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Most Affordable Places to Live in Hawaii

Thinking about moving to Hawaii? The Aloha State is the most expensive state in the U.S., so finding an affordable place to live can be difficult. But if you’re willing to look outside of popular, more expensive areas like Honolulu, it’s not impossible to find budget-friendly homes. Check out these six most affordable places to live in Hawaii!

Hana, Maui

Pink sunrise over Hana and crashing blue water. Photo by Instagram user @eyes.on.art

Photo via @eyes.on.art

  • Population: 1,121
  • Home Price: $459,100 median purchase price; $941 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 72% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.0%

Nestled along the eastern shore of Maui is Hana, one of the most budget-friendly places to live in Hawaii. Known for its 52-mile scenic Hana Highway, Hana is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to enjoy a more relaxed way of life. Breathtaking waterfalls, trails that wind through rainforests, and hidden beaches all wait outside the front doors of quaint condos and single-family homes here. The area also boasts a combined elementary and high school, as well as tons of fantastic restaurants.

Things to Do in Hana

Venture to Wai’anapanapa State Park to walk along the famous black sand beach, hike the trails, and peruse sea caves. Gather some friends to go canoeing or snorkeling at Hana Bay Beach Park. Visit Hana Coast Gallery to check out sculptures, paintings, stonework, and  more works showcasing Native and Polynesian culture from local artists. Visit the East Maui Taro Festival to explore the farmers market, listen to live music, watch hula dancers perform, and sample food. Fill up on delicious BBQ Pork, Fish Tacos, and Shrimp Pasta at Braddah Hutts BBQ Grill. Check out Thai Food by Pranee, where you can order Crispy Opaka or Mahi Mahi Curry. Or stop by Huli Huli Chicken for chicken paired with some Potato Mac Salad.

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Hilo, Island of Hawaii

Giant waterfall with rainbow mist in Hilo. Photo by Instagram user @saltwatersven

Photo via @saltwatersven

  • Population: 45,579
  • Home Price: $298,500 median purchase price; $961 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 20% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

Looking for big city amenities without the hefty price tag? Consider Hilo! Not only is this city one of the most affordable places to live in Hawaii, but it’s also one of the best places to live for job opportunities, raising a family, or retiring! Parents can send their kids to top-notch schools on the Big Island like Waiakea High School or Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary School. And students or those looking for jobs in higher education will be happy to hear that Hilo is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo, which has been recognized as one of the most diverse national universities.

Things to Do in Hilo

Take a trip to the Wailuku River State Park to visit the Boiling Pots or see the 80-foot Rainbow Falls waterfall. Walk around the Liliuokalani Gardens to admire the koi ponds, rock gardens, Japanese teahouse, and much more. Get up close with over 80 species of animals like binturongs, kinkajous, and white Bengal tigers at the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens. Visit the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and watch a Planetarium Show. Catch a musical, have a movie night, or attend a concert at Hilo Palace Theater. Order Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast, Kalua Hash & Eggs, or Pulehu Lamb Ribs from Hawaiian Style Cafe. Head to Jackie Rey’s for Kalua Pork Spring Rolls, an Ahi Poke Tower, and Guava BBQ Glazed Baby Back Ribs. Or enjoy a Pineapple Pow cocktail while you feast on Coconut-Crusted Fresh Catch or Seafood Pasta at Pineapples Island Fresh Cuisine.

Kahuku, Oahu

Bright blue water and sandy beach on Kahuku Beach. Photo by Instagram user @drifter_dude

Photo via @drifter_dude

  • Population: 2,486
  • Home Price: $504,800 median purchase price; $853 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 70% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.9%

Located on the northern tip of Oahu is Kahuku, one of the most affordable places to live in Hawaii. The city might not be known for its happening nightlife or upscale restaurants, but it’s the ideal place for families to live a quiet, comfortable life without breaking the bank—and you’ll be just an hour away from the job opportunities and fun in Honolulu. Kahuku has some of the best rental prices in Hawaii, with cozy condos, cottage-style homes, and detached single-family homes dotting the area. Not to mention, kids can attend nationally-recognized schools like Kahuku High & Intermediate School, considered “The Pride of the North Shore.”

Things to Do in Kahuku

Play a round of golf with some friends at Kahuku Golf Course. Spend a weekend camping, kayaking, and surfing at Malaekahana Beach. Go ziplining with the family above Keana Farms with CLIMB Works. Grab a plate of Lemon Butter Shrimp, Shrimp Scampi, or a Jumbo Garlic Hot Dog from local-favorite Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Stop by Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp Hut for delicious, fresh-caught dishes like Butter & Sauteed Shrimp or Sun Fish. Order Grilled Banana Bread with caramel or a Grilled Veggie Panini from farm-fresh restaurant Kahuku Farms. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with a Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie or slice of Pineapple Macadamia Nut Cheesecake from Ted’s Bakery.

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Kapa’a, Kauai

  • Population: 10,753
  • Home Price: $479,200 median purchase price; $1,293 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 33% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.3%

If you want modest homes with sprawling yards, then Kapa’a might just be the place you settle down! This affordable place to live in Hawaii is a favorite among families, thanks to its safe neighborhoods and great schools like Kapa’a High SchoolKapa’a Middle School, and St. Catherine School. Plus, all of the outdoor activities, fun shopping spots within Old Kapa’a Town, and cozy restaurants make this island community a haven for those who are looking to spend their golden years relaxing on the beach.

Things to Do in Kapa’a

Go kite surfing, snorkeling, or just lounge on the beach at Kapa’a Beach Park. Make a trip to Old Kapa’a Town to shop for books and jewelry at Kiko or swimsuits and home decor at Shipwrecked Kaui. Hike the Hoopii Falls Trail along the Kapa’a Stream to see beautiful waterfalls, go cliff jumping, or relax in the pools. Have brunch with some friends at Kountry Kitchen, where you can get a Polynesian Omelette or Salty Monkey Waffle with a Lavender Latte. Grab lunch and try the Teriyaki Burger or Chili Rice from Bubba Burger. Fill up on Ahi Poke Nachos, a Wild Boar Jalapeno & Cheddar Sausage Skillet, or Wagyu Steak Chimichurri while taking in the sights at Sam’s Oceanview. Or try a classic Hawaiian Style Shave Ice in a variety of flavors at Wailua Shave Ice Kauai.

Wailuku, Maui

  • Population: 16,179
  • Home Price: $463,500 median purchase price; $1,069 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 31% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1%

You can explore charming cafes and stylish boutiques, as well as enjoy community events and the great outdoors in the beautiful city of Wailuku. Once a giant resort town filled with tourists and hotels, this affordable Hawaii area has transformed into a quiet oasis perfect for nature lovers and those wanting a slower-paced life. You can find large single-family homes with views of the ‘Iao Valley from your backyard, or you can wake up every morning to ocean views from the window of a swanky condo. In addition, the Kahului Airport is just ten minutes away, so commutes to other Hawaiian islands for work or a fun weekend away are just a quick trip.

Things to Do in Wailuku

Visit the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens to explore all of the Polynesian-introduced plants that are native to the area. Hike through the 4,000-acre ‘Iao Valley State Park to see more of Maui’s flora and fauna. Catch live music or walk through rotating art exhibits at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Attend First Friday in Historic Downtown Wailuku to browse through jewelry stands, eat at food trucks, and watch magicians perform. Start your morning with a Lox Bagel or Breakfast Wrap and a Build Your Own Smoothie at Wailuku Coffee. Dine at local Japanese favorite Sam Sato’s for their Won Ton Mein or Dry Saimin. Or stop by 808 On Main for a quick lunch of Mediterranean Nachos, Toasted Wasabi Sandwich, or a Western Burger.

Waimalu, Oahu

  • Population: 13,478
  • Home Price: $382,900 median purchase price; $1,528 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 34% of U.S. cities
  • Unemployment Rate: 1.8%

Looking for an affordable city in Hawaii that has both budget-friendly homes and tons of exciting things to do? Waimalu should be at the top of your list! Just 22 minutes from Honolulu, this Oahu city is the ultimate place to be if you want to live close to the city without having to pay city prices. Not to mention, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is nearby, which means Waimalu is a perfect place for military families to settle down—especially with fantastic schools like Pearl City High School and Waimalu Elementary in the area.

Things to Do in Waimalu

Book a tee time and get a round of golf in with some friends at Pearl Country Club. Peruse through over 170 shops like Pandora, Macy’s, and Foot Locker at Pearlridge Center, the largest indoor mall in Hawaii. Take a trip to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial to learn about one of the biggest moments in U.S. history. Hike through Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area to get panoramic views of Oahu. Order Apple Caramel Pancakes, Bene Florentine Eggs Benedict, or Loaded Potato Omelette at Pancakes & Waffles B.L.D. Enjoy Asian-inspired dishes like Loco Moco, Oxtail Soup,  or Teriyaki Salmon at The Alley Restaurant. Or bring the family to Anna Miller’s for a Hot Pastrami Sandwich, a Dutch Burger, or a Shrimp Louie Salad.


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City statistics from AreaVibes

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