Best Places to Live on the Big Island of Hawaii

Kukio

I see from looking at my web analytics that most people find my site because they specifically are looking for the answer, “Where is the best place to live on the Big Island of Hawaii”?  Having lived here from 2005-2006, then 2010-2019, I have a few answers that also led me to write two books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii.” But here are some insights to get you started.

Aerial view of Kukio Resort area, north of Kona

If you have money, the best place to live is in Hualalai. That is where the Four Seasons Resort is located, along with million dollar homes and a few billionaire neighbors. Not too sure how many of the super rich are finding my blog, but Aloha! I would love to connect with you and give you access to all the available real estate listings and the low down of what it’s like to live in that lush gated community of wealth! You will also find Kukio, another adjacent uber-rich neighborhood. See aerial shot of this area and you’ll see why.

View from Keauhou Resort to Keauhou Bay

2. I lived and owned a condo in Keauhou, and it ROCKS!  (I wrote a post about it here) It’s a little upscale, so there is NO crime, the area is situated around a golf course, right near the ocean, within a mile of the grocery store, a movie theater, restaurants, a Long’s, Sam Choy’s, the Kona Sheraton and one of the best snorkeling bays in the whole Hawaiian Island chain. Full of Hawaiian historical sites, our beautiful bay and availability of ocean sports and activities, makes it a fun place to live.  The area above the condos near Keauhou Bay is Keauhou Estates, which is gated and has beautiful large homes with amazing ocean views.

 

3. If you are a working stiff, coming to the island not to retire, but to live here full time, there are some neighborhoods that are fantastic, above Lako Street, especially in the Sunset area. SWEEPING views of the ocean and it’s at a great elevation.

4.  I’d say if you want some of the best weather and a great view, Holualoa is a quaint farm/artist community at about 1500 feet, so it’s at least 10 degrees cooler than down near the water. They also have a VERY good school and you can shoot right down the road to the ocean.

So, those are, in my humble opinion, the best places to live on the Big Island.

Other options:

For those that love rain and relatively little vog, Hilo is a “real” town with more job opportunities than Kona. Did I say they get alot of rain?

Waimea is upcountry and has their fair share of misty, rainy weather, on the side coming in from Hilo and a VERY dry side coming towards Kohala. Lots of people who live there have been there for generations. If I moved to a tropical island, I would want to be warm and near the water..just sayin’.

Hawi and North Kohala have very few of what I would call, “creature comforts” of a theater, shopping center, ocean side dining, etc. BUT, many tech titans have found a little piece of farming paradise there and many who live there would live nowhere else on Earth. They simply love it.

Upper Palisades (Kona) has ocean views and cool elevation

Waikoloa and Waikoloa Village have their issues of being out in the middle of a lava flow with a LOT of wind,..as that area sits in a wind tunnel created by the two volcanoes, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. They do not receive much rain there, but the wind! Oy! Waikoloa Village was built as the “work force housing” for the resorts along the Kohala coast. Waikoloa DOES make living near the most beautiful beaches on the island worth the wind and the drive back into Kona! We lived there for a year and created a helpful video about the differences between living in Kona and Waikoloa Village.

There is a group of 8 condo communities near the Mauna Lani, all with access to the Mauna Lani Beach Club, that have front row seats to the same beautiful views that the hotel guests only get to enjoy for a few days or a week. (This is really for second home market buyers)

If you are really thinking of moving here, I am providing valuable information on my “365 Kona’s I’m moving to Hawaii and Buying A Home” Facebook group, and my husband (a licensed Realtor) and I are doing real estate referrals with Realtors we have worked with for almost ten years who are helpful resources for information about buying a home on the Big Island. This service is free and as a buyer, you pay no commission to the agent. (You can sign up for available listings by shooting me an email at JulieZPR@Gmail.com and check out my YouTube channel, “Big Island Real Estate Minute” . You can also purchase my “Insiders Guide To Buying Real Estate on Hawaii Island” where I discuss all the different places to live on the island with some pros and cons along with all the nuances of moving to this island -think lava zones, inundation zones, pests, elevation, short term vacation rental restrictions, HOA fees and more.

(You can order my book:  “How to Move to Kona if you are thinking of a move if you buy real estate or not)

Best thing about living here? You can be on vacation at any time you want! Go find a beach nearby and you’re in 78 degree water, riding some waves, bbqing with friends, living the life your friends will envy…BUWHHHAAAHHA!

 

Makalewena Beach-the reward

Spread the word if you love what you heard! #365kona so we can say Thanks!

Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • Sally Erwin says:

    We will be coming to the Big Island next January. We are looking to buy, then rent and move there upon retirement – approximately 6 years. Unfortunately, We cannot afford a home much over $200,000, and would like to know the safer areas in which to live. We found homes in Ocean View within our parameters, but the crime rate appeared high, although I am a little skeptical at this point of things on the internet. I would love to hear more from someone who lives there. Prefer sunny to rainy as I lived in Seattle for two years and had to have my tonsils removed.

    Thank you in advance for your guidance.

  • Sally Erwin says:

    We will be coming to the Big Island next January. We are looking to buy, then rent and move there upon retirement – approximately 6 years. Unfortunately, We cannot afford a home much over $200,000, and would like to know the safer areas in which to live. We found homes in Ocean View within our parameters, but the crime rate appeared high, although I am a little skeptical at this point of things on the internet. I would love to hear more from someone who lives there. Prefer sunny to rainy as I lived in Seattle for two years and had to have my tonsils removed.

    Thank you in advance for your guidance.

    • Julie Ziemelis says:

      Sally-right now, you are not going to find much in that price range, unless you want to purchase near Pahao due to the recent lava eruption, as home values in that area have probably gone down. The less expensive homes are the ones that will be closer to the higher crime areas. Median price of a home in Kona just hit $650k and condos are close to $320k. Keep an eye out for a softening market this summer however and you may find a deal.

  • Jim says:

    I have been thinking about following my cousins to the big Isand. My budget is limited and saw pretty inexpensive lots for sale on Pahoa (probably due to climate). What is this area like and should it be not on the list of where to go??

  • Monica says:

    Aloha Julie,

    I’n concerned about the air quality on the entire island. We are about to purchase a home in Waikolo Village and are having doubts even though we were just there home shopping on May 12-19.

    We had a great time and yes we had a couple of voggy days during our Keauhou timeshare stay; but had beautiful weather up North.

    Ready to sign on the dotted line and worried.

    Mahalo,

    Bay Area born and bred,

    Monica

    • Julie Ziemelis says:

      Aloha Monica:
      I too live in Waikoloa Village and I was just telling some of my real estate friends that Waikoloa is going to be quite popular with people looking for better air quality than Kona for awhile. These last few days have been awful due to lack of air flow. Our area, as you know, is known for its gusty air flow, and for us, that is going to keep the sky blue and us breathing pretty well. This lava eruption is not going to last forever. Let me know when you are headed this way and we can meet for lunch!

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