Best Areas To Live In When PCSing To Oahu
Are you PCSing to Hawaii and don’t know where to start looking for places to live? Well no worries because you have come to the right place! I created this post to help military families choose the best areas to live in when PCSing to Oahu.
A friend recently asked me where the best areas to live in are when PCSing to Oahu which sparked my idea to create this post.
I have broken it down for you by duty station and then the best areas to live (I believe) for those duty stations. The cities that I am choosing to put are based on good proximity to the base and because I believe these are some of the nicer areas to live in on the island. I have not included any base housing information because I do not know that information as my husband and I have only lived off post.
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS/WHEELER AIR FIELD
North Shore (Haleiwa)
North Shore is what I think about when I think, “Hawaii.” It is a total beach town with the best surfing during the winter months. It is a Historic town now and is a big tourist spot, but there’s a reason for that . . . North Shore is that laid back, island living atmosphere. However, it is expensive so that’s something to consider when thinking about living in the North Shore. Haleiwa is about 20 minutes from post so not too bad of a commute there either.
Mililani is a nice suburban area outside of Schofield. Here you will find safe neighborhoods, schools and shopping centers. I think Mililani is a great choice if your spouse is stationed at Schofield.
Kapolei is growing a lot right now. Brand new shopping centers, condos and housing developments being built with some pretty new schools. Kapolei is about 20 minutes from post.
Ewa (pronounced “Eva”) is right next to Kapolei. Here you will find a lot of neighborhoods and shopping centers. Close proximity to a few beaches which is always nice! It’s a little older than Kapolei but still some a good area to live. A lot of people say that Ewa is hot but it’s really not that bad . . . Then again, we go have AC in every room so I am sure that helps! My husband and I live in Ewa and we love it!
Makakilo is up on the mountain so if you choose to live here you will have some pretty nice views of the ocean. It’s sort of above Kapolei so you’ll still be in good distance to all of the new shopping centers and work.
I say Royal Kunia because it’s off Kunia (a road that takes you straight to post from Kapolei/Ewa/Makakilo) but I am pretty sure it’s still considered Waipahu. I think Royal Kunia is a neighborhood and it’s like the only nice area over there. Waipahu is a little run down for me but there are random parts that are nice and I think those nice areas are considered Waikele. If you’re thinking about living in this area, I would definitely go check the place out before I made any commitments.
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR – HICKAM
Aiea is congested when it comes to living space, meaning that it’s little more city-like to me than I am use to living in. It’s also older than Kapolei and at least the “new” Ewa Beach (the part my husband and I live in); the “old” Ewa Beach is all the way down Fort Weaver (the road) and, you guessed it, along the beach/water down there. We live further up in the “new” Ewa Beach. But anyway, back to Aiea . . . This is also a pretty good commute for the spouse.
Pearl City, like Aiea, is a little congested for me when it comes to living. Everything is much closer together here but it is a good commute for the spouse.
Like I mentioned above, Ewa is right next to Kapolei. Here you will find a lot of neighborhoods and shopping centers. Close proximity to a few beaches and I see a lot of Navy commuters in this area! It’s a little older than Kapolei but still a good area to live.
I added Kapolei because it is right next to Ewa but that’s still pushing it a little for me . . . I wouldn’t go past Kapolei because your spouse will definitely be in some traffic for work if you all decide to live here. It is a nice area to live in but I find more people stationed at Hickam live in Ewa Beach.
Honolulu (downtown – in the city)
EDIT: I am adding downtown after one of my friends mentioned it in the comments section below!
Downtown would also be good for Hickam if you’re into the city life! Not only that, but you would be going against the traffic, which is an awesome win here on the island because traffic is a b*tch!
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII
The Marine Corps base is in Kaneohe so this is of course going to be a good commute to work for your spouse. This is also a good area to live in as well and is pretty close to Kailua!
Kailua is another awesome beach town here on Oahu. The shopping, restaurants, beaches and nice area make this a perfect location for you and your spouse. The commute isn’t bad either as it’s next to Kaneohe!
BELLOWS AIR FORCE STATION
I only put Kailua because it’s better than Waimanalo which is where Bellows is located . . . Waimanalo isn’t the greatest of areas in some parts and Kailua isn’t far at all. Now that I am thinking about it, I don’t think Hawaii Kai would be too bad either. It’s also not that far from Bellows and is definitely a nice area to live in.
US COAST GUARD BARBERS POINT AIR STATION
Like I mentioned earlier, Ewa is right next to Kapolei and super close to the Coast Guard Air station. If I were stationed at Kalaeloa Airport, Ewa, Kapolei or Makakilo would be perfect. Nice areas to live in and awesome commutes to work.
Exact same reason as Ewa.
Makakilo is pretty much the same as Ewa and Kapolei, it’s just up the mountain past Kapolei and you have some pretty nice views.
You might run into traffic if you choose to live in Ko’Olina but it’s still pretty close to the Air Station. Ko’Olina is a resort area so it will cost more to live there but you have the lagoons, golf course, and restaurants/shopping all within walking distance of your home.
US COAST GUARD HONOLULU BASE
This base is like in the middle of downtown so if you like the city life and can afford to live downtown, I would say this isn’t a bad option commute wise!
I think Hawaii Kai is like 30 minutes from this base and is a nice area to live in! It’s a really beautiful area to live with a lot of sighting seeing: Koko Head, Hanauma Bay, Makapu’u Lighthouse trail, Koko Head’s Arch and more! This area has nice shopping centers as well.
Same as mentioned earlier. This isn’t a bad commute (I don’t think) but it’s a little congested for me.
Same reason as Aiea.
TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER
Hawaii Kai is where all the rich people live 😉 . . . But really, Hawaii Kai is a nice area to live in and not too bad of a commute. It’s in a really beautiful area with a lot of restaurants, good shopping centers and it surrounds Koko Head and Hanauma Bay!
Honolulu (downtown – in the city)
Tripler is right outside of Honolulu so if the city life is for you, I definitely recommend living downtown. The commute isn’t bad and if you have a spouse, commuting to work/finding a job won’t be bad for them either! You will be in walking distance or a short bus ride away from some of the greatest shopping, eating, and site seeing on the island!
As I mentioned earlier, Aiea is congested when it comes to living space in my opinion but it isn’t too bad of a commute. I honestly don’t know if a lot of military families live around here because it seems more of a local area (which isn’t bad) to me. I am just assuming military families live here because of the close proximity to work.
Same exact reason as Aiea.
Mililani might be pushing it commute wise but it’s still a really nice area to live in if you have a family. The schools in this area are nice and if there isn’t traffic, the commute won’t be that bad!
And there you have it! The best areas to live in when PCSing to Oahu.
I hope this post better helps you search for places to live if you and your family are PCSing to Oahu! If you have any questions or would like to know more, feel free to comment below or contact me here.
If you currently live on Oahu, what do you think about this list? Do you agree that these are the best areas to live in when PCSing to Oahu or are there areas I should add/get rid of? I would love to know what you think! Comment below to let me know.