8 Best Kept Secret Places to Retire in Hawaii

Written by Alyssa Shea
Updated: November 2, 2023
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There are plenty of opinions regarding the best places to retire in Hawaii. You might find repetitive lists of the same cities over and over again. But what about the lesser-known areas of Hawaii? The towns listed below are some of the best-hidden gems on the islands! If you want to retire in more uncommon regions of Hawaii, these secret spots should be on your list.

Here are the eight best-kept secret places to retire to in Hawaii!

1. Kahuku

You will find the city of Kahuku just off the northern tip of Oahu. Kahuku is on the Kamehameha Highway, the main road leading to other parts of the island, so it will be easy to access other towns. If you head toward the city’s northern end, you will find the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, a great place to see wildlife. There are also several options for independent living as well as assisted living in the area. Housing is a bit sparse, which is the only downside of finding a home in this scenic area.

Wind power turbines on Kahuku Wind farm in Oahu, Hawaii. Blue sunny sky with white clouds

This area has many highly-rated schools, which is a big draw for many families.

©marchello74/iStock via Getty Images

2. Wahiawa

The cooler climate of Wahiawa is a big draw for many retirees. This is thanks to the increased rainfall the area sees, generating temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the high 70s year-round. The cost of living here is low compared to other cities in Hawaii. You will find that most of the housing prices and rent are significantly lower than in the rest of Oahu. The Wahiawa Botanical Garden is an excellent spot for outdoor activities and plenty of delicious local cuisine! The beachfront areas also boast shopping, nightlife, and active sports to check out.

Central Oahu pineapple fields, Wahiawa, Oahu, HI

Wahiawa is known for its pineapple plantation and its annual pineapple festival!

©Teri Wertman/iStock via Getty Images

3. Haleiwa

Located on Waialua Bay in Oahu on the North Shore, Haleiwa stands out as one of the best spots for retirees. This laid-back surf town has plenty of dining and shops. Located only half an hour from Honolulu, you will find many options of things to do, including hiking and visiting the famous Waimea Falls, as well as plenty of water sports to choose from! Living in the area can be quite expensive, but it’s well worth the investment.

Twin arched bridge over the river Anahulu in Haleiwa on Oahu

Haleiwa is home to a farmer’s market that is a staple in the community.

©BackyardProduction/iStock via Getty Images

4. Keaau

If you’re looking for a small-town atmosphere with a low cost of living, then Keaau is the right spot for you! You can find plenty of reasonably priced homes in the area as well. With farmer’s markets, festivals, local crafts, and nearby nature preserves, you will never find yourself lacking in things to do. Hiking trails are also available, as well as beautiful beaches. There aren’t many families living here so you will find the area quiet and peaceful!

Kea'au Beach Park rocky scenes in oahu hawaii

This area, formerly known as Ola’a, is located in the eastern part of the Big Island in the Puna District.

©digidreamgrafix/iStock via Getty Images

5. Wailuku

Are you looking for a town on the island of Maui that offers schools, parks, restaurants, and attractions for everyone to enjoy? Wailuku could be the right place for you! Consistently pleasant weather, beautiful beaches, and a lot of condominiums to choose from make this place popular for retirees. You can also find beautiful, old-school plantation-style homes for sale. There are also a lot of local resorts, so there are a number of shopping options and restaurants in the area.

Aerial View of the City of Wailuku on the Island of Maui in Hawaii

Join locals every first Friday of the month for First Friday Wailuku festivities!

©Jacob Boomsma/iStock via Getty Images

6. Hana

You will find the city of Hana on the eastern shore of Maui, and it’s a true unsung gem! This budget-friendly area is a great option for retirees. It’s a truly diverse community where you can always find something to do. This area seems to be untouched by time, boasting beautiful rainforests and pristine beaches. If you enjoy fishing, swimming, kayaking, and hiking, then Hana is the place for you! You can easily immerse yourself in traditional Hawaiian culture and daily life!

Welcome to Hana

Many people come to explore the 52-mile scenic Road to Hana.

©&#169 chris driscoll/iStock via Getty Images

7. Kahului

Kahului is known to many as a paradise filled with natural beaches and natural wonders! Located on the northern side of Maui, this idyllic area is right next to Wailuku. Though the area can get bogged down by traffic, it’s well worth the time spent in the car. Its close proximity to state and national parks makes it a popular spot for tourists, too. Hiking, swimming, surfing, and other activities are just a stone’s throw away. If you love the arts, you will be interested in the thriving art scene that includes galleries as well as many concerts and events throughout the year!

Kahului Harbor Maui

This town has seen much growth over the years, and its population has reached nearly 28,000 residents.

©andy jackson/iStock via Getty Images

8. Lihue

If you plan on staying active after you retire, Lihue is the place to be! The hiking trails, Wailua Falls, and famous Kalapaki Cliffs are worth exploring as often as possible. There are many retirement communities and plenty of entertainment and dining. It’s also a convenient place to live thanks to being close to the center of the island and its proximity to the airport. The community is known to be safe and friendly, too!

Lihue, Kauai Hawaii , USA - sep 2022 Aerial view of Nawiliwili Bay and Kalpaki Beach

Lihue is said to be the government and commercial center for the island of Kauai.

©Irina Brester/iStock via Getty Images

Summary of the 8 Best Kept Secret Places to Retire in Hawaii

RankCityPopulation
1Kahuku2,226
2Wahiawa16,442
3Haleiwa4,589
4Keaau1,280
5Wailuku17,523
6Hana768
7Kahului29,993
8Lihue9,036

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/mihtiander


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About the Author

I'm a 36-year-old mother of 2 and military wife. I have 2 dogs and a cat that I'm thoroughly obsessed with. When I'm not writing for work, I'm writing as a hobby. You can find me knee deep in a pile of books or way too invested in a video game.

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