There are a lot of great reasons to retire in Hawaii. Warm weather year-round, gorgeous landscapes, an unhurried pace of life—all infused with the Aloha Spirit. Sounds idyllic, right?

That said, where you decide to live out your retirement will have a huge impact on your quality of life. The cities, towns, and neighborhoods scattered across Hawaii’s four major islands offer a number of options for retirees. If you’re investigating the possibility of spending your golden years in The Aloha State, we’ll show you 11 top spots for seniors. Use our list to kick-start your research and discover the perfect community for your retirement in Hawaii.

As someone considering Hawaii for retirement, you’ll find plenty of company in the state. Although Hawaii’s overall population has only risen about 4% since 2010, its 65+ population has grown by 37.6%.i

Population Growth from 2010-2019

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Hawaii overall population growth
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Hawaii population of 65+

Additionally, each island’s share of the senior population has shifted considerably in the last 10 years: 

  • In 2010, Kauai had the largest 65+ population, followed closely by the Big Island and Oahu.  
  • By 2019, the Big Island had taken the #1 spot, followed by Kauai and Maui, leaving Oahu in last place.ii 

In summary, if you plan to retire in Hawaii, you’ll find an increasing number of Hawaii residents in your age group to mingle with—especially on the Big Island. Next, let’s look at eleven retiree-friendly communities across the state so you can start narrowing your search for the perfect place to retire in Hawaii. 

Best Places to Retire in Hawaii: Big Island 

Kokololio
Hilo

Here you’ll find some of the most affordable living opportunities on the Big Island. However, but not every retiree is up for that off-the-grid lifestyle that some BI residents embrace. Instead, Hilo offers a good compromise: a lower cost of living than many other places in Hawaii, plus the conveniences of a significant population center. In and around Hilo town, you’ll find plenty of grocery stores, shops, boutiques, and farmer’s markets that make it easy to stock up.

Plus, the Hilo area also offers cultural opportunities to keep you busy, like museums, art galleries, and events through the University of Hawaii at Hilo. In short, you’ll find plenty to do in Hilo, and you’ll be in good company, with more than 20% of Hilo residents aged 65+.

View of Waimea
Waimea

You’ll find a quiet, rural existence in Waimea, where you’ll be surrounded by verdant green hills, dotted with cows, sheep, horses, and other farm animals. For retirees who aren’t up for the heat of a place like Kailua-Kona, Waimea’s elevation means cool nights and even cooler winters. (Average temperatures hover in the 60s and 70s for much of the year.) Although the typical home value in Waimea is higher than Hilo, you’ll still find a fairly significant 65+ population in the area, as well as a small, tight-knit community, which can be appealing to retirees looking to make new connections.  

Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona

If you’re craving a little more warmth and sunshine than Hilo can deliver, take a look at Kailua-Kona on the Big Island’s leeward side. The area features plenty of condo options, which means less maintenance work for retirees.

Plus, you’ll have easy access to all of the Big Island’s larger stores, for simple and convenient shopping. Finally, there are plenty of restaurants and goings-on in the Kailua-Kona area, which is a significant hub for tourism on the Big Island. If you’re the type who wants to live an active retirement, the low-key buzz in Kailua-Kona could be perfect for you.

Best Places to Retire in Hawaii: Kauai 

kappa walk
Kappa

Located less than 20 minutes from the airport on Kauai, Kapaa offers a slightly quieter atmosphere than downtown Lihue. However, you’ll still enjoy a nice selection of shops and restaurants in Kapaa, the largest town on the island.

Plus, in Kapaa, you’ll have easy access to the Ke Ala Hele Makalae multi-use path that goes along the islands’ eastern coast. It’s perfect for a morning stroll or a gentle bike ride to keep you active during your retired years.

Lihue

Living in and around Lihue is all about convenience. Within a relatively short drive, you’ll find grocery stores, restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, a hospital, big box stores, beaches, and even golf courses.

Although you’d be hard-pressed to call any area on Kauai “city-like,” Lihue is as close as you’re going to get. If being in a fairly lively area is important to you, Lihue is one of your best bets on Kauai.

Best Places to Retire in Hawaii: Maui 

Kihei
Kihei

For active retirees who love being at the center of it all, Kihei could be just the ticket. You’ll enjoy plenty of restaurants, bars, and activities in the area, which is popular with tourists on Maui. You’ll also enjoy long, gorgeous beaches perfect for a morning or evening stroll.

Additionally, you’ll be close to a number of conveniences, like pharmacies and grocery stores, so you’ll never have to go far for what you need. Kihei also features a number of condos for retirees who don’t want to deal with things like yard maintenance or upkeep.

Kula

Kula has one of the highest typical home values of any of the areas featured in this article. However, it also has one of the highest percentages of 65+ residents, so it’s worth a look, especially for retirees with a higher home budgetA large majority of the housing in Kula includes detached homes, some of which sit on multi-acre parcels of land. A number of these houses also include detached ohanas. Some retirees rent out these smaller 1- to 2-bedroom houses to ease the financial burden of their mortgage(Ohanas are also great options for retirees who crave a smaller space!) If a quiet retirement surrounded by fields, farms, and residential housing sounds like your speed, take a look at living in Kula. 

Kahului

Kahului is Maui’s commercial center, so it has a busier feel than most other places on the island. However, living in Kahului also comes with significant ease in accessing all that Maui has to offer. You’re close to the airport and hospital, as well as all of Maui’s larger stores, like Walmart, Whole Foods, Costco, Target, and the Home Depot. Making your home in Kahului also puts you smack dab in the center of the island, making it easy to get to either East or West Maui quickly, if exploring the island is on your to-dos. In summary, Kahului certainly one of the most convenient places to live on Maui, and it can also be an affordable one.

Best Places to Retire in Hawaii: Oahu

Waianae

Waianae has a lower 65+ population than many of the other locations we’ve mentioned. That said, it also features considerably more affordable housing than many other places on Oahu. In other words, for budget-conscious retirees, Waianae is worth a look.

While the neighborhood has a reputation for being one that’s difficult for a mainlander to break into, as with any location, your individual mileage will vary. In our experience, if you make a genuine effort to connect with your neighbors, you’ll quickly make friends in Hawaii.

Pearl City

Pearl City is a suburban neighborhood with many of the features that you‘d expect on the mainland: schools, parks, stores, restaurants, and the occasional traffic jam while residents and their families navigate between all of them. Pearl City also lies about 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu. As a result, you’ll be able to take advantage of the city’s museums, sights, food scene, and other attractions, while returning to a quiet residential neighborhood at the end of the day.

Although the typical home value in Pearl City is higher as compared to many of our other recommendations, like Kula on Maui, you’ll also find a high percentage of 65+ residents in this community.

Wahiawa

You’ll find this quaint community between the Waianae and Koolau Mountain ranges in central Oahu. The area once produced a significant number of pineapples for export, and you’ll still find the massive Dole plantation up the road, (although it’s more of a tourist attraction these days)In Wahiawa, you’ll also encounter a sizeable military population, due to the proximity to Schofield Barracks. All in all, if you’re looking for something that’s a little slower-paced than Honolulu and its environments, but one that offers more nearby shopping options, Wahiawa could be a good choice. Not all areas of Wahiawa are made equal, though, so make sure to visit before you commit to a specific housing situation.  

Retiring in Paradise

Now that you’ve got a list of potential spots to spend your retirement, it’s time to do your own research. If you can, come on out to your Hawaiian Island of choice and visit a few places. Spend a few nights in your favorites, and see what fits. You’ll know pretty quickly whether you’ve found the place you want to spend your golden years.

Finally, don’t miss our other article on this topic, Is Retiring in Hawaii Right for You? Know the Pros and Cons. We’ll walk you through the pluses and minuses to retiring in paradise so you can make the right choice for your situation.

Finally, if you plan on moving your belongings to Hawaii, we’d be happy to help! Just get in touch with one of our Hawaii-based experts for a free consultation to get started.

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