The Best Places To Live On Oahu [2022 Version] (Oahu Military)

When relocating to Oahu for the military, you’ll likely have many questions. Learning about the best places to live on Oahu, the schools, communities near the base, or what to expect in general can be stressful. 

As the third-largest Hawaiian Island, Oahu is home to over 1.4 million people. It can be a busy little place, especially with the bustling tourism, but there are plenty of top-notch places to live. Depending on what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for, you can find it among the best places to live on Oahu.

Living on Oahu

Oahu is relatively small, only 597 square miles, but it has a wealth of culture and diverse communities. As you explore the island, many different areas will not only have a different vibe but different climates and conditions. The small landmass and the high population result in heavy traffic and congestion depending on which area you’re in. 

Most working people are either headed into the city or the Military base. The island has typical rush hour times, both early in the mornings and early afternoons. Outside of rush hour, you can get around pretty quickly. If you want to avoid traffic, you’ll want to opt for a community near where you’ll be stationed. 

Beyond these tips to enjoy your time on Oahu a bit more, there’s so much to love about the island. There’s incredible dining, shopping, outdoor activities, beaches, and some of the best views you’ll ever see. The Hawaiian way of life is something many people long for, which is why so many people choose Oahu for their annual vacations. 

Enjoying Sunset in Oahu, HI

North Shore Living

As one of the most famous destinations in the world, Oahu’s North Shore is perfect for those who want to spend all their downtime on the beach. The area includes excellent communities like Laie, Hauula, and Haleiwa. 

The North Shore welcomes many tourists, so it can certainly become quite busy, but there are always remote spots that only locals frequent. Traffic in the North Shore can be a challenge since it’s primarily local streets. 

The area carries an atmosphere of laid-back surfer town, abandoning all the hustle and bustle of the big city. There are some incredible local restaurants, friendly people enjoying paradise, and some incredible views. The North Shore is one of the more expensive areas on the island, but you’ll often find oversized lots with plenty of privacy. 

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Honolulu Living

City-lovers will adore living in Honolulu and the surrounding areas. The state capital is home to a bustling community with incredible people and beautiful beaches. Located along the southern shore, Honolulu is an excellent option for those in the military looking for a new home. 

Over 400,000 people call Honolulu home, and the thriving job market and fantastic amenities are a big reason why. The area beyond Honolulu includes neighborhoods like Diamond Head, Kaimuki, and the metro area. It’s easy to find a rental property in the area, and real estate options are on the pricier side, but there is a highly competitive and diverse market. 

Luxury and affordable high rises are selling out as quickly as they’re being built, so act fast if you find a property you love. Foodies will love that new restaurants are opening daily and can take advantage of all the tourist amenities offered. 

Honolulu is home to Waikiki beach, one of the most famous beaches in the world. Since this area sees so many tourists, it’s designed and built to offer the best of everything. Top-quality shopping, dining, and nightlife are purposefully put here to entice a thriving tourism industry. 

Many people love to live close to these amenities, and Honolulu is one of the best places to get them. Honolulu may not be the quintessential laid-back Hawaiian lifestyle that people seek out when they visit, but those who are city people will love all that it has to offer. 

Honolulu, HI

Leeward Side Living

Some of the most popular areas to move to on Oahu include communities on the Leeward side. The area that includes Ewa Beach, Ko Olina, Makakilo, and Kapolei has seen expansive real estate and commercial growth in recent years. Finding housing here can be easier than in other areas as there are always apartments and condos under construction. 

Residents will also find that there has been better city planning in the area, so roads and parking options are better than in other areas. If you want to live close to malls, restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment, the island’s west side offers all this and more. There is a predominant military population here, so it’s a great option for military families. 

With a strong sense of camaraderie and community, these communities have a vibrant suburban feel. Houses will and have been experiencing excellent appreciation values with all the ongoing construction. You can find beautiful, large homes in this area. 

Windward Side Living

If you have money to spend on a lavish property, the Windward side has plenty of options. With communities like Kaneohe, Kailua, and Hawaii Kai, some of the best of Oahu are situated over the mountains. If you love water sports and some of the best Hawaiian views, finding a windward side home will be on your must-see list. 

Traditionally speaking, this side of the island has always been known for high real estate prices. Suppose you want to spend your time enjoying the outdoors and relaxed way of life. In that case, the homes around the Lanaki beaches will offer everything you’re looking for. There are some great hikes, places for walking, beaches, and shopping in the area. You’ll undoubtedly find many tourists, as the area is known to have hosted President Obama in the past. 

Surfing in Windward Side, HI

The Best Places to Live on Oahu

When you’re stationed in paradise, there aren’t too many bad options for housing. While there are plenty of great places to live on Oahu as a military member, here are the top spots to check if you’re stationed in the area. 

Mililani Town

Located northeast of Honolulu, Mililani Town is on most top lists for the Oahu area. The little city is boasted as a “true Hawaii” experience. The combination of the military history and the views makes this community one of the best to call home. Mililani Town offers plenty of amenities like everyday conveniences, local businesses, and dining. 

Still, Honolulu is just minutes away, so if you need access to the best shopping or entertainment, it’s nearby. The city is home to around 28,000 people, so it’s a tight-knit community with plenty of charm. 

Mililani Mauka

Mililani Mauka is a larger community that offers a suburban lifestyle long the Oahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge. Located close to Honolulu, residents have the best of both worlds: the proximity to the big city with a small-town atmosphere and way of life. It’s a popular community for families, military members, and young professionals. 

Military Family in Mililani Mauka, HI


The affluent community of Kahala is located along the southern shore of Oahu. As one of the most popular communities, there are many reasons why it’s considered among the best places to live on Oahu. It’s a small community with homes that start around $700,000. Soft, velvet sand beaches are within walking distance from most homes in the community, so the value of your Kahala home should only appreciate. 

Residents have access to incredible amenities like Whole Foods, multiplex, and plenty of local businesses. You won’t find many tourists here, so living a lifestyle under the radar is easy. 


The incredible luxury community of Maunawili is only home to around 2,100 residents, so it has a unique and charming feeling when you step foot in the area. It feels like it’s worlds away from Honolulu’s busy, tourist hot spot vibe, but it is pretty close to the big city. 

Maunawili has plenty of amenities for residents. Even though there aren’t as many as Honolulu, residents still have everything they need at their fingertips. Incredible restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and beaches are all nearby. It’s an excellent location for commuters because they don’t have to go far to get to their destination. 

The coastal community has so much to offer, so real estate prices reflect that. You won’t find a home under $1 million in the community, but the perks in the area are second-to-none. 

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Hawaii Kai

The island’s Windward side has some impressive communities, and the lush greenery just makes it better. Hawaii Kai is one of those communities. Real estate mogul Henry Kaiser developed Hawaii Kai in the 1960s. Those looking for the ultimate resort-style living will find it here. With homes costing millions, the community boasts a marina, shopping, and a golf course. Families looking for luxury properties will also be thrilled that the schools in the area are high-profile and have fantastic reputations. 


Manoa is situated around 20 minutes from Honolulu, and it’s a small community with significant perks. It’s a great option for those who want to experience Hawaii as it is meant to be. It’s gorgeous, peaceful, and tranquil, but you still have nearby amenities. It’s not a tourist hot-spot, so it’s perfect for those who want to forget that they live in one of the most popular destinations in the world. There’s minimal traffic, and neighbors are friendly and welcoming. You’ll have everything you want at your doorstep if you are an outdoor enthusiast. The beaches, hiking trails, and parks are second to none and a total dream. The Manoa Marketplace lets residents grab everyday essentials without a trip into the city. The community is also known for excellent schools, perfect for parents or those looking to start a family eventually. 

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Ewa Beach

Located along the southwestern edge of the island, Ewa Beach is another community on most top neighborhood lists for Oahu. The superior city planning and development that you won’t find in the Northern part of the island is a prominent feature for Ewa Beach for those who don’t want a stressful commute. Residents have quick and easy access to everything they could need and want, including beaches, attractions, and Honolulu. The median home value is around $625,000, so it’s also a more affordable option for military members and their families. 

Many people dream of moving to Oahu from all over the world. Hawaii is a breathtaking place that offers some of the most incredible sights better than what you could imagine. The best places to live on Oahu will always boil down to your needs, wants, desired lifestyle, budget, and essential needs. Suppose you want to live close to the military base because you hate traffic. In that case, you may want a different community than someone who loves to shop and wants to live in a condo in Honolulu. 

There are many reasons why each community is a fantastic option, but before starting your home search, try to determine which lifestyle and amenities are important to you. The Oahu Military Real Estate team is made up of industry experts to help you find the perfect home for you when relocating to Oahu. 

Our team has helped many military personnel who are currently active duty, prior service, reservists, or retirees take advantage of their VA home loan in Hawaii. From starting your search to processing your loan, our team is going to help every step of the way. We’re here to make the process as stress-free as possible. 


Oahu Military Real Estate have streamlined the process of buying or selling a home to make it easier for you! Our team is made up of caring, knowledgeable professionals who are dedicated to providing the most up-to-date market data in the area. Contact us today to find out how can be of assistance to you! 

A local real estate agent is ready to help you find your dream home!