If you’re considering a move to Hawaii, you might wonder about the people on the other side of the fence—i.e., your new neighbors. In Hawaii, you’ll find people of many different ethnicities and backgrounds. In fact, one of the most fun and rewarding parts of moving to the Aloha State can be getting to know the members of your new community and discovering their personal stories.
Within these communities, you’ll also spot a few folks who might make you do a double take: the celebrities who have decided to make their homes in Hawaii (or simply own a home here).
If you’re curious to know more about the big names and recognizable faces you might spot once you move to Hawaii, check out our list of the biggest celebrities who live in the Aloha State.
Hawaii Celebrities: Oahu Edition
Oahu is a favorite spot for many global travelers, and a number of celebrities have visited the island in recent years. President Barack Obama makes regular visits to the island he grew up on. Additionally, Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock), Rihanna, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Jason Momoa, Beyoncé and Jay Z, Dennis Quaid, and Hugh Jackman have all been sighted on Oahu recently.
However, if you’re curious who actually lives on Oahu—or owns property on the Gathering Place, as the island is known—check out the following list:
North Shore, Oahu
Jack Johnson grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, where he still lives today, along with much of his family. Johnson first became known on the island as a professional surfer. However, after a serious mishap at Pipeline, Johnson redirected his energy into music.
In addition to a few Grammy nods, Johnson has released eight albums, and toured the world with his music. A recent highlight of his career includes a massive 2018 show at Aloha Stadium with the Eagles. Johnson, along with his wife, is also the founder of Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, a non-profit public charity supporting environmental, art, and music education worldwide.
Hawaiian singer/songwriter of “Somewhere over the Rainbow”
Kaimuki and Leeward Coast,
Although Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, known to many as Braddah Iz, is no longer with us, we couldn’t leave this beloved singer-songwriter off the list of celebrities of Oahu. Kamakawiwoʻole was born and raised on Oahu, largely in Kaimuki. Although many people know Kamakawiwoʻole only for his smash hit, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” he was an influential musician with a 20+ year career that included several Na Hoku Hanohano music awards. NPR named him the “Voice of Hawaii” in 2011, four years after his death.
North Shore, Oah
Kelly Slater is easily one of the most dominant surfers of his generation. In addition to winning 11 World Surfing Championship titles, he’s also the most recognizable and well-known pro surfer in recent history. Although Slater is said to live primarily in Florida, a few years ago, he bought a large house on the North Shore of Oahu. This beachfront property offers Slater easy access to the area’s massive (and famous!) winter waves whenever he wants.
Hawaii Celebrities: Maui Edition
Maui has a reputation for being a bit quieter than busy Oahu, and perhaps that’s the reason so many celebrities have set up shop on the island. Check out who you might spot while on Maui.
Co-founder and drummer
for Fleetwood Mac
If you want to spot Mick Fleetwood on Maui, you don’t have to try too hard. Just check out the entertainment calendar at his Lahaina restaurant, Fleetwood’s. Fleetwood regularly performs there with his band. The rest of the time, Fleetwood can be found relaxing in Upcountry Maui or prepping for his next big tour.
Academy-Award nominated actor
Woody Harrelson enjoys a low-key life on Maui. So low-key, in fact, that he’s the kind of celebrity you might be sitting right next to at an event and not even realize it. Harrelson spends a great deal of his time in quiet and lush East Maui. However, he’s been known to head to Paia on Maui’s North Shore to play poker with a group that includes part-time resident Willie Nelson and actor Owen Wilson.
Frontman for the band Aerosmith
You’ll find Steven Tyler’s house perched at the edge of a picturesque cove in Makena, right alongside impossibly blue turquoise water. Although his compound looks impenetrable, Tyler is often spotted out and about, shopping for food, running errands, and even playing gigs with local musicians. If you’re in South Maui and you spot a wild mane of dark hair, look closer because it just might belong to Steven Tyler.
Founder of Amazon
In late 2021, Jeff Bezos made headlines in Maui for purchasing a $78 million property down the way from his celebrity neighbor, Steven Tyler. The parcel includes a Hawaiian fishpond and access to a white sand beach fronting gorgeous La Perouse Bay. As many celebrities do when moving to Hawaii, Bezos paved the way for the purchase with significant donations to nine Maui non-profits, including the Hawaii Land Trust, Malama Family Recovery Center, and Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource.
Television personality/producer, among other accolades
Oprah Winfrey is such a well-known celebrity around Maui that a private road that runs through her property, connecting Kula and Kihei is simply known as “Oprah’s road.” In fact, Winfrey owns more than 100 acres of land in Kula. She recently added another three-acre parcel of land to her estate, which cost her $7 million. Winfrey’s extensive landholdings include several residential buildings, rolling green hills, and ranch land in a quiet, rural section of Maui.
Hawaii Celebrities: Big Island Edition
While many move to the Big Island for an off-the-grid living experience, celebrities choose Orchid Isle for an under-the-radar one. With plenty of space to spread out, it’s easy for celebrities to quietly enjoy their own Hawaii Life without attracting much attention.
Hamakua & Kamuela, Big Island
Roseanne Barr, who first achieved notoriety for her sitcom Roseanne, also brought notoriety to the quiet area of Hamakua. After purchasing a macadamia nut farm in the area, Barr filmed a reality show on the premises called Roseanne’s Nuts. Not everyone was thrilled with the attention and activity the show brought to the area, which folded after just a few months. Barr reportedly still owns the farm, as well as a property in Kamuela.
Academy Award-winning actor
Kailua-Kona, Big Island
In 2021, Matthew McConaughey bought a house within the Kukio Golf and Beach Club community for $7.845 million. Although it’s believed that the property will serve as a vacation home, plenty of eyes will stay peeled to catch a glimpse of the actor whenever he visits the 5,238 square foot, six-bedroom house, complete with two firepits and two pools.
Academy Award-winning actor
Captain Cook, Big Island
After Jimmy Stewart passed away in 1997, his family sold his Big Island property, Ho’omau Ranch, in 1999. Stewart originally bought the working ranch in 1958, and the property included pasture lands, a macadamia nut orchard, and an airstrip built by Stewart. Today, Ho’omau Ranch is open for horseback riding and ATV tours, which include some Stewart lore along the way.
Hawaii Celebrities: Kauai Edition
Some of Kauai’s resident celebrities attract more attention than others. However, all of them are likely drawn to the island for its laid-back attitude and lifestyle. If you’re particularly interested in spotting one of these famous faces in Kauai, the North Shore will offer you the highest probability.
Founder of Facebook
North Shore, Kauai
Mark Zuckerberg owns more than 1,500 acres on Kauai’s North Shore. He has turned his estate into a tucked-away retreat where he can relax far from prying eyes. Zuckerberg’s presence on Kauai has been controversial, especially his use of Hawaii’s quiet title process to force the sale of land owned by family members of longtime residents and native Hawaiians. However, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have also made some efforts to give back to the island. They recently donated $4 million to preserve Kauai’s Alakoko Fishpond, also known as the Menehune Fishpond. Thanks to their donation to the Trust for Public Land, the fishpond will be protected from development indefinitely.
Actor who portrayed James Bond
North Shore, Kauai
Although Pierce Brosnan and his wife have long been part-time residents of Kauai, the actor sold his Malibu home in 2020. This led many to believe he’ll be making Kauai his full-time residence. Brosnan can often be spotted on Kauai’s north shore, hitting the beach, riding his bike—all those normal things that Hawaii residents enjoy.
Laird Hamilton & Gabby Reece
North Shore, Kauai
Renowned big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton and his professional athlete/model wife Gabby Reece used to be spotted frequently on the North Shore of Maui, close to Peahi, one of the big waves that made Laird Hamilton’s career. Hamilton has a long history with the Aloha State. He grew up on the North Shore of Oahu before moving to Kauai with his family. Today, Hamilton, Reese, and their children split time between Malibu, California, and their North Shore Kauai home.
Grammy-award winning musician
North Shore, Kauai
Although Carlos Santana’s primary home is in Las Vegas, he purchased two properties in Kauai, one in 2020 and the other in 2021—both on Kauai’s North Shore. The first house was put on the market in 2021, around the same time he purchased his second property just a few miles away. Even if Las Vegas remains Santana’s home, his recent investments in Kauai hint that he’s found something magical on Kauai’s North Shore.
Won’t You Be Their Neighbor?
Hawaii is an attractive destination for many celebrities to enjoy some under-the-radar time as ordinary citizens. In other words, celebrities are just like us: They come to Hawaii to relax and unwind. So if you do happen to see someone famous while you’re out and about in Hawaii—or you happen to end up with one as your neighbor!—try to stay cool and respect their privacy. (But feel free to tell your friends all about it later!)
Considering becoming a Hawaii resident yourself? We’d be happy to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable move to the Aloha State. Just reach out for a free consultation to get started. We’ve helped plenty of individuals, families, and even celebrities make the move (but you’ll never pry their secrets out of us)!
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