Between the 4,028 miles of coastline, sunny and warm weather year-round, incredible local fruits and water activities, it is no secret that life on the Big Island is pretty sweet. Who wouldn’t want to live here! While the Island is surrounded by ocean and has some of the top-rated beaches globally, there is more to the Island than just the sea.
With laid-back tropical vibes, lush green landscape, and the diversity of 8 ecosystems, the Island is very diverse. Where to call home is not a decision to take lightly, especially when considering the various living options like convenience, proximity, nature, elevation/weather, and of course, affordability. Whether you are looking to relocate or just exploring this amazing Island, hopefully, you will find some direction and insight into this beautiful place.
With the Island being so large, where do you start? How do you find the right community? How do you know it will be right for you and the family? Where are the veterinarians? Where are the hospitals? What are your highest priorities? These are all things to consider seriously.
West Side of the Big Island
The West side of the Big Island is trendy because it does not rain often and has large stunning white-sand beaches. Globally it’s known all around the world and many come yearly to enjoy the weather and the sand (green, white, black, and red!). When choosing where to relocate on the Westside, there are four main towns to consider.
Located inland and at a higher elevation (2,670 feet above sea level), Waimea is a bustling town filled with grocery stores, lots of great restaurants, Ace Hardware store, art galleries, local gift stores, and much more. It’s genuinely a town filled with all your needs. The town is a family town and great for kids with some of the best schools on the Island.
With the beautiful rolling hills and all your shopping needs, it could be the perfect place to call home. Well, is it? Waimea has two parts. Dry side and wet side. The wet side has fantastic green hills filled with cows, sheep, and horses. It is breathtaking. Yet, the wet side of Waimea is much colder and gets an average of 60 inches of rain a year. You will see it covered in fog and light rain at times. Don’t forget to bring your jacket if you come to visit this area.
The Island’s dry side has some beautiful communities outside the rain line and within the town. I would have to say this is the sweet spot if you don’t want much rain. Waimea is about 40 minutes to Kona, 20 minutes to the beaches, and 45 minutes to Hilo. The dry side of Waimea is indeed more expensive because of the weather.
The Waikoloa area is probably one of the best locations on the Island. It is central to everything and all towns. It’s 20-30 minutes to all towns and beaches no matter which way you go. The location is fantastic. It’s a small town with only one grocery store and one gas station, indeed a Village! Thankfully they are currently building another shopping center which will be filled with 24 stores, including another gas station and grocery store. Waikoloa Villas is where many live who work throughout the Island because the location is good for workers and their families.
One thing to consider about Waikoloa is the wind. I’ve had people ask me, is there always wind on the Island? My response is yes, and you learn to love it. The breezes keep the air clear, keep the smells coming, and it is spectacular to watch the clouds move. The wind is one of the things that makes this Island great. At the same time, Waikoloa’s nickname is Waikoloa-blowa. The community gets more wind than other places, and your home can get more dust.
Some of the more rural and remote areas of the Island are the small towns throughout North Kohala. You will find towns such as Hawi, Kapaa, Kohala Estates, and Kohala Ranch. These are small communities, each having its specialties and uniqueness. Rural small towns aren’t for everybody. You have to drive a bit more if you want the treats of the bigger towns. Any yet, the pluses are small-town feel, little to no traffic, privacy, peace, and quiet.
With these communities, it is essential to consider the convenience and drive time. For example, Kohala Estates does not have a grocery store. You have to go to Waimea. It is a 40-minute drive to Kona or Costco and you have to plan for those excursions. Many people that live in these remote areas have an extra fridge and freezer so they don’t have to make the drive into town too often.
Even with their remoteness, these towns have some of the most relaxed feelings on the Island. It is about enjoying life and the nature around you. You will only see life emerge in these small towns when there is a weekly farmers market or when it is King Kamehameha Celebration.
There are a wealth of opportunities when seeking a town life with a Hawaiian feel in Kona. This is the main town on the West side of the Island. Roughly there are about 15,000 people that call this area home. Kona sits on the mountain of Hualalai and you will find a large amount of natural diversity because of the elevation and weather patterns.
One of my favorite small areas within Kona is Holualoa. A charming small town with a windy two-lane road filled with Kona Coffee, art galleries, and coffee shops. The community is about 1,5000 feet from sea level and embraces the lush vegetation, light rains, and a quiet drive down the hill to the main area of Kona.
Just a couple of favorite communities within Kona:
- Alii Heights community is centrally located with an elevation of between 100-400 feet. Residences enjoy stunning ocean views, no HOA dues, a convenient location, and ample sidewalks and streets made for enjoying the outdoor lifestyle.
- Premier gated communities such as Bayview Estates and Keauhou Estates offer the best custom-built homes with sweeping views of the Kona coastline. Many with swimming pools, large living spaces, and spacious lanais provide a tremendous indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
There are many more wonderful communities on the West side of the Island. I think that is enough for this blog as the list would be quite long!
Calling Big Island Home
There are more than enough options when looking for places to call home on the Big Island. It takes time, research and curiosity, to find the perfect spot. I’ve written about four wonderful choices hopefully providing you with food for thought.
I love living on the Big Island. I recommend taking your time, doing your due diligence, and digging deep when looking for the best place for you to call home. If I can help with your questions, reach out and say hello.
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