What’s it like to live in Hawaii Kai?

Ten miles east of Honolulu lies the stunning planned community of Hawaii Kai. The former wetland was transformed in the 1960s by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, who envisioned an ideal neighborhood that a variety of people could call home – from young families to empty nesters, waterfront apartment owners to mountaintop estate holders. Now Hawaii Kai is one of Oahu’s wealthiest zip codes and boasts numerous retail and dining options along with top public schools. Despite the rapid residential and commercial development, preservation of the land has become a priority, and with pristine landscapes like Sandy Beach and Hanauma Bay, a plethora of outdoor activities exist, including hiking, biking, boating, surfing, and snorkeling.

Community events, Pele’s chair, and a marina – learn more about interesting facts in Hawaii Kai:

  • Hawaii Kai has many community events, including the popular Festival of Lights Boat Parade, where locals decorate their boats for the holidays and put on a parade in the marina by the Hawaii Kai Towne Center.
  • A lava rock formation on the road to the windward side of the island is called Pele's throne and is believed to be the fire goddess's last resting place on Oahu.

  • Hawaii Kai’s marina is central to the neighborhood. Several channel ‘fingers’ create the feel of a ‘Little Venice’ in Honolulu and allow waterfront residents to have a boat docked in their backyard. There also are many boat ramps for non-waterfront residents!

How far is Hawaii Kai from Honolulu? 

Commute Time. With minimal traffic, it takes 25 minutes to arrive in downtown Honolulu. 
TheBUS serves Hawaii Kai with routes 1, 22, 23, 24, 80, 80A, 80B, 82, PH6, and 235.

What’s the weather like in Hawaii Kai?

Hawaii Kai or East Honolulu has warm, mostly clear, windy, and dryer weather throughout the entire year. Annual temperatures in Hawaii Kai range from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 87 degrees Fahrenheit with mostly dry, sunny days – making the weather typically ideal for boating or beach activities. 

Over the entire year, the temperature varies from 64 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit, with little variance throughout the months. January is the coolest month with a high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit, while August is the warmest month at 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hawaii Kai is almost always muggy and humid, with some decreases in humidity during January and February. Hawaii Kai’s windiest days of the year peak between June and September with average hourly wind speeds hitting around 14.4 miles per hour. Wind speeds in Hawaii Kai vary depending on the location within the valleys or on the mountains. With many sunny days, solar panels and water heaters can definitely be an option for homeowners – along with outdoor exercise and boating. 

The planned community of Hawaii Kai was created from the vision of Henry Kaiser.

Before receiving the name Hawaii Kai, which means community by the sea, the area was called Maunalua by Native Hawaiians. Maunalua means two mountains, referring to Koko Head and Koko Crater. The early Polynesian settlers enjoyed the bountiful fish in calm Maunalua Bay, building innovation fishponds in the water and heiaus on the land.

After the Great Mahele land division in 1848, the Bishop Estate would acquire the dry land. Cows roamed the valley for decades until the 1946 tsunami destroyed barns, fields, houses, and more. The land then turned to swamp and pig farms with a strong smell to avoid. But in 1961, the visionary entrepreneur Henry Kaiser signed a land lease with the Bishop Estate, dredging the marina and creating the community seen today. 

Median home values in Hawaii Kai are higher than other neighborhoods on Oahu. Learn more about Hawaii Kai’s real estate statistics.

Hawaii Kai has a number of communities and neighborhoods that make it special. From Peninsula, Moorings, and Koko Isle, to higher end areas like Portlock or Kalama Valley, Hawaii Kai is known for its beachfront properties and larger homes. 

Hawaii Kai

Hawaii Kai has a variety of restaurants to satisfy diverse palettes. 

Kona Brewing Company. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway. A great place for pau hana with family or friends! Kona Brewing Company’s waterfront restaurant has space to park your boat and features American eats along with Hawaiian fusion dishes and a broad selection of beverages. 

Roy’s Hawaii Kai. 6600 Kalanianaole Highway. With a classy local ambiance filled with tiki torches, a koi pond, lush greenery, and ocean view, Roy’s is a great establishment for a fancy dinner.

Moena Café. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway. A cute café serving delicious and decorative brunch dishes. Popular picks include the short rib loco moco and the banana Chantilly pancakes.

Sophie’s Gourmet Hawaiian Pizzeria. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway, Ste D100A. Located in the Koko Marina Center, this pizza place serves made-to-order pies with fresh ingredients. 

Hi Pho. 377 Keahole Street, Ste C3. A cozy Vietnamese restaurant serving popular dishes like green papaya salad, spring rolls, and pho for lunch and dinner. 

Island Brew Coffee House. 377 Keahole St. Freshly made food, seating on the marina, and locally grown and brew coffee.

Maile’s Thai Bistro. 333 Keahole Street, Ste 2B8. A white tablecloth Thai fusion restaurant serving scrumptious pupus, flavorful entrees, and creamy coconut ice cream.

Greek Marina. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway. Enjoy a gyro, falafel plate, or classic Greek salad while also admiring the pristine Hawaii Kai waters. Bonus: They allow furry friends! 

Pa‘ina Cafe. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway. Koko Marina has a cute place to grab fresh sandwiches, salads, juices, smoothies, or an acai bowl. 

Assaggio Ristorante Italiano. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway, Ste D107. Treat yourself to a nice afternoon or night out at this sit-down Italian restaurant with excellent customer service. 

Shopping centers, movie theaters, Costco and more making living in Hawaii Kai easy and fun.

Hawaii Kai Towne Center. 333 Keahole Street. Costco, Ross, GameStop, City Mill, many restaurants, and more are available in this shopping center with plenty of parking. 

Hawaii Kai Shopping Center. 377 Keahole Street. This shopping center provides convenience for Hawaii Kai residents with a Safeway, Longs Drugs, a gas station, a bank, many restaurants, and other local shops.

Koko Marina Center. 7192 Kalanianaole Highway. This shopping center provides an array of eateries as well as a movie theater, gas stations, a pet store, gym, financial institutions, real estate offices, and beauty services.


Hawaii Kai Golf Course. 8902 Kalanianaole Highway. A reasonably-priced par 3 course with a driving range, pro shop, restaurant, and event space.

Hawaii Kai’s parks provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities

Kuliouou Beach Park. 96 Bay Street. Enjoy the shallow sandbar and spectacular sunsets at this park with ample grass, clean bathrooms, and plenty of parking.

Koko Head District Park. 423 Kaumakani Street. This park services hikers doing the famous Koko Head hike as well as residents enjoying facilities and park programs. Facilities include gym with weight room and gymnastics room, meeting room building, arts and crafts building, six tennis courts, play apparatus, three softball fields, a baseball field, two outdoor basketball courts and an outdoor volleyball court. 

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. 100 Hanauma Bay Road. Free to Hawaii residents, or kama‘aina, this breath-takingly beautiful beach offers world-class snorkeling for a relaxing day.

Kamiloiki Community Park. 7750 Hawaii Kai Drive. This open, green park has an abundance of activities: a skate park, roller rink, a basketball court, a playground, tennis courts, and more.

Hahaione Neighborhood Park. 663 Pepeekeo Street. Located next to the elementary school, this park has a fun playground for the keiki. Homes in this area are divided between upper Hahaione and lower Hahaione.

Koko Kai Beach Mini Park. 10 Hanapepe Place. A small grassy area leads to a rocky shoreline with beautiful views and sunsets. Locals like to surf, fish, and relax.

Hawaii Kai Dog Park. 333 Keahole Street. A well-maintained, flat, open, grassy park with plenty of room for dogs to play. There is a separate area for smaller dogs and the parking area is lit.

Hiking in Hawaii Kai offers beautiful trails with majestic views

Koko Crater Railway Trail. Park at Koko Head Park. Also incorrectly known as “Koko Head,” this trail climbs hundred of stairs (an old railway track) to arrive at an old military bunker with 360-degree views of Koko Crater, Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, and the Windward coast.

Hanauma Bay Trail. A dirt path starts off Nawiliwili Street. Parking is available in the neighborhood or Hanauma Bay Reserve. An approximately four-mile hike that offers phenomenal views of Koko Head as well as Hanauma Bay.

Hawaii Kai has a few surf spots

China Walls. Park at Koko Kai Beach Mini Park. A left break for advanced surfers only, this powerful, heavy wave wedges off a rock wall and has an incredible view.

Sandy’s. Park at Sandy Beach Park. An extreme shore break with rocks, strong currents, and many historical spinal injuries. There are a variety of right and left breaks here – Gas Chambers, Middles, Cobbles, and Pipe Littles – that go off year-round. 

Bike paths throughout Hawaii Kai offer alternate transportation methods and great exercise opportunities

Hawaii Department of Transportation Bike Map Oahu
Oahu Bicycling League Bike Map

Public schools in Hawaii Kai offer international baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and have a reputation for being better than most other Oahu public schools

Henry J. Kaiser High (Public)
511 Lunalilo Home Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 

“Kaiser High is an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School authorized for its Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. Niu Valley Middle, Kaiser's feeder school, is also an IB World School, providing students the opportunity to complete the five-year IB curriculum. All schools in the Kaiser Complex Area are working to develop the IB programs and nurture the philosophies of holistic learning, intercultural awareness and lifelong learning. Kaiser High also offers the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, a college readiness system. The school remains focused on building its academic programs to drive continuous schoolwide improvements,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Niu Valley Middle (Public)
310 Halemaumau Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96821 

“Niu Valley Middle is an International Baccalaureate World School offering the Middle Years Programme. The school's four focus areas are: (1) A rigorous and challenging academic program. All students are placed into the IB Middle Years Programme; (2) Extra- and co-curricular activities, including athletics, consists of afterschool extramural teams in cross country, volleyball, basketball and soccer. Other programs include Science and Engineering Fair, MathCounts, First Lego Robotics, VEX Robotics, Solar Sprint, Jr. Engineering Expo, Parade of Bands and Orchestras, Solo and Ensemble Festival, Select Band and Select Orchestra Programs and Visual Arts competitions; (3) Facilities, which support learning in a technological environment; (4) Parent and community involvement. The school is supported by parents and community through the Friends of Niu Valley Middle School,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Aina Haina Elementary (Public)
801 W. Hind Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96821 

“Aina Haina Elementary embraces the belief that high student achievement is the result of a standards-based rigorous and relevant curriculum for all students. The parent organization fully supports the school’s effort to educate the whole child through the funding of our physical education and art teachers to create meaning and make connections for students to the core academic areas. Many parents and community members are available to volunteer at the school for a variety of special programs and events, including tutoring, both during the school day and outside school hours,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Hahaione Elementary (Public)
595 Pepeekeo Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 

“Hahaione Elementary is part of the International Baccalaureate Organization’s Primary Years Program. The program encourages the integration of subject areas along universal themes that stress international mindedness via the inquiry process. Students and adults are encouraged to choose, act and reflect on their teaching and learning in new applications and civic-minded ways. Hahaione offers a technology-rich curriculum and programs such as special education, bridges (inclusive remedial reading), English language learner, gifted and talented, robotics, Japanese, Mandarin, a parent tutoring program in reading and various levels of counseling services,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Kamiloiki Elementary (Public)
7788 Hawaii Kai Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 

“Kamiloiki Elementary's vision is to be a premier math and science/technology center that emphasizes exploration, discovery and achievement within a global community. The school is in the process of becoming an International Baccalaureate school. Kamiloiki Elementary has a standards-based curriculum and assessments and provides several afterschool opportunities for students such as band/orchestra, Junior Lego and FIRST Lego League Robotics, science club, chorus, art, golf, Japanese, hula, ukulele and piano. The school has tremendous support from parents and volunteers, who help sponsor family nights, recycling drives and other activities. The School Community Council plays an important role in addressing the need for increasing academic rigor,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Koko Head Elementary (Public)
189 Lunalilo Home Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 

“Koko Head Elementary promotes high academic standards and excellence for all students with tremendous support from the School Community Council and its parent group, the Friends of Koko Head. The school is committed to preparing students for the increasingly complex and interconnected world. It nurtures advance systems, programs and initiatives that develop students into better communicators and problem solvers as they prepare for college and careers. Besides the traditional core of language arts, math, social studies and science, Koko Head Elementary also offers weekly experiences in Mandarin, Spanish, Hawaiiana, music, physical education and health, and computer technology. Educators receive professional development on three major areas: 1) Improving learning and teaching of the Common Core State Standards, 2) Increasing awareness of the International Baccalaureate program, and 3) Increasing student engagement with interactive whiteboards,” according to hawaiipublicschools.org.

Hospitals and Health Centers

Queen's Health Care Center 
377 Keahole St, Honolulu, HI 96825
Open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Kai Clinic
6700 Kalanianaole Hwy #111, Honolulu, HI 96825 
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

Straub Hawaii Kai Family Health Center
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy A200, Honolulu, HI 96825
Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Minute Clinic
377 Keahole St, Honolulu, HI 96825, Located in Longs Drugs
Open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Island Urgent Care Hawaii Kai
6600 Kalanianaole Hwy #114a, Honolulu, HI 96825
Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Everyday

Emergency Hurricane Shelters

The following hurricane evacuation shelters are provided by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management to offer some protection from high winds, flying debris, storm surges, and flooding. If possible, the Department of Emergency Management recommends the public to “Shelter-in-Place.” Note that more information about shelters will be broadcast over local media and official social media sites during an emergency. Also, you should bring a three-day supply of food, water, clothing, medication, personal hygiene items, and a mat or cot for sleeping, since the shelters are not stocked with supplies. 

Henry J. Kaiser High 
511 Lunalilo Home Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 

Niu Valley Middle
310 Halemaumau Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96821 

Aina Haina Elementary 
801 W. Hind Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96821 

Kamiloiki Elementary 
7788 Hawaii Kai Drive
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825 

Koko Head Elementary 
189 Lunalilo Home Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825