Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii

12 Best Places to Live in Hawaii for Young Adults

Best Places to Live in Hawaii for Young Adults

Aloha, young adventurers and soon-to-be Hawaii residents! There aren’t many places in the world that can rival the paradisiacal allure of Hawaii. With its stunning natural beauty, relaxed way of life and crowds of young adults vying to make their home here, it’s no wonder so many want to do just that. If you’re one of them, maybe you were wondering which Hawaiian location is best for you. Lucky for you, we’ve done all the heavy lifting and have put together a guide listing the 12 best places to live in Hawaii for young adults.

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12. Waimea, Big Island

beach view Waimea, Big Island

Starting off our list of the best places to live in Hawaii for young adults is the charming town of Waimea, also known as Kamuela. Located in the green highlands of the Big Island, Waimea offers a unique combination of paniolo (cowboy) culture and high-tech opportunities. Because of its proximity to Mauna Kea Observatories, multiple astronomy and research centers have sprung up within its borders. In fact, plenty of young folks have found professional jobs they love in these places. 

Also, Waimea’s cooler climate, farmers’ markets, and art scene make it a pleasant visit for those who enjoy a slower, grounded pace of life while enjoying modern conveniences. However, despite the fact that Waimea is more affordable than some other parts of Hawaii, it can still be expensive to live here.

11. Lihue, Kauai

Lihue, Kauai beach view

Lihue, the capital of Kauai, is the next one on the list of the best places to live in Hawaii for young adults. If you are a beach goer and love the activities on the beach, Lihue offers an exceptionally large platform open to adventure enthusiasts like you. Among others, kayaking, hiking and surfing activities are some of the outdoor activities enjoyed by young adults in this city.

Plus, Lihue has a strong labor market tied mostly to tourism and the service industry. This place isn’t as bustling as some of the other places on this list, but it makes up for that with just enough tranquillity and ease. Plenty of restaurants, shopping centers, and cultural venues are within a reasonable distance. Just know that housing here tends to lean on the expensive side.

10. Wailuku, Maui

Wailuku, Maui beach view

Wailuku, on Maui’s northern coast, is a completely hidden jewel that offers the perfect blend of historic charm and modern living. The town has a fantastic sense of community as well as impressive cultural events that make it a great place for young adults to reside.

This diverse job market centers around sectors such as healthcare, education and tourism which provide plenty of chances for professionals in their 20s or 30s. Wailuku’s downtown has gotten pretty hopping in the last few years, with new businesses and restaurants sprouting up as well. However, make sure to note offhand that, like much of Hawaii, the cost of living is higher than the national average.

9. Kapolei, Oahu

Kapolei, Oahu road view

Kapolei, also known as Oahu’s “second city”, is a place where many young adults are eager to live because of its rapidly growing economy and the myriad of job opportunities available in different sectors such as healthcare and retail. Besides the burgeoning job market, Kapolei also offers ample recreational activities. Beautiful beaches, golf courses and shopping centres are available here.

Kapolei remains a lively and united community despite its busy economy, as seen in its frequent hosting of dozens of family-friendly events each year. The cost of living is above average for the state but still manageable, so Kapolei is an affordable choice for young adults looking to find that balance between city life and an island vibe.

8. Hilo, Big Island

Hilo, Big Island road view

Hilo is a major city that offers a combination of relaxing lifestyles while retaining the perks of urban life. The vibrant art scene abounds in the city, as seen in the different galleries and venues where live music and performances take place. Festivals are also held throughout the year. Moreover, the University of Hawaii at Hilo contributes to creating a youthful ambiance for this particular city.

Job opportunities mostly revolve around the university and the healthcare sector, but agriculture and local businesses also contribute to Hilo’s economy. Living costs in Hilo are relatively low compared to other cities in Hawaii, making it a big advantage for young adults.

7. Kahului, Maui

Kahului, Maui walk

Kahului is one of the largest census-designated places in Maui. It consistently ranks as one of the most beautiful cities in America and is known for its central location, which makes it easy for residents to access all parts of the island. This city packs commerce and transportation together, making it appealing to young adults seeking work opportunities.

From retail and tourism to healthcare and transportation, Kahului offers a wide variety of economic possibilities. In addition, this locale hosts the Maui Arts and Cultural Center: concerts, festivals, art exhibits, and more.

Although Kahului packs many amenities into its limits, its cost of living is low when compared with most Hawaiian locales. This is why Kahului is one of the best places to live in Hawaii for young adults.

6. Pearl City, Oahu

Pearl City, Oahu road view

Pearl City is a suburb of Honolulu and a favourite spot for young adults because of its affordable homes and strategic location. The fact that the town is accessible from Honolulu by a short drive means that it seems to be an ideal place for residents in terms of enjoying job opportunities and the attractions of the city while escaping high costs and a hectic pace.

Pearl City also has plenty of shopping centres, restaurants, and outdoor recreational facilities. The diverse, inclusive community that makes up Pearl City far exceeds the typical amenities offered by other communities—a place young adults would want to call home for many years to come.

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5. Kailua, Oahu

Kailua, Oahu beach

Kailua is a developed neighborhood on Oahu’s windward coast. The town provides its young adult residents with a nice setting for recreation, consisting of beachgoers who enjoy swimming and sunbathing along with a charming downtown sector brimming full of local boutiques and restaurants.

In addition, Kailua offers its residents relaxation opportunities through outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and windsurfing. Moreover, Kailua also values community spirit, which is why it hosts many events that encourage social interaction among its residents. The cost of living is relatively high, but most people think the quality of life in Kailua makes it worth its price.

4. Kihei, Maui

Kihei, Maui aerial view

Kihei is located on the south shore of Maui and is famous for its excellent weather, stunning beaches and lively nightlife in Hawaii. It’s an acceptable place for young adults seeking a very active social life combined with outdoor adventure. The town has a good job market firmly rooted in the tourism and service industries, as well as several dining and entertainment establishments. 

Kihei’s housing market includes affordable condos available to those who would like to live on the beach as well as luxury properties that are just steps off of the sand. On average, Kihei has a high cost of living compared with other locations in Hawaii, but its attractive lifestyle and job opportunities make up for it.

3. Mililani, Oahu

aerial tour of Mililani

Mililani is a master-planned community in central Oahu. Its excellent living conditions include low rates of crime, quality schools, and well-maintained public spaces. Its strategic location serves as the shortest commute for residents to job centers in Honolulu but also provides ample opportunities for jobs, especially in retail and healthcare.

The community has achieved wide recognition due to its strong sense of community and its regular hosting of events and activities for the residents. Mililani offers very many housing options, which makes it much more affordable than most other parts of Oahu. 

2. Kaka’ako, Oahu

beach view Kaka'ako, Oahu

Kaka’ako is a residential area in Honolulu that has boomed incredibly in recent years. The community turned into one of the city’s best locations for living, with its modern condos, upscale restaurants and trendy shops. Kaka’ako attracts young professionals seeking good job prospects as it encompasses all departments ranging from healthcare to finance to the tech sector.

Despite being situated in an urban locale, Kaka’ako retains a strong sense of community, with several events held in its park. However, the cost of living in Kaka’ako is higher compared to other parts of the city.

1. Honolulu, Oahu

Honolulu, Oahu aerial view

Finally, at number one, Honolulu – the capital of Hawaii and the heart of the state’s economic activity. Honolulu offers a diverse job market with opportunities in tourism, government, defense, healthcare and more.

The city’s exciting arts and cultural scene combined with its world-class beaches and outdoor activities, makes it an enthralling place for young adults. There’s a solid public transportation system, reducing the need for a car and negating expensive living costs.

Additionally, Honolulu’s diverse population provides a rich cultural experience as well as the opportunity to build many friends and professional connections throughout the state of Hawaii. Regardless of its high cost of living, opportunities in Honolulu make it the number one spot for young adults in Hawaii.

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