spending a full day on the beach. There are retailers and restaurants nearby.
Kailua Beach Park
Known for its crystal clear waters and soft sandy beaches, Kailua could be considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. It’s perfect for swimming and windsurfing.
The ideal place for watching the nightly sunsets, this beach is two miles long and is the longest stretch of white sand beach on Oahu. Sunset Beach has ideal conditions for surfing and often hosts competitions. Summer days at the beach often include a lot of swimming and snorkeling in the calm waters. There are nearby trails that take residents to Waimea Bay.
Lanikai Beach has incredible views of the Mokuluas islands and is the picture-perfect beach in paradise. Calm, clear blue waters make this beach the perfect place to swim or soak up the sun.
Possibly the most famous beach in the world, Waikiki means “spouting water.” The beach is consistently flooded with tourists and almost always busy, for a good reason. The calm waters are perfect for swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, and snorkeling.
The beach includes four lagoons, each named after an animal. Hanu, meaning turtle, Kolola, meaning whale, Naia, meaning dolphin, and Ulua, meaning fish. Ko’Olina is well-known as one of the prime locations to watch the sunset at the end of each day. It’s located about thirty minutes from Waikiki, so it’s far away from the most popular tourist areas.
There are numerous parks on Oahu to explore, but the most unforgettable include Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, Diamond Head State Park, Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, Round-Top Forest Reserve, Pu’u O Mahuka, Hale’ iwa Historical town, Byodo-in, Lyon Arboretum, Waimea Valley Audubon Center, and the Dole Plantation. These parks and reserves have some of the best views you may ever experience, and they should be explored by locals and tourists alike.
There are around 970,000 residents on Oahu with a population density of 1,636 residents per square miles. This is the 20th largest island in the country. The population is almost evenly divided into half men, half women, with 50.41% men and 49.59% women. The median age is 38 years old. The average household income is over $100,000 per year.
What are the schools in Oahu?
Oahu is home to over 180 public schools, and the majority of them are among the top in the state. There are 133 elementary schools, 36 middle schools, and 33 high schools located among the communities on the island. There are also private schools in Oahu, like Punahou K-12, where President Obama attended.
Hospitals and Health Centers
Located on Oahu:
Adventist Health Castle (formerly Castle Medical Center)
640 Ulukahiki St, Kailua, HI 96734
Open 24 hours
Hawaii State Hospital
45-710 Keaahala Rd, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Open 24 hours
Kahuku Medical Center
56-117 Pualalea St, Kahuku, HI 96731
Open 24 hours
Pali Momi Medical Center
98-1079 Moanalua Rd, Aiea, HI 96701
Open 24 hours
The Queen’s Medical Center
1301 Punchbowl St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Open 24 hours
Wahiawa General Hospital
128 Lehua St, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Open 24 hours
Located in Honolulu:
Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center
3288 Moanalua Rd, Honolulu, HI 96819
Open 8:30 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and 24-hour emergency services
Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women & Children
1319 Punahou St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Open 24 hours
Kuakini Medical Center
347 N Kuakini St, Honolulu, HI 96817
Open 24 hours
Shriners Hospital for Children
1310 Punahou St, Honolulu, HI 96826
Open 24 hours
Straub Clinic & Hospital
888 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Open 24 hours
Tripler Army Medical Center
1 Jarrett White Rd, Medical Center, HI 96859
Open 6:30 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday