Lifestyle

Moving to Oahu, Hawaii | 10 Picturesque Residential Areas to Consider

Have you thought about moving to Oahu, Hawaii? Living by golden sand beaches and experiencing warm weather 365 days a year is a reality for many. If you are researching where to live, you have come to the right place to get some location and neighborhood information. Just like every Hawaiian island is a little different, so are the areas on Oahu itself. From urban neighborhoods of Honolulu to a laid-back lifestyle of Kailua and Ewa Beach, Oahu has something for everyone. The views and the beaches are beautiful all over Oahu and your paradise awaits!

beach

Golden sand and ocean views at Kailua Beach Park

The areas mentioned below are a combination of cities, neighborhoods, and regions of Oahu. They each offer fabulous views, whether it’s ocean, city, or mountain. Oahu is the most populated island in the Hawaiian Islands chain with approximately 950,000 residents, but it doesn’t mean that every area is urban. While many people (roughly half) do choose to live in Honolulu, where there’s no shortage of views and beaches, the other half live all over the island, where the lifestyle and the views are just as spectacular. So if you are considering moving to Oahu, Hawaii, you will be able to choose an area that will compliment your lifestyle.

Ko Olina

Ko Olina is one of the prettiest areas on Oahu. A resort style community located on the West side of the island, minutes away from shopping and amenities, Ko Olina offers home, townhomes, and condos are part of the living options. While Ko Olina residences have a Kapolei address, the community stands on its own and is significantly different from central Kapolei and the nearby Ewa Beach. Ko Olina is best knows for the Ko Olina lagoons, the Disney Aulani Resort, 4 Seasons Hotel, and the Ko Olina Golf Club. Living in Ko Olina is like living in a beautiful resort year round.

Ko Olina Lagoon

One of the four large lagoons at Ko Olina.

The man-made Ko Olina lagoons are absolutely beautiful to look at, as well as to enjoy. Golden sand beach surrounds every lagoon, offering plenty of play space for residents and tourists alike. Ko Olina homes and townhomes tend to have golf course views, while the Beach Villas at Ko Olina offers direct lagoon and ocean views. So if you want to feel like you are on vacation every day of the year, Ko Olina is an ideal location. It’s beautiful, peaceful, and offers everything within the community, or in the vicinity, that one would need for comfortable living.

Gold Coast of Honolulu

With a 1950’s flare and contemporary interiors, the Gold Coast of Honolulu is unlike any other community on Oahu. Predominantly made up of ocean fronting condos, this area is very unique. The buildings are literally steps from the ocean, the views from the condos area nothing short of breathtaking. Located just outside of Waikiki with easy access to restaurants and the Waikiki nightlight, the Gold Coast lifestyle is very laid back. Hawaii’s trade winds prove a light breeze and allow for open-air living year round. With views like these, who wouldn’t want to keep their windows and lanai doors open?

Ocean

Oceanfront living on the Gold Coast of Honolulu.

Residents of Gold Coast condos who do not face the ocean, generally have views of Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head crater, which is just as picturesque. Condos in the area range from a few hundred thousand dollars to millions of dollars depending on the view and the unit. People recognize the uniqueness of the area and the opportunity to live right on the ocean. The Gold Coast of Honolulu is truly special and an amazingly beautiful place to call home.

Kaneohe

If your preference is for the mountains, Kaneohe with its Koolau Moutain Range backdrop will capture your heart in an instant. Located on the windward side of Oahu, Kaneohe is conveniently located with easy access to other parts of the island. Residents of Kaneohe who need to commute to Honolulu or the military bases for work can easily take one of three scenic highways that cut through the mountains to the other side of Oahu. Kaneohe receives a little more rain than other parts of Oahu which keeps the area very lush and green. If you are moving to Oahu and desire a more tropical landscape, you will feel right at home in Kaneohe.

Koolau Mountains

Ko’olau Mountain Range in Kaneohe.

Hawaii Kai Region of Honolulu

Boats, waterways, and valley views are what the Hawaii Kai region is all about. Located on the east side of Honolulu, Hawaii Kai is a popular area with people who enjoy living close to the water. Many of the Hawaii Kai homes have private boat docks. With an abundance of waterfront homes, boats, kayakers, and paddle boarders, this area is as fun as it is pretty. If boating is not a draw, Hawaii Kai homes located high above the canals have beautiful views of the valley and the ocean.

Pool

Hawaii Kai in east Honolulu.

People who are familiar with the island, and who are considering moving to Oahu, often focus on Hawaii Kai because of its relaxed atmosphere, waterways, and its location. It’s a unique area where a waterfront living is accessible to so many at relatively affordable prices. The drive to the urban core of Honolulu is also short, which makes this area convenient for individuals who have to commute for work, or who simply have errands to run.

Ridges of Metro Honolulu

Honolulu is the largest city in Hawaii. It is home to 360,000 people who live in various neighborhoods. The topography of Honolulu gives its residents the advantage that many cities don’t have. Residents who love the ocean can live close enough to jump in, while others who enjoy beautiful views from a distance can have stunning city views from many of the mountain ridges that form the backdrop of the city.

city view

City view from the mountain ridges of Honolulu.

The advantages of living right in Honolulu is the easy access to jobs and amenities. Since many of the jobs are right in town, living close by is definitely an advantage. Life on the hillsides in Manoa, Tantalus, Makiki Heights, just to name a few neighborhoods, is a visual treat during the day, and at night when the city lights come on.

Lanikai in Kailua

A turquoise ocean and The Mokes (Na Mokolua islets) are signature views of the Lanikai neighborhood in Kailua, a small town on the leeward side of Oahu. Luxury homes line the beach and the hillsides of this desirable neighborhood. The color of the water is unique to Kailua, and it’s mesmerizing in the sunlight. Be prepared to spend some money in Lanikai, as it is one of the more expensive neighborhoods on Oahu. Lanikai homes range from new to original designs, and from small cottages to large luxury properties. There is definitely a mix of styles and property types. Depending on availability, Buyers can choose from oceanfront homes, homes on level lots, or homes on the hillsides with endless views of the ocean and the Mokes.

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The Mokes in Lanikai.

Waikiki in Honolulu

If you love eclectic urban living filled with tourists, restaurants, shopping, and bordered by the most famous beach on Oahu, Waikiki Beach, choose Waikiki when considering moving to Oahu. Waikiki has an array of condominiums, with only a handful of homes in the entire neighborhood. The views from some of the condos in the taller buildings are beautiful. City, mountain, and ocean views can be quite spectacular depending on the location of the building and the floor. Many of the Waikiki condos were built in the 1970s, and as a result, you won’t find as much luxury living as you will in other parts of Honolulu. There are a handful of buildings that do offer that, but the majority of the condos are smaller and older. What Waikiki may be lacking in amenities, it makes up for it in location. For people who enjoy living in smaller condos, and along the hotel zone, but having hundreds of restaurants, great shopping, and the ability to spend time on Waikiki Beach daily, this is is the place for you.

Waikiki

Waikiki has amazing views from some of the taller buildings.

Waikiki has fee simple and leasehold condos. In that mix, there are also condotels, which are privately own condos within a hotel operation. It can get quite confusing to someone not familiar with the setup, so familiarize yourself with the differences prior to moving to Oahu and purchasing a property. Fees, taxes, and the use of the premises can be different from one building to the other.

Kakaako in Honolulu

More and more people are moving to Oahu and to the urban core of Honolulu. The new condos that are popping up all over Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood have absolutely striking ocean, beach, and marina views. The views get only better and better the higher one lives. The way most of the builds are positioned in relation to the ocean also allows for views from the adjacent properties that are not in the first row of condos facing the water. This means that not only multi-million dollar properties have views of the ocean, but many of the other condos actually do too. City and mountain views from these Kakaako condos can be equally as beautiful.

Park view

Stunning Ala Moana Park and ocean views form Kakaako condos.

Kakaako residents adore this area of Honolulu. The convenience and the amenities offered in these buildings is unmatched to any other area of Oahu. With Ala Moana Beach Park, Ala Moana Center, grocery stores, and an array of restaurants nearby, it’s not surprising that people a moving away from single family homes, and into condo living. Buyers have a lot of choices when it comes to Kakaako condos. There are some favorites, and some up and coming

Oahu’s North Shore

If country living is more you, and you are moving to Oahu to experience nature, great surfing, and a quiet lifestyle, the North Shore of Oahu could be your special place. Far away from Honolulu, and along beautiful beaches and coastlines, the North Shore of Oahu has the natural beauty that many people dream of and desire. Aside from a steady stream of tourists that flock to the area, the North Shore is largely untouched by too much development. There is still an abundance of homes in the area, ranging from single wall construction plantation homes to multi-million dollar properties. Development on the North Shore is more spread out, more private, and a little more low key. There is no shortage of beaches on the North Shore, and for many, that’s literally their “backyard.”

chairs

Oahu’s North Shore.

Diamond Head Region of Honolulu

The mountain ridges that make up parts of Honolulu are excellent support structures for homes that are built upon them. The Diamond Head Region of Honolulu is yet another picturesque area of Oahu. Unlike the ridges that form the backing of metro Honolulu, with views of downtown and all the highrises, homes along the Dimanond Head ridges have beautiful, and often unobstructed ocean views. Located just minutes out of the urban core of Honolulu, residents of these neighborhoods can easily enjoy great views along with more privacy and still be close to all the amenities that Honolulu core offers. Shopping, theatres, businesses, and restaurants are all still very close. The endless ocean views and stunning properties are what people are drawn to when they choose to live in this area. If you are moving to Oahu and are considering a centrally located home with beautiful views, don’t miss this area. You won’t be disappointed.

Hawaii Loa Ridge

Hawaii Loa Ridge in East Honolulu.

If you are considering moving to Oahu please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.

If you would like to appear on our popular “Hawaii Life” TV show on HGTV as you are purchasing your new home or condo, check out the casting opportunity.

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Hawaii life and Chrisite's real estate kinga mills

About the Author

Kinga Mills

Kinga Mills is a REALTOR-Associate with Hawai'i Life. I adore Hawaii, its people, and the natural beauty that surrounds me. I live on Oahu. It's a pretty incredible place to call home. There is a little bit of everything here. From pristine beaches and quiet neighborhoods to the trendiest of restaurants in the urban Honolulu. I simply love Oahu and the variety it offers. My real estate career allows me to enjoy the Island life, and to work with some amazing people. With over a decade of experience and hundreds of closed sales, I provide my clients with expert buying and selling advice. My goal for clients is to enjoy the process, while my team and I handle the details. As a member of the Hawaii Life Military Specialized Team, I regularly provide real estate assistance to active-duty military personnel who are PCSing to Hawaii, to the mainland, or overseas. For the Luxury Real Real Estate buyers and sellers, I am affiliated with Luxury Portfolio International and Christie’s International Real Estate. These exclusive affiliations extend an even greater reach, exposure, and effectiveness within the global luxury marketplace. In my time off, I love walking along the beach, enjoying meals out on the town, and taking family vacations. Sign up for my Oahu Hawaii Life blog updates and follow my journey. I look forward to helping in making your Hawaii Life real estate dreams happen! You can email me at KingaMills@HawaiiLife.com or via phone at (808) 722-3985.

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