With a name like Royal Hawaiian Movers, we have a reputation for moving people to Hawaiʻi. But we also move individuals and families within Hawaiʻi—and away from Hawaiʻi when they decide to leave the Aloha State.

Where do former Hawaiʻi residents go? To answer that question, we combed through IRS migration data and our own internal data. We came up with nine popular post-Hawaiʻi destinations, all of which are on the U.S. mainland. We’ll explore all nine of them in this article.

If you’re leaving Hawaiʻi, we hate to see you go. But if you’re ready for a change, we understand—and maybe we can offer you some ideas to ease your transition to your new home.

First, let’s talk a little about why people would exit Hawaiʻi in the first place.

Why Do People Leave the Hawaiian Islands?

Some find it hard to imagine why anyone would move away from a gorgeous place like Hawaiʻi. We’ve met tons of people who visit Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, or the Big Island on vacation and dread the thought of leaving.

A survey from the Pacific Resource Partnership offers some insights.

consider leaving because of the cost of living

In a survey of Hawaiʻi residents, the #1 reason for considering an exit from the Hawaiian Islands was the cost of living, cited by 47% of respondents.

Other reasons mentioned include:

  • More job opportunities elsewhere (15%)
  • Expensive housing (10%)
  • Education (5%)
  • Proximity to family (5%)
  • Quality of life/loss of aloha in Hawaiʻi/too many changes in Hawaiʻi (4%)

Maybe these reasons resonate with you—or maybe you have your own set of reasons for moving away from Hawaiʻi. Either way, if you’re looking for ideas on where to go next, let’s talk about the most popular places people head when leaving Hawaiʻi.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #1: California

Top City

San Francisco, CA

What draws former Hawaiʻi residents to the Golden State? Maybe it’s the proximity to the Hawaiian Islands. Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, and the Big Island are just a short flight from California, so it’s easy to visit whenever you want. Or, maybe it’s the easy access to both the beach and the mountains, a setting that’s reminiscent of many areas of Hawaiʻi.

Whatever the reasons behind the moves, California has long been a popular state for those leaving Hawaiʻi, with Bay Area cities like San Francisco and Oakland topping the most-popular list.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #2: Texas

Top City

Dallas, TX

Given the importance of cost of living to many residents who leave Hawaiʻi, Texas seems like a smart choice. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) ranks Texas as the 17th cheapest state in the U.S. (Hawaiʻi is, of course, the most expensive!) Texas also offers much more reasonable housing prices than Hawaiʻi, making homeownership attainable for a larger percentage of the population.

One thing that might take some getting used to: the Texas heat. Hawaiʻi’s consistent trade winds keep many parts of the state (relatively) cool. In fact, only 57% of Hawaiʻi homes use air conditioning, and only 12% of Hawaiʻi homes have central A/C!

In contrast, 95% of Texas homes have air conditioning capabilities, and 83% have central A/C units. You can bet those will come in handy in a place like Dallas, where the average high in summer is 95°F.

Even though the Texas heat may come as a surprise, former Hawaiʻi residents can at least rest assured that most Texas homes come well-equipped for the challenge.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #3: Washington

Top City

Seattle, WA

Like California, Washington also has the distinction of being an easy flight to and from Hawaiʻi. It’s also got a more diverse job market than you’ll find in Hawaiʻi, with greater potential for high-paying jobs in a number of different industries.

We move plenty of former Hawaiʻi residents to the Seattle area, as well as to nearby Tacoma, Spokane, and Bellevue. Some people love all the cultural resources and entertainment options in the Seattle area. (And the opportunity to see the Seahawks play in person!) Others who are looking for a cost-of-living break might look at locations like Issaquah, Maple Valley, Covington, Snoqualmie, North Bend—or beyond.

One thing’s for sure: If you’re an outdoor adventurer, you’ll find plenty of company—and plenty of stunning landscapes to explore—in Washington.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #4: Nevada

Top City

Las Vegas, NV

You had to know this one was coming! Long known as Hawaiʻi’s “ninth island,” Las Vegas is a popular destination for Hawaiʻi residents, both for vacation and for relocation. In fact, Clark County, Nevada, recently experienced the nation’s fastest growth of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations, which speaks volumes.


There are plenty of reasons why people move from Hawaiʻi to Las Vegas. In Las Vegas—and in nearby Henderson—former Hawaiʻi residents can enjoy a significantly lower cost of living as well as lower housing prices. Additionally, those of Hawaiian or Pacific Islander heritage will find a welcoming community waiting. Local organizations like the Las Vegas Hawaiian Civic Club make it easy for ex-Hawaiʻi residents to feel “at home” quickly in the area.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #5: Florida

Top Cities

Jacksonville and Pensacola, FL

You might think it’s the warm weather that draws former Hawaiʻi residents to Florida. While that may be true, the two most popular Florida counties for former Hawaiʻi residents—Duval and Escambia Counties—are also home to a significant military population.

We’re proud to assist servicemembers and their families with PCS moves to and from Hawaiʻi, with the majority of those moves involving a move to or from Oʻahu. Whether you’re headed to Florida to enjoy the legendary sunshine or to continue your career, we’d be honored to assist with your move.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #6: Virginia

Top Cities

Fairfax, Vienna, Falls Church, and other destinations in Fairfax County

You’ll find Fairfax County just outside of Washington, DC. Residents of Fairfax, Annandale, Herndon, Vienna, Reston, Falls Church, and the other areas of the county enjoy easy access to the nation’s capital and its extensive cultural and historical resources. Its location also makes Fairfax County a common destination for those with government and military jobs.


By the way, Virginia Beach is another spot people head to when leaving Hawaiʻi, largely because of the area’s significant military population. In fact, within the Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Newport News metro area, you’ll find the largest concentration of military personnel outside of the Pentagon, as well as a significant population of veterans.

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #7: Colorado

Top City

Denver, CO

With plenty of sunshine and a whole host of outdoor activities, Denver makes an attractive location for residents leaving Hawaiʻi. Plus, those steeped in paniolo culture will feel at home among the thriving horseback and ranching scene in the state.


The one thing Hawaiʻi residents may miss in Colorado is ocean access. Colorado’s extensive lake and river system might soften the blow. There are plenty of spots for stand-up paddling in the Denver area, and you might even trade in the board in for a kayak, raft, or canoe at some point!

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #8: Arizona

Top City

Phoenix, AZ

Former Hawaiʻi residents who want to nurture careers outside of the hospitality/food and beverage arena might consider a move to Phoenix. Plenty of big-name companies like American Express, Banner Health, Honeywell, and JP Morgan Chase have locations in the city. Throw in more affordable home prices, and Phoenix starts to look even more attractive as a destination.


One thing that Hawaiʻi residents will find familiar in Arizona: no daylight savings. As the rest of the U.S. grumbles while they turn their clocks, Arizona residents simply continue about their business. (Keep in mind that the Navajo Nation does observe daylight savings, so if you’re meeting someone on the reservation, you’ll have to do the math!)

Post-Hawaiʻi Destination #9: Oregon

Top City

Portland, OR

Like Seattle, Portland, Oregon has long been a destination for former Hawaiʻi residents. And, in the last few years, the percentage of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population in the area has only increased.


Portland is a food lover’s paradise, with a strong coffee and beer scene, plus plenty of local restaurants serving up innovative cuisine. It’s also got access to a ton of hikes and picturesque landscapes for those who might not be as into the city scene.


Finally, if you’ve got children with college ambitions, Oregon State University in Corvallis offers a Degree Partnership Program that allows students to enroll in both OSU and one of three Hawaiʻi community colleges through a single admission application. Students can take classes both in Hawaiʻi and Oregon, as well as online, to pursue a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

Saying Aloha to Hawaiʻi

Hawaiʻi might be paradise, but it’s not a perfect destination for everyone. If you’re thinking of an exit from Hawaiʻi, you’ve now got some ideas, thanks to the other residents who have left the state. Just remember: Wherever you relocate, Hawaiʻi will still be here—even if you just want to visit.

Need help with a mainland move or an international move? Our experts can assist with a safe, easy, and affordable move. (We do local and interisland moves, too!) Just reach out to our team for a complimentary quote to get started.

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