There is something beautifully nostalgic and tranquil about a small town in Hawaii – as though the town itself is urging visitors to slow down, relax, and take it all in. The cute boutiques, fantastic eateries, and stunning scenery found in these seven charming Hawaiian towns will have you wanting for the simpler way of life.
1) Haleiwa, Oahu
Voted as the state’s favorite small town by Hawaii Magazine, Haleiwa seems like a world away from bustling Waikiki. The streets full of retailers, shave ice stands, restaurants, and surf shops serve as the gateway to infamous North Shore beaches and big waves during winter surf season.
2) Paia, Maui
This little surf town is not only the epicenter of Maui’s north shore surf spots, and the gateway to the Road to Hana, but a hip place to explore – with a variety of boutiques, eateries, galleries, coffee shops, antique stores, and – of course – surf shops.
3) Hawi, Big Island
Two decades ago, a new generation of entrepreneurs and artists flocked to the former plantation village and, with the help of longtime residents, moved bookstores, galleries, boutiques and restaurants into the town’s decaying storefronts.
4) Lanai City, Lanai
The island’s only town sits at 1,645 feet above sea level, boasting a population of just 3,200. The historic plantation village was built in 1924, and not much has changed since then, preserving the town’s original charm – but increasing the home prices, of course.
5) Hanalei, Kauai
With a small one-lane bridge leading into town, and an unusual mix of shopping and dining options, the very small town – approximately 0.8 square miles – is full of old world charm. Fun fact: If you’re a musical junkie like me, you’ll love to know that scenes from the 1958 musical South Pacific were filmed in this town, and at a neighboring beach.
6) Lahaina, Maui
Once a bustling whaling town, and the former capitol of the Kingdom of Hawaii between 1820 and 1845, Lahaina is a beautifully scenic town with a ton of old world architecture from the town’s plantation era.
7) Kaunakakai, Molokai
The largest town on the island has a population of approximately 3,400 residents, and was once the location for King Kamehameha V's royal summer residence. The port town was bustling back in the days of pineapple and sugar exports, but has since calmed down tremendously.
I know we missed several small Hawaiian towns, so please share your beautiful towns with us in the comments below – and don’t forget to include photographs!