Best place to live in Hawaii

Although the entire island of O’ahu is a heaven for beach-goers, there are still some areas that are better places to live if you want prime beach-access. The best place to live in Hawaii is going to offer the best beach access to the greatest beaches. There are also some communities that are saturated with the beach-lifestyle compared to other residential neighborhoods. There are also neighborhoods that are in very close proximity to beaches however those beaches are of lower quality or not as preferable compared to other beaches with softer sand and cleaner water. Although any beach in Hawaii is better than any other beach anywhere else in the world, there are still some that are more preferable than others, even in Hawaii.

The North Shore

The North Shore of O’ahu is one of the most famous places in the world, known for its close-knit surfing community and easy-going beach lifestyle. In fact, some of the public schools close down for the day when the surf is big because so many students skip school. Everyone is brought up on surfing, and everyone knows everyone. If you were to drive from the south side, or Waikiki, up to the north shore, it’s a really rustic drive that takes you into rural O’ahu away from the high-rise apartments and hotels. Houses on the beach of the north have the best access to the best beaches and the best surf. The lifestyle there is also so unique, like I said. That’s where the real hipsters of Hawaii are from. They live steps from the beach and are always in the sun.

Best place to live in Hawaii

Tourists love taking pictures next to this popular sign.
Haleiwa Sign by 86265563@N00 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.


The Lanikai area is also a great beach-access area. The only thing I don’t like about the Lanikai area is the fact that there’s never any parking and the place is crazy packed on the weekends. Unlike the north shore, there aren’t very many private beaches in Lanikai that you can escape to where there aren’t that many people. Not mention, Lanikai doesn’t have a great break you can surf, unless if you paddle about a mile or two out. There also isn’t that much snorkeling to do at Lanikai. The benefit of Lanikai is the soft sand. The sand there is extremely fine, but the downfall of that is that it gets stuck everywhere and never leaves you. I always get that sand all over the interior of my car and it makes a mess. That sand will probably stick with you longer than your significant other will.

beach islands water

Lanikai is known for its soft sand and a view of distant islands.
360 Lanikai Beach by Matt Sims is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original

Hawaii Kai

The Hawaii Kai area also has really great beach access, with popular beach names like Sandys, Makapuu, Waimanalo and China Walls all just a short drive away from the neighborhoods of Hawaii Kai. These beaches typically have ample amounts of parking, good waves, clean sand, and in general are loads of fun. I grew up in this area and know these beaches very well, and have always had a good time at them. There are some million dollar homes in the Portlock area, these homes are right on the cliffs of China Walls. At these homes, you literally walk out your backyard and drop your board in the ocean and ride, now that’s a dream come true.  

Flight over Hawaii - Hanauma Bay and Koko Head Volcanic Cone - Oahu.

Hanauma Bay Koko Head, Honolulu Hawaii ‰¡ Eric Tessmer, Molokai, Hawaii by Eric Tessmer is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.

The best place to live in Hawaii is going to offer you the best beach access to the best beaches, and at the end of the day, the “best beach” is defined by you.